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In a newly released interview as part of Iwata Asks, various Wii U developers and designers discuss the range of the Wii U gamepad, a feature of the device that has long remained a point of great interest.
In a discussion focused entirely on the intriguing device, the Nintendo designers made comments beyond the company taglines. While officially the gamepad should be used within the same room as the Wii U console, Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata and his team revealed that the device can be used through walls. Of course, this depends entirely on the wall in question: “Differences will arise depending on whether you live in a house made of wood or an apartment of reinforced concrete, and what materials the walls are made out of.” No World War II bunkers then.
As well as this, problems may also arise if the console is placed within a metal TV stand as “it may deflect the radio waves thus reducing its usable range”. I don’t know about you, but I’d say that’s a significant drawback, it’s not like we all own pure mahogany TV stands.
Through all the tech wizardry and Doppler Effect banter, one predominating thought seems to preside in all of the interviewees; can the device be used on the toilet? In a sterling contribution to worldwide manliness, developer Yamashita claimed that because his living room and bathroom are separated by a single wall, he was able to use the gamepad on the loo. So while TV stands may disturb your overall range, toilet trips just got a million times more fun.
So finally, to answer the title question specifically, the gamepad has a range of around eight meters (that’s 24 feet) within an empty space at optimum performance. So in theory the device is more than able to transmit around a house, but of course, your results may vary.