It looks like the next generation of console will subject Nintendo to what this generation did: Anonymous developers have reported that though the Wii U will finally be a Nintendo console capable of delivering HD graphics, the console itself can’t match the graphical power of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The point of contention being, of course, that the Wii U is a next-gen console, and won’t be as graphically powerful as consoles that will be considered last-gen when the Wii U releases.
First and foremost, it is important to note that — obviously — graphics does not a game make. The regular Wii, which was subject to the exact same speculation from anonymous developers (that the current-gen Wii was around equal in power to the last-gen PlayStation 2 and Xbox), sold through the gangbusting roof. Granted, the Wii had the lowest software sales out of the Big Three consoles, but the graphical power certainly didn’t hinder the actual hardware’s sales capabilities.
More than one developer — from different development companies, no less — anonymously told GameIndustry International that, quite simply, the Wii U isn’t as graphically powerful as the current-gen PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. “The graphics are just not as powerful,” one source said, plain and simple. Another source lays it out with a little more detail:
“There aren’t as many shaders, it’s not as capable. Sure, some things are better, mostly as a result of it being a more modern design. But overall the Wii U just can’t quite keep up.”
Again, though graphics help, they aren’t everything, and one positive to a lower graphical power is usually that the console is easier to afford, as the less powerful bits inside aren’t as expensive. However, it is important to note that Nintendo’s gimmick this generation, the tablet controller that goes with the actual console, could be a logical reason as to why they might be skimping on the graphical components. The tablet controller will significantly raise the cost of the Wii U, so in order to keep the console cheap and affordable — something Nintendo is usually good about — they could, in theory, have to cut costs elsewhere.
So, it would seem Nintendo is putting the Wii U’s focus on the tablet controller, which would be fine, but as one anonymous developer points out, the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita combination offer the same features that the Wii U and its tablet controller do, saying, “You can do everything with that combo that you can with the Wii U, and more.” That isn’t even to mention the significant upgrade in power that the PlayStation 4 — possibly titled the Orbis — would provide when paired with the PS Vita.
For Nintendo, the future is unknown rather than grim, whereas we can usually expect a similar performance for Sony and Microsoft throughout the generations. With the GameCube, Nintendo looked like they were done, but then the Wii came roaring in and saved the place. However, toward the end of the Wii and with the release of the 3DS, it once again looked like Nintendo was lost. So, we’ve seen this story before — this literal story about how Nintendo’s next console is on par with last-gen consoles — and only time will tell if ends up affecting anything. Really, as we learned from the Wii’s lifecycle, and is a basic gaming principle, good games sell consoles, and that’s most important. Nintendo would have to get on that, more than anything.
- This blogger is pretty sure that if the Wii U fails, Nintendo goes bye-bye
- So, how, exactly, does one do multiplayer on the Wii U?
- The console’s power has been under scrutiny before
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