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Wii U GamePad's sensors may require occasional calibration

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A Nintendo employee pinned the performance problems on "interference"

Wii U Gamepad hands1
Wii U Gamepad hands1

The Wii U's GamePad has inherited calibration problems, and Nintendo is working to minimize their impact on games.

The Wii U GamePad contains "affordable" sensors which may require occasional recalibration, according to Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto.

The calibration issue affects games in which players point the GamePad at the screen as they would with a Wii controller. Whereas the Wii controller uses its infrared sensor and the Wii Sensor Bar to establish its position relative to the screen, the GamePad depends upon internal sensors which can, in certain situations, lose their bearings.

"There are limits to the precision" of the internal sensors, Miyamoto told Kotaku. "It becomes our role to look at how can we manage that or how can we make it so that the reclaibration becomes part of the gameplay. That's what we're going to be working on going forward."

Miyamoto did not rule out the possibility of upgrading to more accurate sensors in the future, but said that Nintendo's current focus is "bringing in the best technology we can within a cost that's affordable. The rest of it is on us to ensure in the software that we're programming it in such a way to adapt for that."

The problem could be exacerbated by radio interference — several E3 attendees, including Polygon's editors, experienced problems such as lost calibration and a general leftward drift during some Wii U demos, which required on-the-fly recalibration. When Polygon questioned Nintendo at E3, it pinned the performance problems on "interference" from other signals on the show floor.

During a demonstration with Polygon's Brian Crecente, Nintendo demonstrated the Wii U and its GamePad in a closed metal room constructed to protect against outside radio interference.

We have contacted Nintendo for comment and will update this story when more information is available.