Nintendo’s original announcement that their new Wii U console would only support one of their new tablet controllers was met with a lot of derision and heartbreak last year, especially since it was the only known controller for the system at the time. Thankfully, Nintendo revealed today that they had upped the number of supported Wii U Gamepads per console to two during their E3 2012 Press Conference.
Of course, there’s always a catch and it’s an equal and opposite reaction, of sorts. Nintendo Japantweets that doubling the amount of Wii U Gamepads will also mean halving the framrerate of the game to 30 frames per second. Switching between one and two controllers, and their effect on framerate, are instantaneous and painless apparently.
It’s not clear if this is a hardware or software limitation. There could easily be games that can run at a solid 60 frames per second while having two Gamepads active. From what Nintendo has shown today, the Gamepad’s multiplayer capacity seems to be limited to a sort of Dungeon Master capability, where the person operating the tablet device can influence the game for the other four players, or even become the fifth player with a few abilities as shown in the new Luigi’s Mansion game. The games that could possibly use two Gamepads would be shooters or action games, which are unfortunately the ones which would suffer the most from a reduced framerate.