Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has admitted the Wii U GamePad's tablet screen was almost dropped late in the console's planning stages.
The company was worried the screen's price would drive up the console's overall cost to consumers.
"Sometime during that final discussion we almost gave up on the idea of the additional screen," Iwata told The Telegraph. "This was due to our concern over the expected high cost, it may not have been feasible to create this and sell it at a reasonable price point for the consumers."
The fact Microsoft and Sony have both now produced their own dual-screen concepts, Xbox SmartGlass and Vita Cross-Play, only validated Nintendo's decision, Iwata added.
"It's quicker than before. After our showing of motion control, it took three years for other companies to follow suit. But this time it's just one year after our proposal, even before we brought out the actual product. I think that proves the great potential of what we showed last year."
While the GamePad's touch screen stayed, Nintendo decided to roughly match the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360's graphical power - still a vast improvement from the Wii for third-party publisher's multi-platform releases.
"In the case of the Wii U, we have decided to make it so that it is capable of doing whatever the other two consoles can do, so games are easily portable," Iwata explained.
Beyond the lifespan of the current generation of rivals, Iwata was unfazed by the impending threat of a new Xbox or PlayStation.
"My impression is that the things that happened with Wii vs. 360 or Wii vs. PS3 won't happen again," he added. "If they decide to increase the spec numbers, will the consumers be able to realise the difference from today so much that they can understand it's much superior to today's machine?"