One of the central features of the Wii U is what Nintendo has dubbed “asymmetric game play”. This is when the players of a single game can have two separate experiences. One might be using the Wii U’s GamePad, while the other may have a Wii U Pro Controller, for instance. Satoru Iwata has confirmed that, “even in the early stages”, they:
…have hit upon a number of different potential ideas, so we see that the structure has the potential to bring many new ideas. We will initially introduce what kinds of game experiences you can have with one Wii U GamePad until we are able to fully utilize the structure, and then you will start to see more and more games from us that are taking advantage of asymmetric game play other than the titles you have seen this time.
It will also be a central part of their marketing:
We will develop a marketing strategy for the Wii U launch to ensure that consumers know a number of games leveraging asymmetric game play will be coming.
And this could surely be the angle Nintendo needs to differentiate it from other touch-screen devices. The trick is for other developers to make the most of what’s available to them.