During an analyst meeting at E3, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said that while he is flattered by Microsoft’s attempt to replicate their Wii U controller, he must note that Microsoft’s SmartGlass technology is inferior to Nintendo’s on so many levels.
Iwata noted that it took Microsoft and Sony more than three years to imitate the original Wii’s motion control but only a few months to imitate the yet-unreleased Wii U’s tablet-controller.
“I think that an approach that nobody follows is one that few people see value in,” he commented. “So the fact that we have so quickly seen somebody following in the footsteps of what we first introduced with the Wii U, suggests that there are people who see great appeal in what we're offering. I think that's proof of that.”
In addition to the obvious lack of physical buttons, Iwata also pointed out to the fact that SmartGlass suffers from considerable control lag that makes it unsuitable for real time interaction.
“We know that the core users who love playing video games like controllers that you hold with two hands. But what you don't have on smartphones and tablets are the buttons and the control sticks that they prefer to use,” the Nintendo CEO said. “Now, if players could hold a controller with two hands and hold a tablet or a smartphone with another hand, there would be no issue. Unfortunately, since it is not possible for humans to do that, you can't play a game in a way you can play with the Wii U.”
“The other thing that's important to know is that with the Wii U GamePad we have paid particular attention to the latency issues to allow the Wii U to truly create seamless gaming experiences on the Wii U GamePad,” he said.
“What that means is that when the user presses the button on the Wii U GamePad, the signal of the button processes a transmitter to the Wii U hardware, and the Wii U hardware draws graphics in reaction to the signal received from the Wii U GamePad and transmits those graphics back to the screen in the Wii U GamePad. If you have latency within that process, or lag within that process, it's no longer a quality game.”
“So clearly and naturally the latency for a situation like that is going to be very different from a device that has specifically been designed to achieve that type of seamless interaction versus a device that simply has conventional technology layered for each device to be purchased for individual reasons.”
But SmartGlass also has its own advantages over Wii U’s; the most important of which is its multi-touch support and its smaller size and weight.