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Wii U, PS Vita, or SmartGlass, Miyamoto explains the potential of connectivity

by William Schwartz


It seemed like immediately following Nintendo’s announcement and reveal of the Wii U, both Microsoft and Sony had their answers waiting. Sony boasts that the PS Vita is the ultimate companion device for the PlayStation 3, and can perform the tasks that the Wii U’s tablet can. Microsoft on other hand has taken a software approach to things, requiring that Xbox 360 players own a tablet to take advantage of their new SmartGlass technology.

The three companies all seem bent on leveraging the surging popularity of tablets, or Sony’s case touchscreen devices. But is Nintendo’s method the best? Recently, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto explained to IGN that the company has thought about integrating the 3DS with the Wii U and why it’s probably not the best idea.

“We decided early on when considering the Wii U design was that we had to make it so that every single purchaser of the Wii U is going to have the same play conditions, the same equipment,” Miyamoto explained.

“One of the great lessons we have learned is the simple fact that those who own both (a 3DS and Wii U) are much fewer than those who don’t own both.”

This appears to be the precise problem that Sony is having in implementing any of the interesting features that their newest handheld is possible of. With the company consistently slashing sales outlooks on the device, its likely hard to warrant the development costs in implementing any meaningful benefits between the Vita and PS3. Just look at the list of compatible games in the PS Vita’s cross play catalog and its hard not to see wasted potential.

Microsoft on the other hand is doing a better job of leveraging the success of Apple and other tablet makers who are selling these devices at a record paces. While the true potential of SmartGlass and the PS Vita are still yet to be seen, they’d better hurry up as an all-in-one alternative is set to hit the market in just days.

With the Wii U’s tablet GamePad being a second screen, integrating the 3DS into the mix would would add even more screens to the fold. Miyamoto describes this as “very complicated”. “If we are going to do that with the Wii U and 3DS, there would be three screens to consider… Of course we are trying to think about a way to expand the experience of 3DS and Wii U when they are connected with each other, one way or the other.”

- This article was updated on:March 7th, 2018

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