With its North American release date now under a week away, promoters of Nintendo’s new Wii U games console now have one more small feature to play around with in their marketing campaign to try and sell the first ‘eighth-generation’ console, with the upcoming product revealed to support ‘universal TV remote’ functionality via the ‘second screen’ GamePad.
Users of the new console are set to be able to control basic aspects of their TV sets (such as power, channels/source, and volume, amongst others), and switch between their connected devices through the screened controller’s features.
Nintendo appear to have developed the option as a means to not require both the gamepad and TV remote at hand at the same time to perform a more complete ‘shutdown’ of a home entertainment system, though are obviously announcing so in the expectation that the Wii U will be the only device used on the set at the time.
JC Fletcher, of gaming news website Joystiq, wrote of the ‘expected’ feature: “People may not even realize how accustomed they become to this kind of convenience, until they go back to something that doesn’t offer it. In the next console generation, we’ll look at a controller that can’t turn on a TV like we look at a controller that doesn’t have a console power button now. I don’t think it’s a feature that will sell Wii U systems, necessarily, but even this tiny tweak is going to change how console controllers function from now on.”
Previous features announced by Nintendo for their latest product included a touch-screen messaging system and a video chat function through the portable gamepad.
The product, due for release on 18 November (North America) and 30 November (Europe) will be available in ‘basic’ (including an 8GB white console) and ‘premium’ (32GB black console) editions alongside a unique ‘ZombiU’ bundle. While it is probably not set to be a headline on the Wii U’s box art, will the ‘universal remote’ function become one that ends up as industry standard, or will it be seen as a hassle that does not compare to more traditional methods of changing channel?