The idea of the Wii U being a standalone handheld console instead of a touchscreen controller with a base unit was toyed with by Nintendo.
There were also roundtable discussions within Nintendo looking at the possibility of a smaller secondary screen for the system, one that was completely detached from the controller and placed on a table.
"Considering how expensive screens were then, it did not make sense to have this big-sized LCD," Iwata told Gamasutra.
"We would not have been able to come up with a reasonable price point. ... We had not decided when we were going to launch the new console [at that point], but we knew we needed to be flexible."
"During the roundtable discussions there were such arguments about should we make it capable of being a standalone system or should we make it work only with the [base console] system," Iwata continued.
"We came to the conclusion that this controller is only going to show the images generated and processed by this hardware unit - and sent from the hardware unit wirelessly. That means sharper graphics. A battery couldn't do that."
Yesterday Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot speculated that the visuals pumped out by the Wii U could be superior to the PS3 and 360. Although Nintendo has downplayed the technical competition.