The Wii U Might Be Too Little, Too Late

The Wii U Might Be Too Little, Too Late

In 2005, Nintendo showed off the controller for its then-upcoming home console at the Tokyo Game Show. The console was still codenamed the Revolution, and the motion controller was nothing short of just that. The debut blew people’s minds. You could feel it in the room.

For the first several years of this console generation, Nintendo dominated. Back in 2005, Nintendo stressed how it was going to let Sony and Microsoft duke it in the HD area. The Wii, and Nintendo, wanted to have fun.

That initial Wii Remote trailer showed all the amazing things you could do with the Wii Remote – stuff I’d never seen a home console controller do. The concept was easy to grasp, and easily copied by rivals (even if the promise of that initial trailer wasn’t actually met until Nintendo finally released a more accurate Wii Remote).

Wii games were never as interactive as that initial trailer promised – we never jumped behind sofas. The console ended up with a heavy casual game focus, and there was poor third party support – both of which Nintendo hopes to rectify with the Wii U. And we still haven’t gotten that lime green Wii console. The Wii has been a mixed bag: sometimes brilliant, sometimes less so, rarely consistent.

This week, Nintendo unveiled its latest controller for the forthcoming console now officially known as the Wii U. The console addresses gripes that have developed over this console generation, namely the Wii’s lack of HD graphics. The concept is a little harder for the general public to grasp, and the addition of a second screen will both simplify and complicate things.

The whole concept of the Wii was that players could enjoy something with their family and friends. The Wii U continues that, but adds the idea that here’s something you can do by yourself. This is the “U” part of Wii U. So while your family is watching television, you can play a console video game. Alone. Neat, sure, but it’s not on message for what Nintendo’s been saying for the past five or six years.

With that touch screen, the Wii U will provide new gaming experiences, and don’t be surprised if rival hardware makers release similar products of their own. They’ve done it in the past. If Sony and Microsoft release controllers with touch screens, that will undercut Nintendo’s novelty factor. But as long as Nintendo churns out Mario and Zelda games, that doesn’t matter. If Sony and Microsoft do not release controllers with touch screens, that could actually encourage developers not to support the feature to its fullest. The second screen element makes Wii U game development more complicated and more expensive.

The Wii U is a hi-def game console. The trailer Nintendo showed of third party games were, more or less, target renders. Since developers are just getting to work on Wii U titles, Nintendo used footage of PS3 and Xbox 360 games.

It’s a ballpark. The end product might be better than current gen titles, but without finished product, it’s impossible to judge how much better. The Wii U does put Nintendo on a level playing field with Sony and Microsoft, meaning that titles released for the Xbox 360 and PS3 can also appear on the Wii U.

It also puts Nintendo in an awkward position. The Wii, released in 2006, is the first console of this generation to get a successor. Nintendo stated that the Wii isn’t going away, meaning that the company will probably support both the Wii and the Wii U (at least for the immediate future). Combined with the DSi and 3DS, this means Nintendo will be supporting four different hardware platforms at once. Four!

It also means that the Wii U won’t be launching against new, rival hardware. Sony and Microsoft, while no doubt working on new hardware, have given no indications that they’ll be ready to launch new consoles in 2012. That’s probably smart. Next year is looking to be a bad year to launch new hardware, with only this year being worse.

The U.S. economy remains sluggish. As the government attempts to tackle the national debt, the mood in the U.S. is encouraging people to save money, not spend it. And the Wii U won’t be as cheap as the Wii.

“I don’t think we can charge the same price as we currently do for the Wii,” Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told Japan’s Nikkei Newspaper. The Wii is currently priced at under ¥20,000 ($US250) in Japan.

The Wii launched at ¥25,000 in Japan, and $US249.99 in the US. This is the same price at which Nintendo recently launched its DS successor, the 3DS. Unless the 3DS gets a price cut, it’s doubtful Nintendo will launch the Wii U for $US249.99. Retailing from ¥30,000 ($US299.99) is more realistic, but the Wii U, with its fancy touch-screen controller, could be even more expensive.

In 2011, ¥30,000 isn’t $US299.99. It’s $US375. Try launching the Wii U in the US for that price.

The value of the American dollar has cratered since the original Wii launched, cutting into Nintendo’s profits in the US, the world’s biggest video game market. Internally, Nintendo is attempting to negate the effects of the strong yen. The yen might dip later this year – it also might continue to remain strong.

Worried about jobs and the future, Americans are less likely to shell out for a hi-def game system – when they might already have an Xbox 360 or PS3. And when the new Xbox and new PlayStation finally do launch, the Wii U will already be a few years old, meaning it could be out of step for future improvements in video game graphics, once again putting Nintendo behind the curve in console horsepower.

Nintendo will argue that its new console is future-proof, that it can render graphics that can compete with upcoming console, or maybe even, like before, that graphics ultimately aren’t everything. They aren’t, but they are important, because if Sony and Microsoft begin playing at a higher level, that could mean Nintendo will once again miss out on multiplatform titles or get lower res versions of them.

The new controller is interesting, sure, but is it compelling like the original Wii Remote was back in 2005? Does it cause the same buzz? Is the excitement there? For someone who still feels slightly burned on the Wii, I’d say, no.

Top photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty


  • Well, they won’t get lower res versions of them,
    Home televisions will not go past 1080P. There is no point. TV broadcasts won’t support it, Bluray won’t support it, there will be no content available in higher than 1080P. And there is no impetus for TV manufacturers to do more than 1080P anyway, at least for screens under 80 inches. Many people struggle to see the difference between 1080P and 720P now.

    So the resolution will be the same, it will come down to mesh density and textures. If the WiiU has plenty of texture RAM, then there are only so many textures worth creating, when, once again your target resolution is locked at 1080P.

    The next gen may have better lighting and be able to push more polys, have better physics and more cycles left over for better AI, but the games are unlikely to look radically better.
    They will have better textures, but the rez will be the same. Many studios already struggle to do the current consoles justice, it is hard doing photorealism, and expensive.

    I don’t think the Wii U will be left behind by the next gen, the touchscreen controller may be a hit or not, but the grunt in the Wii U should be enough for the next 5 years.

    • I tend to agree – I’ve felt that the current gen is really close to photo-realism as it is. To me resolution is second to the number of polygons a system can handle, even using composite cable GTAIV (a 3 year old game) looks spectacular.

      Like you said – it all comes down to dev teams, real improvements in graphics now seem to be coming from left field – like the Motion Scan tech in LA Noire or having the processing power for realistic physics like Havok or Frostbite.

      For that reason I don’t think Wii U will be as out of step as people seem to fear, the real key for Nintendo will be convincing devs like Rockstar and Valve to get on board and also bringing their online services up to the standards of PSN and XBL

    • “Home televisions will not go past 1080P. There is no point. TV broadcasts won’t support it, Bluray won’t support it, there will be no content available in higher than 1080P.”

      At this point. The same was originally said about the original definition (lo-def) tv years back before hi def broadcasting started, the exact same. One day, maybe 20 years from now, maybe 10, who knows, you’ll get higher resolutions. Chances are it’ll happen when framerates boost from 24fps in cinema to around 48-60fps. James Cameron is already working on it for a future movie. When this happens, increased resolutions beyond the normal can increase clarity and the effect.

      So to basically conclude: It won’t happen yet, but it will happen eventually. Just not any time soon.

      • You may not realize this, but HDTV began the planning stages in the early 1980s. It represents the culmination of over 25 years of work by the FCC and others, most of which happened before most consumers had even begun to hear about HD seven or eight years ago. It was long and complicated, it was messy, and it suffered a lot of delays. Even if the FCC were anxious to begin that process over again with another new standard, they haven’t yet. And that’s not even taking into account the question of whether a higher resolution standard is even necessary, since most HDTVs below 50″ are at or above the perception threshold of most people.

        It’s likely to be at least 25 years before a new TV standard emerges, but more likely it will be longer than that. And even when that happens, it’s not clear that a resolution boost will be part of it.

        • Toshiba already has a TV that displays at up to 4000p. The FCC is a communications regulator, why would they have anything at all to do with the research involved for a private sector business like HD TV? Not to mention the FCC is part of the US government. Why would Sony be given their research to come out with HD TVs? It was developed on the private sector and they already have the technology to go well beyond 1080p, it’s just really expensive and there isn’t a whole lot of need for it.

          There’s plenty that can and will be improved upon graphically come next generation. From what I’ve seen of the Wii U in actual game development videos… it actually looks worse than the PS3 and 360. I’m not impressed.

      • Actually, 48fps is happening right now – Peter Jackson is shooting The Hobbit in it, Cameron won’t be usng 48fps for quite some time, although he does endorse the technology.

        • Current TV tech can easily handle 48fps, PAL broadcasts are already 50FPS and NTSC 60fps, so we won’t need new TVs or infrastructure to handle it.
          As pointed out before, the switch to HDTV took decades, and there are no plans by broadcasters to go any higher, so it will be a long, long time.
          And even on a 60″ screen at standard viewing distances, very, very few people can distinguish individual pixels at all. Even on my 3 metre wide projection system, 1080P doesn’t look even vaguely pixelly. So the next Wii, as long as it has good lighting and can pump polys, will not be behind in the same way that the current one was, pretty much no matter what happens.

    • Except that this is a on par (technically speaking) console trying to sell itself for more than consoles that are already tried and proven.

      And you can pretty much guarantee that sony and microsoft will wait until the economic climate is a lot friendlier before dropping their new tech on us, this means that their predicted sales will probably be a LOT higher than the Wii U whether it has a head start or not.

    • lol you obviously didn’t get the memo. The last 2 Nintendo console launches have sucked balls. How is a machine that’s probably on par with the Vita going to compete. Noone gives a crap about Zelda anymore. Nintendo don’t care about delivering to any country outside of Japan or U.S at best

      • Say what you will about the Wii, it launched very strongly. I had trouble getting one… over a year after it launched. The Wii U is probably going to be more powerful than the PS3, let alone the Vita. And nobody cares about Zelda? I lol’d.

    • Most current-gen games run at 720p (or worse, at sub-hd resolutions), so I think there is plenty of room for improvement in the next gen. 1080p, more polys, better textures with more variety, more effects, and more stable framerates.

    • resolution yes, 1080p is probably the reasonable limit for consoles for a while.

      that does not mean that you won’t see a big difference between PS3 360 and PS4 Xbox3.

      What about draw distance?

      model detail? – current games may look detailed but the underlying wireframes are pretty simple.

      number of objects in movement – leaves, grass, hair, number of characters etc?

      Think of a game like GT4 – pretty much the most accurate model of a city on current gen. Now look out the window.

      There’s a big difference and a huge amount of scope for improvement that will only be possible on future gen hardware.

      Not to mention multiple screens, recording TV in the background, streaming to another room, 3D, calculations required for motion control etc.

  • There has been much discussion on how this platform may intimidate developers. The tablet controller may make it difficult and costly to produce quality titles that use it effectively. Cross platform ports will probably feature tacked on gimmicky uses of the tablet, delegating it to novelty value only…and then there’s the cost of the device.

    As a huge Nintendo fan I hope they have some aces up their sleeve, but the Mario factory may have bitten off too much this time. I smell fail, and that saddens me.

    • I think most cross platform games will just have a map screen or inventory on the second screen and not much else.

      I’m ok with that.

  • Couldn’t agree more. As I’m writing this, sitting on the couch, I can see my Wii sitting under the TV. And I’ve just realized I can’t remember the last time I even turned it on. Can’t see myself falling for it twice.

    • Indeed and that’s a very strong thing people will consider this time. I didn’t play the last Wii after a few weeks, why will I play this one?

    • Am feeling the same. Purchased Madworld for like $10 a few months ago…have played it twice.

      Played Little King Story once. Tats vs Capcom maybe three times.

      I obsess over finishing my games, but even turning the Wii on seems like a chore (am I too far from sensor bar, lined up right, batteries in wii remote, nunchuk plugged in).

      After region locking and selling the 3DS for a hundred bucks more herein Australia, I feel Nintendo are just screwing themselves.

      Cancelled my Ocarina EB preorser today as I refuse to buy a 3DS.

      Vita, here I come.

    • As always, it will come down to the games. If Nintendo can drum up a stronger software lineup for the Wii U — as it appears they are attempting to do with third parties this time round — people will buy it.

      • My concern is how much of that 3rd party support will hang around after Sony / MS launch their next consoles. Once the new PS and XBox come out, the Wii U will be left behind with the other legacy systems PS3 and 360. Once they can’t do quick and easy ports, will they continue to bother supporting it? We saw a lot of Wii support dry up as the PS2 support dried up, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see the same thing happen here as developers and publishers move to the next gen platforms. Not that I’ll be spending my own money again to find that out the hard way.

  • I disagree. I believe more defined developers will take this console more seriously because of the graphics which is what most gamers seem to have their hearts set on. This will also weed out the 3rd party “shovel ware” developers because it will be too expensive for them to make shitty titles.

    With the power (hopefully) of the current/coming Gen consoles, the utilisation of the touch screen and Nintendo’s strong blood lines in Zelda, Mario and the like, I think they have what they need to bring their A game and compete with the “HD” machines.

    Good luck Wii U!

  • The Wii is almost like an IPod or Ipad, everyone has to have one because their friend has it – ignoring whether or not they would play it. I doubt the Wii U will have that appeal considering a lot of peoples wiis are just home to dust mites and creepy crawlies.

  • Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I feel Nintendo’s new controller has a bit of an identity crisis. They’ve tried to create something both new (what with the touch screen) and familiar (with the inclusion of analogue sticks and buttons) but have ended up with something possibly confusing for the Wii’s mainstream audience.

    What Nintendo got right with the Wii remote is it’s simplicity. i.e: It looks like a remote, and acts like one too, albeit a motion sensitive one. Will people find the Wii ‘u’ controller as intuitive? I doubt it.

    • Remember though that you can use the existing wiimotes with the new Wii, so players don’t have to use the new controller if they don’t want to.

    • I think what Nintendo got right with the wii was timing and a real reason to upgrade.

      At the time the average Nintendo consumer was still on their PS2, looking at the PS3/XBOX360 and seeing a big cost without seeing a big defining reason why it was better than what they had.

      Then, just as it was becoming hard to find games for their PS2, Ninty came in with waggle stix and party games and people could see that there was finally something their PS2 couldn’t do.

      Now however the average ninty consumer has a Wii. Maybe a DS too. Why do they buy this?

      Sure, there core Ninty gamer will buy it, if just to play the new Zelda. The average soccer mum Ninty consumer – no.

      If they want HD they play their PS3/Xbox, they want waggle they play their wii. They want touch, they play their iphone/Ds. they want to do it all at the same time? they probably don’t.

  • The handful of people I’ve ever known who owns a wii.. only ever had the couple of games it came packaged with. The only game I’ve played is wii sports and the only other game I’ve seen someone else play is one of the Zelda’s (because I bought it for my gf). The console never impressed me, why wave some sticks around when you can just use your thumbs for a better experience on other consoles?

  • Talk about fire and brimstone. I thought the Wii would bomb but it turned out to make Nintendo billions of dollars. I bought into the Wii when it was fairly cheap and haven’t really played anything but the Mario Galaxys. It worked the first time, question is whether people will be fooled now.

  • I see this as Nintendo pushing further into new marketplaces. On top of those who embraced the Wii as a first console, this will appeal to those touch screen gamers who are currently experimenting with games on the iPad and iPhone, as well as upgrading to the high definition which has become the standard resolution for the current generation.
    The console also caters to techies and the Nintendo faithful.
    @Braaains, you have a wii, though. The reason you don’t play it is the lack of decent games.
    And while motion control was an absolute bolt from the blue, which sony rushed out a mimic for and is now coming to both, touch-sensitive games and apps have been in development for the DS, phones and tablets for years now. Same with the graphics. Even twin-screen play has been embraced through the DS.
    And finally, console resolution has peaked for the forseeable future. Sony is pushing 3D, others are pushing for adaptability and accessibility.

  • Who knows what res it will be running at depending on the horsepower. If it’s no more powerful, or only marginally more than the current hd systems, then we’ll be seeing another round of games running at 720p. We won’t know till next year I guess.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see an announcement from Sony and/or Microsoft of a new system at E3 2012 to try and take a bit of the spotlight off Ninty’s pre-release hype. Sony already employed that strategy against the Dreamcast, look how that turned out.

    Wii U, much like Dreamcast is already in danger of being looked at as a half-generational leap over the current systems. Guess we won’t really know though until we see more details, and some real games! I skipped the Wii this time round, and I’ve owned every Nintendo system since the NES. I may be tempted by the new system, with the added bonus of being able to catch up on the first party titles that I missed. The lack of upscaling for Wii games in the new console is pretty disappointing though, as it was one of the features I really wanted. Hopefully they change their mind and find a way to implement it before launch.

  • Couldn’t agree with this more.

    All I would like to add in is what was the point of the Wii’s motion controls? Now those controllers basically get thrown in the bin for a bulky tablet which doesn’t allow the same freedom as move or kinect. Sure that thing would work well as a shield, but what about my sword? And don’t even get me started on that stupid Wii U zapper..ohhhh dear. Nintendo made a big step forward with the Wii and unfortunately they just took two back.

    A High Definition Wii, with more precise motion controllers, a camera and a good controller for the core gamers is all that was needed. That would allow all current/future 3rd party games to be ported and developed for Nintendo. Add in the 1st party games and voila you have yourself a killer console.

    All I can ask is, Nintendo, how can you show a product off which hasn’t even been officially locked in? All the specs were left open and not even one game has officially gone past planning…

    Epic fail.

    I bet half the stuff we saw this week from Nintendo won’t even see the light of day and after the backlash they have been receiving, the Wii U will see some big changes…

  • The NES was outdated when they finally shipped to the US. So was the SNES. Nobody’s surprised about this, and you’d probably do better to brush up on the company’s history of releasing outside industry-determined generation gaps.

    Not a bad point, though. I think the new system isn’t just a “This is what you can do by yourself” tagline. It’s just missing a heart in the middle to declare itself a lovenote to Nintendo’s core audience, or at least what remains of it.

    • SNES, even though it took a long time to hit all territories, I would hardly call it outdated when it arrived. The Neo Geo was out and much more powerful, but only because SNK took a ‘spare no expense’ arcade mentality, an expense that was passed on to the consumer. SNES was the best tech at the time that could be released at a realistic price-point.

  • Sony already have there touch screen controller anounced btw… Its called Vita.

    Who says blurays can’t support higher than 1080p and tv’s won’t go higher than that? If anyone was in a position to make a push to the next level it’d be Sony. They do make there own tvs and produce/publish movies.

    • NHK in Japan are already demoing Super Hi-Vision (SHV), also known as Ultra HDTV, a format with a resolution of 4320p. It was NHK who developed Hi-Vision in 1979, a 1080i precursor to the HD sets we have today.

      • Another TV within 5 years – I don’t know if i can see a market for that. I don’t see the point of this definition unless the screen is bigger than 50″.
        According to Brian here, people can’t afford a new console, never mind a $5K TV.

  • Brian,

    All those negatives waves man…..
    Lets have our glass half full.

    I must admit, a lot of what you say is fair, but remember, Nintendo is in the game console business to sell game consoles and games. Their home platform is on a downward sales slope.
    What do suggest they do? ….Wait until Sony / Microsoft are ready with their next Gen. That didn’t work so well for the Cube did it!

    Sure, when the Wii launched, it did grab the imagination and even their competitors new it.
    Conversely, when Nintendo launched the DS, everybody thought the PSP was going to wipe the floor with it. The DS did OK!

    If the economy gets worse, there is an awful lot of Wiis out there to buy games for.

    A years head start isn’t going to hurt….worked pretty well for the PS2, the weakest console of its gen.

    Not having the benefit of multiple consoles i still play games on my little white machine fairly regularly, and for mature games (Crysis etc.) the PC (AMD 3core PhenomII with 4770ATI) It’s pretty close to the performance i expect WiiU to be (and it won’t have to run windows)

    Nintendo try hard to be different, sometimes your gonna be a hero, sometimes a fool. You never know unless you try!

  • Just a few things:

    * Current hardware specs are vague and speculated at the moment, but it’s a new console. It’s easily already miles ahead in tech than the 360 and PS3 and more than capable of running all their titles. It’s up to the developers to work with the hardware they’re given and make the games look the best they can. In every developer interview I’ve seen regarding the Wii U they’ve praised the technical specifications and the new control scheme. I distinctly recall one mentioning the CPU and the RAM. (Actually I think I read it here, on Kotaku)

    * It’s not a “fancy touch screen” controller. It’s the same tech as in the DS. Single touch, pressure sensitive. Dirt cheap to make in comparison to your capacitive multi-touch digitisers as seen in smart phones and tablets.

    * Sony is still dragging along the PS2, so what’s the difference between them and Big N still supporting the Wii? Regardless, I -like- when developers extend support for older hardware. I’m sick of getting reamed by the Apple model and being forced to shell out for a new device to stay in the update cycle.

    * 20GB PS3 at launch was US$499. If the WiiU comes out at US$375 I’d be over the damn moon.

    Did you even see that Zelda demo or the tech demo of the bird and the temple? I won’t say I’m 100% sold on the console yet, but most of the coverage I’ve seen seems to be grasping at straws trying to find reasons to shoot it down.

    TL;DR – Console not as bad as most journos reporting?

    • You’ve made some great points Jon. I’m not sure about all this price bashing. Last I heard, Nintendo wanted the Wii U’s release price to be similar to that of the original Wii. And if I recall correctly, they said there is no reason why it shouldn’t be. I’m sure they will sell it a competitive price. They must know they will lose their new fans if they don’t.

      • We can only hope. The snippet I read regarding pricing was that they would like to release it at around the same price at the Wii, but probably wouldn’t be able to (or something to that effect). All we can really do is wait…

  • Does anyone know if you can only use ONE of the touch screen controllers? No screen shots/movies of 2 or more being used….just wondering. I also read they may not have extra units for sale at launch? which may indicate we can use 2 units, but maybe they will be too pricey?? A lot bothers me here where as I agree the feeling when the wiimote was shown was completely amazing in comparison. I also wish they did something ‘different’ with the console as it smacks of me too a bit too much.

  • Pretty disheartened by Id’s comments about support of the WiiU.

    How are you going to develop a “Third Party FPS” shooter market on a Nintendo platform, unless some influential third parties put some games on it?

    Looks like Nintendo are going to have to spend some money and buy some western developers (Just like MS did).

    Is there some bad blood between Nintendo and Id?

    • I think there is – although it would be an old grudge dating back to the SNES port of Doom IIRC.

      Still has id even released anything worthwhile in the last few years? An iPhone game, that’s about it. I’d be looking more to getting devs like Rockstar or Valve to back the console than worrying about the iOS obsessed Carmack.

    • There was mention (Ubisoft I think?) of them thinking about the possibilities of using 2 controllers…

  • This is a good summary of how I’ve reacted to Nintendo and the Wii U. I think once the initial hype of ‘something new’ dies down that more and more people will realize that this is how they feel too.

    I pre-ordered a Wii months in advance and had it at home on the day of release. That’s not gonna happen with the Wii U. I’m going to sit, wait, and watch.

  • Problems for the Wii U:

    Target Market Apathy -Soccer Mums & young kids don’t care about HD and wont buy an upgraded Wii for a new Zelda when all they had for the Wii was a copy of Wii Fitt/Imagine Poniez. Hardcore reaction seems mixed at the moment -but for some, Zelda or Mario alone is all it will take. For others, the lack of a comprehensive online store, seemless online play, and other online entertaiment options may be seen as a major negative since many of us have enjoyed these for the last 5 years now. Might many Hardcore gamers just wait that extra year or so for the true next gen consoles, especially if Zelda and/or Mario aren’t ready at or near launch?

    Lack of Point Of Difference -It has a 6 inch touch screen in the pad. That’s it. Sony or Microsoft could easily bring out their own, but I doubt they will bother -developers hardly will be clamoring for something additional to program for and 360/PS3 owners probably don’t care.

    Lack of Games: Hundreds on the current gen consoles, a handful at launch on Wii U with a slow trickle afterwards very likely. There seems to be very little 1st party games in development -unless you count the “tech demos” (which let’s be honest -that flying bird took a up some programmers valuable time that could have been spent working on an actual game. There will be a Mario and Zelda at some point, but we don’t know when or how good they will be (Sunshine on the cube wasn’t there at launch and when it finally did arrive was a bit dissapointing to some of us -as was Wind Wacker. Hardly worth owning a Cube for just these two).3rd Parties -No Activision!? Several big Japanese publishers conspicous by their absence. With current gen retail games often taking 18 months or more to develop it seems that the first 12 months of Wii U will be pretty barren.

    Bad Timing – They will be competing with the increasingly cheaper PS3 & 360 for the first year or two. This means they will need to be competitive with whatever prices these two are at. The Wii U is unlikely to have the price advantage that the Wii has had this generation. Since the money is made on software -without a large installed base they can’t make large ammounts of money. Wii U will almost certainly then be competing with PS4 and the neXtbox after a year or so -which will be regarded as much more powerful and desirable no matter what the specs are (Dreamcast vs GC vs PS2 anyone?).

    Multiplayer Madness -Nintendo seems to be unable to confirm if you can use 2 or more new screen controllers at once. I’m sure they are feverishly working away at a fix, but how the hell did they get to announcing this thing with this major, major flaw? That and the lack of games seems to indicate they are really rushing this out in a hurry.

  • This is pretty much what I’ve been saying the whole time… In fact “maybe not too little, but definitely too late” was my EXACT WORDING. =.=

    STILL. Well put, indeed. There’s a few things I’d add to it, which the fanbase seems to keep falling back on as IT’S STILL GOOD calls.

    1: 1080P IS NOT THE STICK BY WHICH EVERYTHING IS MEASURED. 1080p is purely the resolution that is fed into the tv, assuming it is 1080p capable. That’s like saying “my computer can run Crysis, because Crysis can run in 800×640 and my computer supports that.” No. A thousand times no. Computers with much weaker gpus and processors supported ‘1080p’ long before TVs did. If modded correctly, the Wii could definitely support 1080p. The Gamecube almost certainly could too. The only reason the Wii doesn’t is because it was made before 1080p was the standard, so Nintendo didn’t think it was necessary.

    In other words, just because it supports 1080p does not, in any way at all, guarantee it will rival the horsepower of the 360 and PS3.

    2: Stop referring to the tech demo. That is the equivalent of taking a Final Fantasy cutscene and claiming that’s how gameplay looks. It is not. Anyone remember the White Knight Chronicles trailer, prior to the PS3’s launch? Remember how it looked NOTHING LIKE THAT? How about the Crysis tech demos? Is that how gameplay looked?

    It is very, very easy to make 2 minutes of footage in absurd quality. It is not an indication of the final product. If you think the games are truly going to look like that, you are a fool.

    3: Just because it’s being made now definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY does not mean it will be “miles ahead.” This is not a next-gen console, this is a current-gen console, where the Wii was a last-gen console. You think companies can just magically appearify R&D? It takes 3+ years for the respective companies to develop their new consoles. Given that the Wii was already 5 years behind, do you really think Nintendo can do 10 years of development in 5 years? Not to mention, that’s 5 years of development from two of the biggest, most professional electronics developers in the world; as consoles become more and more like computers, Nintendo become more and more out of their element.

    tl;dr: I’m amazed that people remain so insistant on assuming the best when Nintendo’s repeated lies and side-stepping implies the worst.

    • It is using current IBM power Architecture and current ATi architecture, this immediately puts it miles ahead of the PS3 and 360. Developers have already said it is more powerful than the current consoles, and it should have DX11 stye shaders etc. available, and we know it handles out-of-order instructions which is the one thing that really hamstrings the 360 power wise. There is little doubt the Wii U will be a step up from the current consoles. How big a step is up for debate, but there is no way it isn’t a bit ahead of the curve, and that should be enough for developers not to have to redo their games like they have to currently with the Wii.

    • Shinkada, let’s talk facts.

      * I don’t know why this 1080p argument has popped up. Last I checked Nintendo said the console supports 1080p, which means it outputs in HD. The bigger question is will it be NATIVE 1080 or upscaled. Little known fact: Very few current gen console games are rendered in native 1080. Most are 720p then upscaled. One would hope that a console released in 2012 would do native 1080 (and perhaps some AA and decent texture filtering?)

      * IBM confirmed that the Wii U will be using the POWER7 family of CPUs. The smallest of these is a 3GHz quad core. AMD has also been confirmed to be doing the GPU, which has been reported (on Kotaku) to be of the Radeon HD family. If they managed to make a console that was less powerful than the 360 or PS3 knowing this, I’d say that would be an achievement.

      * The tech demo by definition is supposed to show what the console is capable of. For the sake of an example, there are many games released for the PS2 that make its initial tech demo release look like fried ass. In the end it’s up to the game developers to really push the envelope and show us what any console is really capable of. As far as I was aware, several journalists and developers were shown actual game play from the Nintendo/Ubi closed doors conference, so they’re the ones with the answers currently.

      It’s kind of hypocritical to say that people are naive for hoping that this particular console turns out OK, when you’re shooting it down with the same evidence. They (Nintendo) know way more about making and selling consoles than we do, so I would say it makes sense to put at least a little faith in them.

      That being said, over the next few months we’re sure to see more technical specifications and facts released. Until then it’s all speculation on BOTH sides of the debate.

      • Holy crap an intelligent reply. Didn’t see that one coming.

        1080p: All good points, but what I was trying to get at is that Reggie and his fan club keep using 1080p as a defense when asked about the power of the console. It’s pretty much completely irrelevant and saying that just supporting 1080p = as good as 360/PS3 and that’s all there is to it shows a complete lack of understanding from everyone who says it. Even if the software is made in 1080p native, that STILL doesn’t guarantee the same quality. I do think the Wii U will compete with the 360 and PS3 but I can’t help but wonder why Nintendo thinks the best way to tell us that is “It’s 1080p!” while sidestepping every single question about its actual power.

        IBM: That’s the first promising news I’ve heard for Nintendo fans from this entire thing. My cynicism senses are saying there’s no guarantee it will be that strong because consoles usually get specially-made versions of currently-existing parts, but yes from that I’d say it’s pretty much guaranteed it will be up to the 360 and PS3’s standard… Though that still raises the problem of most people assuming it will be a generation up from them.

        I don’t think I’m being hypocritical. You’re right that it’s all speculation and that it’s impossible to say either way. There are two reasons I’m being so cynical about it.

        1: It’s Nintendo. Ever since the DS they’ve been nothing but gimmicks and have completely abandoned the tech race. It’s difficult to just jump back into the game like that after so long of lost R&D. Plus their dumb tablet gimmick suggest that… Well, they’re still more intent on selling a family image than selling a good game console.

        2: How they’ve handled all this. Reggie refuses to say anything but “It’s 1080p, geeze, stop worrying!” and clearly has no freaking idea what he’s talking about. They used footage from other consoles and didn’t admit it until they were in smaller interviews the mainstream media and most gamers won’t hear about. They didn’t even SHOW the console unit until after their stage demo. They’ve lied, they’ve side-stepped, and they’ve omitted facts. I don’t know about you but all that doesn’t tell me Nintendo has a lot of confidence in this product.

  • Nah, nintendo is doing what they always do – take tech that is already there and using it in interesting ways. Thats the difference between apple and nintendo!

  • I’ll admit I was unsure upon initially seeing it, but after a day of thinking of the possibilities with the controller I was more than sold. Now im dying to get my hands on the WiiU.
    Plus the thought of switching between a game of Smash Bros to something like Arkham City is simply a dream come true! Serms like Nintendo are really hunting the 3rd parties for the WiiU. This could end up the most hardcore, yet accessible Nintendo console since the SNES. And Im pumped about it:)

  • thats exactly what i said on the “what do you think of wii u” page, it’s too little too late, my ps3 and xbox can do everything that does…

  • Nintendo hit it out of the park with the Wii and the DS, but let us not forget how much they were in decline for years before then. I don’t get the appeal of the Wii U at all, I don’t think they can sell them to the same broad market as the Wii (not least of which because that market has the Wii and now has their casual phone games too).

  • A note to Kotaku, can you guys use an image that has the controller & the console when doing articles about the Wii U? Enough people are already under the erroneous impression that the new system is *just* that controller.

  • Wow if you were trying to sound impartial you failed big time. The state of the American Economy will mean the Wii U fails? Sheesh. By any chance have you seen the profitability of Microsoft and Sonys gaming divisions? No? Its because they are struggling for profitability. On the other hand Nintendo was profitable from day one of the release of the first Wii. Even a down turn in Wii sales is still profits. I dare you to research the profitability of the 3 console companies and come back. I think the timing for some time next year is fine. Early on they will have limited supply of Wii U’s so those that can afford the price tag will get them then when the economy finally picks up in a few years (and im sure it will) there will be more consoles available for everyone.

    Secondly the controller simply streams content direct from the Main Unit, it does none of the processing itself. That means no CPU or GPU are necessary on the controller, just a Wifi like transmitter and a screen. All the processing is done on the Main Unit. If you think of it that way the controller wont be as heavy as it looks and initial responses from people who have held it are favourable.

    When the Wii came out with sub HD graphics you people complained, now its 1080p graphics more excuses to complain. Theres no pleasing you

    The controller gives players and developers all the control methods that they could hope for and adds a touch screen, simple but brilliant. Games that before would not make it to the Wii now thanks to the controller have no reason to be ported or made for the Wii U. The Graphics are there, the controls are too. Developers seem to be on board all the way, The Wii brand is still strong and if the Online experience is there also the Wii U will be a winner.

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