back to article Wii U graphics said to be no better than current consoles

Nintendo's next-gen console, the Wii U, will present visuals to match, not exceed, current-generation rivals. The new machine's display resolutions and textures will be no better than those supported by the Xbox 360 or PS3, it has been claimed. “So far, the hardware has been on par with what we have with the current …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What he's saying there is that poly count, textures and screen res aren't going up. Ok, but what about performance? If shader performance is a whole lot higher you can make much better looking games, and it's not like we have 4K TVs that need higher res or sharper textures.

  2. Piro

    Well, the rumour is..

    That it has a 3GHz PowerPC quad-core, an ATI graphics chip and either 768MB or 1GB RAM in a shared configuration.

    So essentially, it's an Xbox 360 with a bit of extra RAM, specs wise. The graphics chip could be a bit of a boot up the arse, specs wise, but I don't know of any other details.

  3. Giles Jones Gold badge

    But maybe the games will be fun? enjoyment is supposedly part of the fun. For instance, no amount of graphic realism will make driving a racing car on a console like the real thing, there's no wind, dust, g-force or sense of imminent death if you get things wrong.

    1. alexh2o
      Meh

      I agree to a degree, but if the power increase allows for say, a racing game to include actual grandstands of crowds and not constantly duplicated 2D cut-outs bouncing up and down - you are improving realism in a sense. The closer the simulation becomes, the more immersive it can be.

      I don't want super hi-res Call of Duty: Corridor Edition... but neither do I want another Mario clone with last gen graphics. There needs to a happy medium and I fear Ninty might be restricting themselves a little. Especially if Microsoft/Sony pair a Windows 8/Android tablet to the Xbox 720/PS4 and totally gimp the USP of the Wii U...

    2. RAMChYLD
      Boffin

      At least they're switching to HDMI tho?

      New telly (yeah, said LG passive 3D set) lags horribly when it comes to non-HDMI input. My regular Wii is pretty much unplayable with certain games as a result.

      1. KjetilS

        Re: At least they're switching to HDMI tho?

        Get a cheap hdmi adapter off fleabay?

  4. Tom_

    Numbers

    The Wii U will be an upgrade from the Wii, which didn't need to match the 360 and PS3 to appeal to a market segment large enough for Nintendo to sell 95 million units. That's about 50% more units than either the 360 or PS3.

    By producing a lower spec machine, Nintendo were able to make a profit on each Wii sold. Presumably if they next release a machine of comparable power to the 360 and PS3 they wll be able to do the same with that. The only real question is whether Wii users will be so interested in upgrading as traditional gamers. (I know many Wii users are also traditional gamers, but large number of them are new gamers that Nintendo lured into the market with the Wii.)

  5. David 155
    Thumb Up

    Innovation

    Its the Nintendo way, they prefer to innovate with new control methods etc rather than going for pure power and its a strategy that works for them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Innovation

      Erm, you mean like the Wii-Mote, which was a rushed to market version of PSMove that was developed several years before, for the PS2, but realigned for the PS3...

      I think you need to listen less to what Nintendo tells you and more an factual evidence.

      Nintendo basically copied what Sony were upto and rushed it out before them.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zin-gK6NEIY

      1. Quantum Leaper

        Re: Innovation

        How many Decades ago was the Nintendo Power Glove? The Wii-Mote is just a hand held version of the power glove, in a lot of ways. Sony would most likely not be in the Video Game business if Nintendo hadn't asked the help on a CD add-on for they console.

        A little history might help also....

        Power Glove - 1989

        Wii - 2006

        PS Move - 2010

        Unless Sony spent decades at thinking how to do it, I think Nintendo is the Innovator in this...

        1. Mike Brown

          Re: Innovation

          he is kind of right about this. The move controller was conceptualised back in 2003 or 04 it was dropped tho, as sony didnt think it would sell.....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Innovation

        Actually that last link was from 2003 (3 years before the Wii launch), but there are also demos from 2001:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PtoxKDcCXc&feature=related

        So at least 5 years before the Wii... So, don't try and pull that Nintendo innovates crap, they copy stuff and create an illusion of innovation.

    2. Piro

      Re: Innovation

      I don't know about that, the N64 could be considered an over the top piece of hardware at the time, and the GameCube was no slouch given its competition.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nintendo

    Nintendo haven't been competing in terms of raw power for years.

    The current Wii is effectively a GameCube 'Move'.

    It became popular because it had that innovation (which has now been matched and arguably beaten by PS Move and MS Kinect).

    It was also competitive on price. Release Wii U at £150, when the next gen PS4 / Xbox720 will be £4/500, and it will be a winner.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nintendo

      The Wiimote was a Move copy. Just because Nintendo were first to market with a version that sorta worked (but then needed you to buy an add-on later to make it work properly) doesn't mean they invented it.

      People really need to put their brains in gear before they type.

  7. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Its not about the hardware

    Its the software that sells games consoles and the Wii's software in recent years has been lack lustre. I am pretty sure if you polled most present Wii owners you would find the games they own are all pretty old. I have a Wii, but I haven't bought a new game for 2 years, just dragging out Mario Carts for the kids(why has there never been an update for that game?).

    Problem is the market Wii once owned, the casual family gamer, has now been taken by the XBOX360 kinnect and to a lesser extent the PS3 move. If I was buying a console today I would be looking at those because I know I could have a family console and play battlefield 3 when the kids are in bed.

    If Nintendo can't get the big game manufacturers on board the new console will be dead in the water.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    D.O.A.

    Toast. Who is going to buy it when pending the arrival in 2013 of the new Xbox, which has Kinect - it's now a "family" console.

    1. 1Rafayal
      FAIL

      Re: D.O.A.

      Really?

      Because the Wii was such a massive failure, wasnt it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: D.O.A.

        Yes?

        I know alot of people bought one, I don't know a single one that still use them.

        It sold on the gimmick of the silly controller, then kept going with wii-fit.

        The next one has a screen in the controller, I'm blown away tbh.

        1. David Gosnell

          Re: D.O.A.

          @AC: Ah yes, you again. The one with all the more-money-than-sense friends who didn't engage brain before buying a console never designed with them in mind.

          1. jai

            Re: D.O.A.

            that's weird then, i must know AC, because he seems to know all my friends too (and me, tbh, as i got a Wii last summer when the missus decided she wanted to use it Wii Fit and Zumba, used it for a month, haven't switched it on again since).

            the Wii serves a specific need - that of multiplayer gaming, and light-weight, kid-friendly gaming.

            i think the critical thing is, now that world+dog has a Wii in their lounge to fulfil those needs, why would they bother to spend so much cash again on a WiiU? if you're having a party, you'll wheel out the old Wii.

    2. sisk Silver badge

      Re: D.O.A.

      Who's going to buy it? People who want a console that costs half as much as the competition but still gets new games, Nintendo fanboys who want the latest in Mario and Metroid and Zelda, people who think that touchscreen controller is a nice enough touch to outdo whatever MS and Sony have for the next gen, and people who like gaming but dislike both MS and Sony.

      You know, the same groups of people who kept the Wii at the top of the current generation for three or four years despite the fact that it's really just a GameCube with a gimmick.

  9. Mike Judge
    FAIL

    Nintendo fail

    Since like the wii was little more than an expensive ps2 with no decent games, the wii-u will be an expensive PS3 with no games or blu-ray.

    1. JDX Gold badge
      WTF?

      Re: Nintendo fail

      You're right, this is the same path they took with the Wii - previous gen spec, sold cheaper than current-gen as an affordable console that actually makes some profit on the console itself.

      If the Wii-U 'fails' like the Wii did, Nintendo will be very happy.

  10. Irongut

    No change at Nintendo

    Why would the Wii U be more technically advanced than it's competition? For years now Nintendo's business plan has been to avoid competing on a technical basis and instead to compete by being the only platform with an over abundance of Italian plumbers. All their consoles have been less advanced than their competition since the days of the N64 (and maybe before, I wasn't really paying attention).

    1. Stuart Castle

      Re: No change at Nintendo

      "Why would the Wii U be more technically advanced than it's competition?"

      Why? How about because technology moves on and neither of Nintendo's competitors have substantially changed their consoles since at least 2007? Also, bear in mind that neither Sony nor Microsoft have even announced they have a new console coming, let alone given a timeline, so it is likely that for at least the first few months, the Wii U will be competing against the Xbox 360 and PS3.

    2. Kyoraki
      Stop

      Re: No change at Nintendo

      "All their consoles have been less advanced than their competition since the days of the N64 (and maybe before, I wasn't really paying attention)."

      No, you haven't been paying attention. It shows. In terms of raw grunt, the N64 surpassed the ps1, though it fell flat with storage and v-ram. The Gamecube however, matched the PS2 perfectly, and surpassed it with better shader technology than it's rival. That's why the Gamecube was always flooded with Survival Horror games, because of it's ability to produce more realistic fog and whatnot.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: No change at Nintendo

      >>Why would the Wii U be more technically advanced than it's competition?

      That's not what was being suggested - the claim is not "Nintendo will be AS advanced", but "Nintendo will be a whole generation behind".

    4. qwarty

      Re: No change at Nintendo

      With Wii U launching about 7 years after the late 2005 XBox 360. A long time in silcon term, XBox cpu/cpu at 90nm since 2005 we've had 65nm, 45nm and the 32nm processe is mature. Lots of much less expensive transistors so yes, really ought to be more than a small step forward from XBoxPS3 even if its starting at sub £200 retail.

      Though compatibility with Wii games and peripherals must be the main key to recapturing some of the family market, more so than raw performance.

    5. Rob Beard
      WTF?

      Re: No change at Nintendo

      Actually the N64 was better hardware than the PS1, but was then surpassed by the Dreamcast and PS2. The only real big issue with the N64 was the fact it used cartridges (and that the 64DD was never released outside Japan AFAIK). Still had some pretty awesome games though.

      The Gamecube was on par with the PS2 and XBOX, the Super NES/Super Famicom was better than the Megadrive, not so sure about the Master System and NES, they always seemed to be about on par to me (around the time they were around I was more interested in the ST and Amiga).

      Rob

      1. asdf Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: No change at Nintendo

        >Super NES/Super Famicom was better than the Megadrive

        It should have been considering the Megadrive came out 2 years earlier. Nintendo sat far too long on their NES success and lost their monopoly because of it (and also by permanently pissing off all 3rd party publishers with their encryption key fiasco which is why Nintendo 3rd party is mostly shovelware) .

  11. calagan
    Thumb Up

    We need a Wii with Full HD resolution and backward compatibility - we got it. No need to throw in a $500 GPU in there.

  12. Ed 11

    1080p

    Just a shame the current generation of Sony and Microsoft consoles don't output at 1080p.

    1. 1Rafayal
      FAIL

      Re: 1080p

      even though they do....?

      1. Sooty

        Re: 1080p

        Mine certainly does?

        What I assume Ed 11 is referring to is that a lot of the games aren't rendered at 1080p, they are rendered at a lower res and upscaled to keep the performance up. That's one of the reasons why a game on a much higher spec pc might not run as well as the console version when on the "same" settings.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1080p

      Plenty do.

      I have many NATIVE 1080p games, some 30FPS, some 60FPS on my PS3.

      Don't be fooled by the Xbox boxes claiming 1080P, almost all Xbox titles are upscaled 1080P titles, with misleading box info. At least Sony are honest in their resolutions on the box.

  13. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Alien

    Reasons for Nintendo not to include graphics at more than 1080p

    - Hardly any telly can display it.

    - Porting assets from PS360 made more difficult thus increasing development costs and reducing support.

    - Apart from that, it's a clear winner.

    1. Citizen Kaned

      Re: Reasons for Nintendo not to include graphics at more than 1080p

      really? how many TVs do you see that arent 1080p? my TV is 4/5 years old and does 1080p fine.

      some ps3 games are 1080p native but the vast majority are upscaled, which is cheating. same with xbox

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Reasons for Nintendo not to include graphics at more than 1080p

        Please re-read title.

        1. Citizen Kaned
          FAIL

          Re: Reasons for Nintendo not to include graphics at more than 1080p

          doh! my bad (fail on my part)

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Reasons for Nintendo not to include graphics at more than 1080p

        >>how many TVs do you see that arent 1080p?

        Absolutely loads. Many, many people bought 720p/1080i TVs as little as a couple of years ago (maybe even now?) since they are a fair chunk cheaper and 1080p is currently only of use for blu-rays.

      3. RAMChYLD
        Boffin

        Re: Reasons for Nintendo not to include graphics at more than 1080p

        >how many TVs do you see that aren't 1080p?

        About half of the 32-inchers out there aren't 1080p, especially the cheaper weirdo-brand ones. And if you go for even smaller sets, the numbers go up. And you'll be very hard pressed to find 1080p sets of 19 inches or smaller, if they even exist. Smallest 1080p set I've seen so far is 22 inch.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Nintendo will be as advanced as last generations consoles.

    Another epic Nintendo failure in the works, perhaps not from a sales perspective (although I suspect it will), but definitely from a technical perspective.

    The original Wii was always an inferior version of the PS2, which could be bought for less, had more games, and didn't suffer from the Nintendo shovelware problem, if you wanted novelty gaming, then buy an EyeToy for the PS2 for £15, job fun.

    More fun for less money.

    The PS3 will be in the same place when the Wii-U hits. Why waste your cash on a new console that's only as good as the 6 year old PS3, doesn't have any games, and is rather rubbish in it's media capabilities compared to the PS3.

    Sony have the casual market sewn up, with titles like Little Big Planet etc.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Nintendo will be as advanced as last generations consoles.

      People don't buy what you expect.

      They buy what they are told to, or what they know.

      This is why the usual Nintendo series sell so well, everyone has heard of them.

      If games sold by their quality, every child would be playing Little Big Planet, which I reckon is the best game I have come across for 8 to 12 year olds.

      Yet LBP has not sold that well at all despite being a masterpiece of a game.

      BTW never been a fan of Italian plumbers, prefered blue hedgehogs or early Id games.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nintendo will be as advanced as last generations consoles.

        LBP sales are pretty good. Sure they aren't MarioKart huge, but then like you said, LBP is out there to be discovered, rather than pushed down owners throats.

        I wonder how many parents are annoyed by their kids wasting time on driving karts, when they could be learning engineering and science skills in LPB whilst having fun...

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Nintendo will be as advanced as last generations consoles.

          LBP

          A while ago I asked the children about this. They prefer LBP to any of the Wii games, one of them love the Super Mario Galaxy games, but our Wii is basically an expensive set of scales.

          My total Wii usage is less than a day of PS3 usage.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The secret to Ninty Wii success...

    ...was the price!

    Seem to remember I paid about £150 for mine on release... this Wii U seems likely to be US$600 and the extra controller things aren't going to be 20 quid either.

    Combine that with the other players having moved into "family" and hardware thats one step behind... not to mention the massive dissapointment I know most Wii owners had after the first couple of months when they realised that besides a couple of flagship titles, there was little else on offer - nor likely to be.

    The gamecube was far better and my son still plays with that, rather than the Wii, which gathers dust...

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: The secret to Ninty Wii success...

      Price.

      Then add on a second controller, nunchuck controllers, classic controllers for the downloads, balance board and you are looking at a LOT of money. Infact into PS3 Xbox360 territory (or beyond)

      And never forget the way it eats AA batteries

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The secret to Ninty Wii success...

        Yes, it does all add up, however at 150 quid, it was an achievable birthday/xmas pressie for mum/dad/grandparents to buy... compared to the (at the time) expensive xbox or ps3.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The secret to Ninty Wii success...

          Times have changed. Buy a PS3 for £150, or a Nintendo Wii-U that does less, has very few games and costs more...

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: The secret to Ninty Wii success...

          My wife paid about 150, then another 100 on bits and pieces.

          About 6 months later we paid £350 for a 40GB PS3.

          I will admit I prefered the PS2 to the Wii but still stuck to PC for most things, until the PS3.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: The secret to Ninty Wii success...

      Considering you can get a PS3 for less than £150, why would ANYONE want a Wii-U? You could even get a VITA too, and it would still rock in for less money....

    3. RAMChYLD
      Boffin

      Re: The secret to Ninty Wii success...

      They have one other market tho: ladies.

      Seriously, who are the ones who end up playing the Sport titles the most? And who are those who would actually use a Wii Fit as a scale?

      And then, of course, there's Animal Crossing- the ultimate mundane Kawaii-town simulator. Many of the opposite gender I've met on the internet plays it. And well, I've got addicted to it myself, it's pretty good.

  16. 100113.1537

    Market

    The secret to the Wii success was that they opened up a new market of non-gamers. I read all of you gamers screaming how the graphics were awful, but that didn't stop it outselling the other consoles hands-down because it wasn't you they were targeting. Even now, Wii consoles are still on the shelves in my local Costco - not exactly a gamer palace.

    The question is, can they repeat these sales when this market doesn't really care about having the latest, greatest resolution? Well, since most people have HD tv's now, they probably did need to upgrade this, but since we are talking about keeping the same target market happy - and not spending too much money - there doesn't seem to be a need to out-do the X-Box/PS(n) crowd..

    However, to get the same kind of uptake depends on the games this time around. They haven't released anything terribly new for a while and precious little makes use of the balance board (a truly unique input device, when coupled with a controller). I haven't found much to convince me to buy new games for a while, but (after years of use) we do need a new balance board and I was hoping for an upgrade to something to be bundled with that. However, I can't see why I would need to buy a new console with the current games out there.

  17. Mike Brown

    this wont work for nintendo

    and the reason is the success of the Wii:

    Everyone that bought a wii and now have it sat gathering dust wont buy a Wii U. For that very reason, why buy the upgraded version when the original got 2 weeks worth of play then dumped?

    Thye played the movement trump card, and it worked wonders for grandparents and kiddies, but i dont think they have naythng left to attract that demographic now.

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  19. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Nintendo - doomed since 1889.

    Ironically enough, almost a year ago to this day, the Nintendo 3DS was launched.

    You know, if you believed the media, it was a poorly-designed single stick device which made everyone sick and caused headaches, and would undoubtedly fail once the superior twin-stick Vita with HD graphics and mature games arrived.

    A year on , the 3DS has sold 15 million while the Vita has turned out to be a complete flop - barely selling 10,000 a week in Japan.

    The cycle seems to go like this.

    1. Nintendo announce new console which forsakes graphical prowess for an innovative idea.

    2. Nintendo's doom is predicted. The media write the new console off and predict that the rival consoles with HARDCORE GAMEZ!!!!1111 will be far more popular.

    3. Despite this, Nintendo's console prints money, completely killing the competition.

    4. The media claim that "Nintendo's victory was a fluke that can't possibly happen again" as E3 approaches.

    The cycle has happened with the DS, Wii and 3DS now, and there's a good chance this will repeat with the Wii U too.

  20. BuckyM
    Pirate

    The only comment worth making is that this quote is very old made by a guy that has nothing to do with the tech, his developers who have actual hands on with it said bout a week ago that's it's more powerful than current gen consoles and so have many other developers who actually have hands on experience with it. Totally taken out of context

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