Unlike in Japan, US-residing Wii U owners will not be able to purchase a second Gamepad controller from stores.
So confirmed Nintendo of America's director of PR Marc Franklin, who told Shacknews after today's Wii U New York event that US gamers will only be able to purchase a second Gamepad or replace a broken one) by contacting Nintendo customer support.
Nintendo of Japan will be offering standalone Gamepads for the hefty price of 13,440 yen (£107/$172), but Franklin says that doing so in US 'might cause retail confusion' since there are currently no announced games which support a second Gamepad controller.
Nintendo has previously confirmed that Wii U hardware can support two tablet Game Pads simultaneously, but games that take advantage of this shouldn't be expected until some time after launch.
All local multiplayer games for Wii U so far use a combination of a single Gamepad controller and multiple Wii Remotes.