I asked the Activision guy who was playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II at the Nintendo World Store to roleplay with me for a moment.
He'd be the gamer.
I'd be the person coming into the living room saying I needed the TV. This is how I discovered my new favourite Wii U stat.
Black Ops II, like New Super Mario Bros U and other upcoming Wii U games, you see, supports a feature called Off-TV Play. It lets you move the graphics of the game you're playing from your TV to the screen on the Wii U GamePad controller. This feature was designed, in part, to increase the peace in households where a gamer who is hogging the TV is getting in the way of other family members who'd like to watch the TV.
Way back at E3 2011 I saw this feature work with a Zelda tech demo. The graphics snapped from the TV to the controller as fast as you could yank a window shade. But that was a tech demo. It wasn't a full-fledged game like Black Ops II.
I took out my iPhone and launched its stopwatch app. We were going to time this.
He was playing on the TV. I was stomping into his proverbial living room.
"Hey, I want to watch some TV," I said (or something to that effect).
He reached for the + and - buttons on the GamePad, pressed them both. The graphics from the game moved down to the GamePad (which previously had a map, customisation and perk options on it). He was now playing on the controller.
My stopwatch app indicated that 6.5 seconds had elapsed.
But he'd fumbled.
We tried it again. 3.5 seconds... and that was with me being slow to stop the stopwatch, so probably more like 3.0 seconds.
Most of those seconds were taken up by him reacting to me. The machine itself moved the graphics to the controller right away.
The Activision guy made a good point, though. The Wii U is fast, but that kind of transfer would probably not be that quick in real life. Why? Because no gamer is going to surrender the TV that quickly.
If there's something the Wii U stands to change about how we game in our living rooms, I think this is it. Good thing the tech is good enough to support it.