The creators of Wii U Chat, the video conferencing software in the Wii U, say they aimed for simplicity and a sense of play when it came to developing the system software in a new "Iwata Asks" interview. Ease of use was key, Nintendo engineers say, often at the expense of added features and functionality.
Fumihiko Tamiya, who directed Wii U Chat development, tells Nintendo president Satoru Iwata that he was tasked with designing software that "brings a family happiness," had elements of play and was usable by every Wii U owner on day one. Those rules were laid out by Genyo Takeda, general manager of integrated R&D at Nintendo.
"So the development team took that idea and thought, 'What makes a family happy?' The conclusion we came to was, 'Being together.' So the feeling we wanted to create with Wii U Chat was that of two separate living rooms connected through the TV screen."
Iwata notes that many devices offer video chat services, but that Wii U owners would shun Wii U Chat if it required much set up. Tamiya boasts that video chat on Wii U is a simple two-step process.
The Wii U Chat team says it cut proposed ideas like a whiteboard and multiple pen types for drawing on the Wii U GamePad during chat, because it slowed down and detracted from conversation.
"Actually, we had all sorts of ideas from people inside and outside the company, but in the end we decided not to add any of them," Tamiya explains. "We tried out all sorts of different ideas, but it would have actually taken away the simplicity and how it's so easy to understand."
There's more about Wii U Chat in the full "Iwata Asks" Q&A, including an explanation of why it's fun to draw doodles on the face of your boss.