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So how powerful is the Wii U exactly? Let's look at all the evidence

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Exhibit D

Date reported: June 15th

Person quoted: Satoru Iwata, speaking during an E3 analysts' meeting

"Within the current environment, there are a number of the companies that are spending a significant amount to create these first-person shooters but, with the graphics capabilities of the Wii hardware, we have not been able to get them to create Wii versions of key franchises, and they have developed few games of that genre with Wii as the primary gaming console"


Above: The full range of boy-band balladeering hand-gestures from Iwata in this feature

"Many of those large third-party publishers are showing great interest in what we have to offer"

"We will be able to bring many of those key franchises to Wii U as a result of the work that we've done so far"

"What we are proposing this time with Wii U is a console that will give those consumers who did not even have an opportunity to interact with the Wii system more opportunities to connect with and use the Wii U console and, at the same time, offer the consumers who desire those high-quality HD visuals in their gameplay a product that will meet their needs as well"

Conclusions: Once again, the Wii U sounds at least up to current-gen standards. Iwata-san is a smart chap. He knows that Nintendo alienated its traditional customer-base with the Wii, and he wants to make amends. He's aware of what we want, and he's referring to it much more specifically than other folk have. And he's in charge, so we should pay attention to his big-bossman voice. Still, I wish he'd throw some serious numbers around. But he hasn't, so we're still not entirely sure what this thing can do.

Exhibit E

Date reported: June 17th

Person quoted: Sega's European MD of Development, Gary Dunn

When asked about the Wii U's power and online capabilities, Dunn stated,

"It's still a little early. There's another generation of prototype hardware coming out in June or July that's going to give us more information", but went on to explain that Sega's early-doors reaction is that "we're finding it to be quite powerful"

 

As for comparisons to the PS3 and 360, Dunn said that "It's too early to call. It's different", before explaining that the Wii U is "a good platform to develop for"

"We've certainly found it easier to get prototypes up and running on next-gen definition visuals, so we're quite pleased with it"

"Given the fact that one of our graphics engineers ported something across very quickly I would say the answer to [having easily understandable architecture] has got to be yes"

Conclusions: "Different". "Quite powerful". "Easily understandable architecture". You'll excuse me if I fear that this is light praise enough to damn the Wii U down to the pages of Dante's Inferno that were cut out because they were just too infernal. But don't panic. Ease of development is a very good thing. The PS3 technically kicks the crap out of the 360 in terms of horsepower, but which console traditionally gets the better versions of multi-platform titles? Yeah, It's the Microsoft box, because it's just far easier to get results from.

Also, Dunn's talk of non-final prototype hardware possibly explains a lot of Ubisoft's hesitance to comment on the Wii U's full power. So breath a bit easier. You were going purple, for God's sake.

Exhibit F

Date reported: June 18th

Person quoted: Shigeru Miyamoto

"Nintendo is an entertainment company. We're very sensitive to pricing because people have generally only a certain amount of their spending that they'll devote to entertainment. And if you're talking about parents buying something for kids, there are certain price points where parents may be willing to or not willing to purchase a certain product.

 

"Nintendo needs the Wii U to be powerful, but also affordable.

"But at the same time, you have these technological advances, and you have the needs of being able to take advantage of that technology, and those result in increasing costs and things like that. And so I think that in terms of companies that really look very carefully at what is the best balance between price and possibility in terms of the hardware, Nintendo is the company that's going to probably pay the most attention to striking that right balance.

"So when you look at what we're trying to do this time, which is I think maybe to a certain degree somewhat reckless, because we're trying to include this somewhat kind of tablet-like device--this controller with the screen. We're trying to do that by finding the right balance between the CPU and the GPU, the graphics processor, and bringing all of that together with the ability to take advantage of the HD capabilities of the system, and wanting to do the most that we can on that front as well.

"We're very sensitive, of course, to trying to do all of this at an appropriate price. So I don't know that we would be able to sit here and say that it's going to necessarily dramatically outperform the systems that are out now. It's part of the balance that we strike in terms of trying to find entertainment that is new and unique."

Conclusions: Nothing overly exciting here, but nothing overly damning either. Yes, Shigs' statements might seem to disappoint those expecting the Wii U to be a crowbar-whirling Gordon Freeman of a thing, making the 360 and PS3 look like a haemophiliac Yorda by comparison, but note that he says that the Wii U might not "necessarily dramatically outperform the systems that are out now". That does imply that it will outperform them to some degree. And with accessible architecture in the hands of experienced developers, that "necessarily" could be a rather open concept. And any mention of Nintendo being reckless with hardware again after the conservative days of the Wii definitely has me excited.

Overall conclusions

To be honest, not much more than we knew before, really, but at least now all the uncertain information is in one place so that we can pick and choose the bits we want to use in flame-wars more easily. I personally think things sound pretty hopeful for the Wii U's power, both rumoured hardware specs and developer accessibility taken into account. But what do you reckon?

Jun 22, 2011

Topics

Nintendo

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36 comments

  • The Ledge93 - June 28, 2011 4:31 a.m.

    I feel like companies and their product can be analogized like this Apple/Wii (User friendly and comprehensiveness - oriented, quality crippled) Google/Xbox (Made for the non casual consumer, but not the hardcore Haxors) Sony/PS3 (jkjk) Alienware/Ps3 (High Quality, but somewhat limited due to consumer accessibility and pricing)
  • Dondada - June 23, 2011 5:28 a.m.

    LOL @ the Miyamoto photo twice. I've never seen a happier person.
  • Elementium - June 23, 2011 5:06 a.m.

    Obviously it will be more powerful than the Xbox and PS3.. Their tech is old compared to the things even cheaper end PC's are built with (I'm guessing :P 7 years is a long time). My only concerns are 1. Are they really coming back to us or are they putting out a few M rated ports to catch our eyes? 2. Will their Online REALLY be up to par with Xbox Live?.. 3. Japan.. Nintendo.. Please don't weigh this game down with wacky gimmicks.. The touch screen on the controller scares me more than it excites me. Like someone else said how comfortable will it be constantly looking up and down at the controller then the screen? does it really add anything that a regular pause menu can't? Also a Side Note.. To figure out how powerful it COULD be.. couldn't someone who knows computers simply make a list of the best most cost effective tech at the moment and figure the quality of the tech against the prices we feel Nintendo might use?
  • sid440 - June 23, 2011 1:35 a.m.

    Im happy to see nintendo stepping it up with the WiiU, but im also worried, PS3 graphics mario only looks really good if the PS4 isint around to show it up.
  • Balaska - June 22, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    Given that the PS3 and Xbox hardware is 7 years old now, it would be ridiculously easy to build a console significantly more powerful than both, for a pittance, with old off the shelf modded PC bits, the Wii U has to be more powerful, otherwise Ninty better only charge us about a tenner for it.
  • Deinsleaf - June 22, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    It's like a 4-2 year old PC. Oh yeah.
  • Aletheon - June 22, 2011 1:35 p.m.

    The Wii U will be a great console to have. There's really nothing to talk about with the power of it. All that matters is games. I have a huge Wii collection with amazing games and it wasn't in HD. I was still able to fully enjoy them. Now that nintendo is making a leap in power and resolution, I'm sure it will just be easier to fully enjoy the games they offer. Some of the best games I played on the Wii were third party games that barely sold any copies. Many gamers miss out on real experiences because of their own discrimination towards the system. It's sad that hardcore is determined by the lowest common denominator nowadays.
  • ithurtstopoop - June 22, 2011 11:33 a.m.

    I always imagine Miyamoto getting blown in that last pic.
  • austincharlesbond - June 22, 2011 11:26 a.m.

    really... how much better could graphics get? I'm happy with whatever Nintendo delivers, as long as the gameplay is just as good. Seeing Metroid Prime and Zelda in HD is just the icing on the cake :)
  • JachAnen - June 22, 2011 9:53 a.m.

    magic_muffin_man @ "...equivalent of a PS3.5" Lol, highly doubt it. Anyone remember the GameCube?? That was the last time Nintendo thought they could keep up with Sony. Now they are making the same mistake. Although, they do have a new customer base now, and kind of betrayed/lost the old. But if they can lure the new AND old over to the WiiU then its pretty smart. But its NOT gonna kick PS3 or 360's ass. And even though i have the 360, GoW is the only good games that Xbox has, so PS3 is superior in every way except for Kinect).
  • jackthemenace - June 22, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    I couldn't care less about how powerful the wii U is, I've never looked at the wii for graphics. As long as it can play decent games (provided any actually come OUT), I'm happy. Also, I think I'm in love with Miyamoto.
  • Darkwun - June 23, 2011 2:19 p.m.

    so basically, more powerful than a housebrick, less powerful than skynet... good to know!
  • xshadowhawkx - June 23, 2011 2:55 a.m.

    i dont give a flying F*** stop bing soo damm picky at lease there going to be a new smash bros and mario kart thats all i care about
  • Moondoggie1157 - June 23, 2011 2:16 a.m.

    Nintendo, nintendo, nintendo... What do I say? I can see this console pushing close to PS/Xbox power wise, if not on par with both. BUT, the new controller is going to be a real sucker on the WiiU. More screens doesn't make it better! It worked for DS, but the DS is the size of a game case, it was doable. I wouldn't go as far to say this console will flop, after all this is Nintendo we are talking about, but I don't expect much. A little too late to the party methinks. Oh, and don't compare this to the Dreamcast, that is a holy name and just by making the comparison you are bordering heresy. Computer graphics really don't have far to go before they hit complete realism? Then what? I say hand drawn games that rival cartoon visuals, sure the games would take forever to produce, but they would look stellar and likely grab some much needed respect. Break out the holographic gaming already, think of the children... Actually, fuck the children, think of me.
  • Spybreak8 - June 23, 2011 1:23 a.m.

    Tell me when I care next year.
  • Nintendophile - June 22, 2011 8:57 p.m.

    Honestly, I'd be happy with a Nintendo console that was AS POWERFUL as a 360 or PS3. It doesn't need to be MORE powerful. But, of course, it'd be nice. Just bring things up to everyone else's definition of "current gen", Nintendo, and I'll be a happy camper.
  • TheKey - June 22, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    @Erased230 Well, as much as I doubt they'll be able to wait that long, Sony doesn't intend to release the PS4 for what, five more years? Also, Nintendo has other fist party games. Other than that though, there isn't really a reason. But to be fair, no-one bought the Wii for it's graphical power.
  • ensabahnur - June 22, 2011 8:20 p.m.

    I just want to know how many consoles they will sell considering that the current market (me) isnt buying a wiiU just because of the graphics, by the time developers catch up to the wii U and making it look nice; 720 and PS4 will be out if not on the immediate horizon. Plus i got my gamerscore and trophies
  • shawksta - June 22, 2011 7:53 p.m.

    Dont care, as long as Nintendo is keeping up to date and always wowing everyone with their First Party that will get better with this hardware than thats fine by me. New Smash Bros. + Awesome Online = FUCK YEAH!
  • lilspooky - June 22, 2011 5:10 p.m.

    well the Wii is two gamecubes taped together, logically the WiiU is two Wii's taped together.

Showing 1-20 of 36 comments

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