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Wii U Chat Requires Closing Your Game

As the Wii U launch approaches, Nintendo is announcing more and more bizarre failings for the console.

Yes, it has a cool touch-screen GamePad controller that offers a new gaming experience. Yes, its Pro Controller has an 80-hour charge. And, yes, depending on the layout of your house, you can play the Wii U GamePad on the toilet.

Wii U You can even take the GamePad out with you... a mobile console, if you will.

But now, Nintendo has announced that you’ll need to close your game in-progress to accept a video call.

CVG reports that Nintendo has confirmed you will need to quit the game to take a video call.

You can chat with other GamePad owners using the controller’s front-facing camera – but not if there’s a game running in the background.

Nintendo’s Fumihiko Tamiya explained, “First, when the other person is online with a Wii U, and you call them, their Home Button will flash to let them know a call is coming in. If they open the Menu, they’ll get a message telling them that have an incoming call, and if they answer it, the Wii U Chat session begins. But they will have to end the game.”

Wii U Forget about pausing the game to video chat. The Wii U won't let you.

Perhaps we’re a little spoiled with smartphones that offer the chance to immediately accept the video call – instead of taking the long way around through home menus and messages. It just seems like a really odd way to video chat.

Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata is hopeful that this will be a later date. “There must be technical hurdles involved, but I hope this is an area that we can improve on in the future,” he says.

This is one of the biggest launches in recent years – and the new-generation Wii U console is highly-anticipated. So, why has Nintendo not sorted out these “technical hurdles” in advance?

And there’s more. The GamePad controller microphone doesn’t support voice chat, but requires you to use a third-party headset instead. And worse still, it doesn’t support wireless headsets... you’ll need to be wired into the controller to use the voice chat option.

Wii U See the sneaky wires carefully cropped from the picture? There's no wireless option for Wii U headsets.

So, the Wii U makes me close a game to answer a video call; it makes me plug third-party headsets into the controller to voice chat (even though it has a built-in microphone) and it’s reasonably expensive.

The Wii U console system will be released in the Basic Set, the Premium Set and the ZombiU Premium Pack – ranging in price from R3,999 to R4,999.

Wii U The Basic Set comes the the controller and ONE GamePad controller, while the Premium Set comes with 32GB internal storage. No extra controllers here either.

Even Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot isn’t happy with the pricing for Nintendo’s latest toy. CVG reports that Guillemot wants the Wii U system to be cheaper when it launches.

“I always prefer lower pricing, so I can’t say I’m happy. I’m never happy when the machines are expensive. What we have to do there is remember that compared to an iPad, it’s cheap. With what it brings, it’s cheap. But I hope they’ll drop their price in time,” says Guillemot.

I have very little hope that the prices will drop in time for launch: the Wii U Console launches in the US on 18 November and 30 November in Australia and Europe.