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Off-TV Play Is Surprisingly Important to me.

wii u off tv play

When I first saw the feature demonstrated on the Wii U (at whatever event) I was incredibly intrigued. It seemed like a good idea, and one that I might use on occasion, but I never expected it to become a feature that really mattered to me.  It’s fully possible that off-tv play is merely a situational thing and has a different level of relevance on a person by person basis. Maybe nobody else gives a crap, and maybe there are only a few people out there like me. I just hope we see further use of the feature across MANY platforms.

The Wii U is really the only device I have right now that supports the feature, at least that I know of. Supposedly the PS3′s remote play function with the PSP and Vita is quite poor and under-supported, but the PS4 is supposed to make great use of the Vita as a vessel for off-TV play. Microsoft has their Smart Glass thing, but I’ve not heard anything on that front in regards to the subject at hand.

It’s actually a little surprising that some of the Wii U games don’t utilize the feature. I can understand that it’s not practical for some games that make heavy used of the touchpad and second screen but it’s still missed. Some games don’t support the feature when there really is no reason not to, which I find confusing. I remember The Cave came out and I was jazzed to get it on Wii U so I could use the off-TV play if I wanted to, but for some reason the feature was absent. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate launched without the feature but it was thankfully patched in around a month or so later.

The thing that surprised me the most is that I actually will go out of my way for the option. For example, I have a new pinball addiction and absolutely LOVE playing Zen Pinball 2 on my Wii U gamepad while Keen watches Star Trek or West Wing or whatever else is on Netflix. Not too long ago the Star Wars tables came out and I REALLY want to play them because what could make Star Wars even better? Pinball of course. Sadly they aren’t out on the Wii U version yet, so I’ve had to heavily resist the urge to buy them anywhere else because I really want that off-TV play action.

I don’t know, that’s pretty much the end of my crazy rambling. Maybe it isn’t as important of a feature to everybody else as it is to me but even now I’m thinking about how I wish I could play something like Bioshock or XCOM without having to be tied to a particular screen.

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Comments

  1. Parenon says:

    I concur. I’ve regularly found myself gravitating towards playing things off-tv for sheer convenience even if not doing much else with the TV. Didn’t realize MH3U applied that with a new patch, I’ll have to give it a whirl.

  2. How does this whole off-tv play work on WiiU?
    The console does the processing and sends a wireless signal to the tablet controller to show the image?

  3. @Zyler: It streams it to the controller. All rendering is done on the console.

    @Parenon: I was shocked when Graev told me that MH3U was patched to include off-screen play. Pretty awesome feature.

  4. Tumorseal says:

    That is the only reason I have any interest at all in buying the WiiU. I only PC game because we have only one TV in the house and my TV time is limited, while I can game on the PC basically whenever.

    I am tempted to buy the system and basically use it as a handheld gaming system.

  5. Insomnium says:

    After reading this, the first thing that sprang to mind was Nvidia’s Project Shield. It might not be a TV thing, but Tumorseal could have a use for it.

    Did I miss a post with your thoughts on this sleek machine, or havr you not had the information yet to formulate an opinion?