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Why the Wii U Literally Can't Stand Up

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Unlike a Wii, an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3, the Wii U console can't stand up.

You can't prop the system up vertically without it falling over. Horizontal is the only option. The new Nintendo console must lie on its belly like a Nintendo Entertainment System or a really lazy house cat


"I guess we could make a stand," Nintendo's senior game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, told me yesterday, laughing, "I think maybe it was because we didn't want people to think it was a Wii."


Just paint it another color then, I said, needling him.

His follow-up answer was more of a revelation: "It kind of goes back to our idea of the Wii U itself which is: ‘What is the role of the physical hardware?' And in this particular case we felt that the physical hardware is something that's becoming something that is less and less important from an identity perspective for a game machine.


"So, for example, with even something like Kinect you can have your hardware put away and out of sight and you can wave at the TV and maybe the game will come on or something.

"Similarly with Wii U, when we [considered the question] ‘What is the face of Wii U going to be?', for us the face of Wii U really isn't the console box itself. It's the controller; it's the Wii U GamePad. So just like a set top box is non-descript and tucked away, our feeling was that the Wii U hardware was something that could be tucked away and out of sight.


"The Wii U GamePad is really the face of the system, whereas, with the Wii system, we had really designed it so that that system itself really stood out when you looked at it."