Right before E3 2012 kicked off, Nintendo revealed the Pro Controller for the Wii U, something which a lot of gamers (including myself) were happy to see. According to Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, the Wii U’s Pro Controller might might not exist today were it not for the insistence of Activision, which said it would not be putting Call of Duty games on the Wii U if Nintendo didn’t give developers a more traditional controller to work with. Thus, the Wii U Pro Controller was born, or at least that’s the way the story goes when Michael Pachter tells it.
He shared this tidbit of information during the Develop Conference in Brighton last week, telling Edge that Nintendo was essentially forced to come up with an alternative to the Wii U’s tablet controller if it wanted to see big third party titles come to the console:
“I think that essentially this is a solution in search of a problem. I mean, somebody had an idea – ‘let’s make the controller a tablet’ – and there aren’t many games that are going to take advantage of that. Activision never said anything to me, but I know that [for] big games like Call Of Duty they said, ‘No, we’re not putting it on there if you don’t give us a conventional controller’. So they gave in.
Pachter also let his own feelings on the Wii U slip out, saying despite the fact that hardcore Nintendo fans will buy it just so they can play Mario games, he thinks that the Wii U won’t be able to come close to the success of the original Wii. Of course, stranger things have happened in the past, so until we have some solid sales numbers in our hands, all we have is speculation, and speculation isn’t worth much in the wide world of video games.
Regardless of the reason why Nintendo chose to offer a conventional alternative to the Wii U’s tablet controller, it will be nice to have it available, and it will likely make the process of porting a game from Xbox 360 or PS3 go much smoother for developers. It’s imperative that Nintendo keeps third parties happy this time around, so making porting easier for them can’t hurt anything.