THQ Tries To Clear Up Comments That The Wii U “Has A Horrible, Slow CPU”

THQ Tries To Clear Up Comments That The Wii U  “Has A Horrible, Slow CPU”
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Oles Shishkovtsov, from Metro developers 4A Games, delivered a short-but-interesting verdict on Nintendo’s new console recently when he said “[The] Wii U has a horrible, slow CPU.”

4A & THQ PR man Huw Beynon (THQ being the publisher of 4A’s Metro: Last Light) elaborated a little more at the time, but in the wake of reaction to Shishkovtsov’s comments has come out and tried to elaborate a whole lot more.

“I think there was one comment made by Oles the programmer – the guy who built the engine,” he told Eurogamer.

“It’s a very CPU intensive game. I think it’s been verified by plenty of other sources, including your own Digital Foundry guys, that the CPU on Wii U on the face of it isn’t as fast as some of the other consoles out there. Lots of developers are finding ways to get around that because of other interesting parts of the platform.”

“I think that what frustrates me about the way the story’s been spun out is that there’s been no opportunity to say, ‘Well, yes, on that one individual piece maybe it’s not as… maybe his opinion is that it’s not as easy for the way that the 4A engine’s been built as is the others.”

Beynon then says the game could have been ported to iPad if Metro had wanted, but that every version stretches the small developer’s resources, which are pushed pretty far as it is with three versions of Metro: Last Light planned.

In the wake of Shishkovtsov’s comments, however, another developer – Gustav Halling, from Battlefield developers DICE – has come out and said he’s been hearing much the same thing, writing on Twitter:

None of which is necessarily a problem for consumers. Halling himself later says what Wii U owners will already know, that the console will get plenty of great games from Nintendo, but as a third-party developer who’s about to start making games for a new generation of consoles, you can perhaps understand his (and Shishkovtsov’s) frustration.

THQ clarifies Wii U “horrible, slow” CPU claim, but developer concern remains [Eurogamer]


    • Pretty sure it will. Nintendo has an uphill battle with 3rd party peeps. No doubt it will sell shitloads, but will be a paperweight in a years time…

      • There’s no question the support from 3 red party will drop when xbox3 ps4 come out, Wii u is weaker hardware which means more limitations/annoyance to develop for (GameCube was on par with Xbox/ps2 hardware and had much better games as a result).

  • Firstly, where has the word “PS360” been all my life?

    Secondly, was anyone *actually* surprised the Wii U has meh specs? Really? Or is the media (eg Kotaku) just beating it up for news stories? Because I certainly didn’t expect it to be a supercomputer, and I can’t imagine why anyone else would…

    Lastly, frankly, unless you’re the sort of person to pop a boner over individual drops of sweat running down an NPC’s face, the graphics of this gen are “good enough” for 99% of people anyway. Glorious PC Master Race circle-jerkers are a vocal minority. The mainstream doesn’t give a rats arse…

    • If people working on games for the 360 or PS3 are finding it slow then it might be a problem. No one is expecting it to keep up with other next green consoles, but you’d hope it could hold its own against the current crop.

    • Hey dont diss us PC gamers! Its PC’s that is at the forefront of graphics technology. The improvements that PC hardware makes today will power the consoles of tomorrow (basically).

      Anyway your right in one regard, power isnt that important to the mainstream market so having the most powerful console wont win you any console wars. Also i dont see sony trying to go Uberconsole again considering its current poor financial state, so that leaves microsoft, will it try for another uberconsole (and risk 10 year lifecycles and high launch price and billion dollar losses for the first few years) or will it follow what sony is likely to do, bring out a console that will be powerful then the Wii U (not Wii to ps3/360 powerful)?

  • Being a PC gamer does not make me (or anyone) a jerk or the master race.

    CPU is used for things like AI, Physics and how many both NPC and Co-OP players there are on screen. So yes in some ways current gen graphics are good enough but that is not the point being made about the CPU.
    Games like Assassin’s Creed 3 can’t handle the amount of troops and draw distance as it is on PS3 and 360 so hardware is keeping them back NOT just on graphics front but on a scale of the world type of front as evident by recent releases.
    When the PS4 and new Xbox release developers will use that extra CPU power and RAM for things that improve there game not just the graphics, for eg BF4 (or5) will have 64 players like PC rather than 32 on the massive maps.
    The articles point was that when devs research this new machine they may decide making a scaled down version on the WiiU is not worth it and not bother. If that happens we have a repeat of the Wii’s failure. Huge console sales no software sales outside a few first party games and hence 3rd party not bothering and more importantly alot of gamers will stick to PC, PS or Xbox and not have the WiiU.
    I have a Wii that does not get used and alot of gamers also bought one on the hype to never use it years later. I won’t make that mistake again and others wont either.

    I am a PC gamer and I don’t like being looked down to as a graphics whore and I am sure others don’t either.

  • I loved Nintendo, I’m getting this console day 1. But I would of been happy to pay extra for a better CPU its a big deal to have a game like darksiders 2 take twice as long as the 360 version. And because of that things aren’t included (like trees and such).

  • Slow CPU is a problem because most modern code architectures are dependent on faster CPUs. A video game’s code base can grow to the size of a million lines of code or more, and supporting 1,000,000 lines of code when putting anything new in will break something else due to old fashioned architecture is a giant developmental headache. The new code architectures alleviate some of the problems with this, but they are developed with the assumption that the CPU power of devices will continue to improve over time. A relatively slow CPU isn’t going to make it impossible to develop a game for a platform, as the relatively slow CPUs are lightning fast compared to the fast CPUs of yesteryear, but it will mean that teams will be forced to use outdated code architecture that is extremely difficult to support and is a massive bottleneck in development, or face bottlenecks in performance by using newer architectures that will limit the complexity and depth of the game they can build.

    Basically given all the advancement in recent years in game programming has been dependent upon CPU speed, a substandard CPU is a liability. (Describing game programming as something different from graphics/physics/network programming).


    What Nintendo can do to fix this without recalling every console and scrapping the console and bringing out a console with a faster CPU :

    They need to release programming guidelines that describe the performance problems of utilizing: (I’m assuming the floating point/integer instruction speed is fast here)
    – Memory Allocations
    – Math functions, i.e. cosine, sine, sqrt
    – Memory access
    – Any sort of read buffer ( for input/other )
    – Any sort of output buffer ( i.e. instructions to the graphics card )
    With details on how the developers can reduce as much CPU stall or overhead in these areas.

    What this means for developers:
    They’re going to have to take this information, and change their architecture (different form of architecture than above) so that if they are developing cross platform for the wii u, the use of memory allocation, or math functions and even the memory layout of objects in RAM is inline with what’s the best performance case for the Wii U. This will help deal with the lower CPU power, but it means more code that can break, needs to be supported, basically a developmental headache for the programmers.

    So yeah, this can be salvaged to a point, but it depends on Nintendo supporting 3rd parties with extensive information on how they can extract as much power from the device as possible, in a fashion that isn’t going to reduce quality/performance on other platforms the game needs to run on. I doubt that games won’t be ported to the wii u given the difficulties, but the cost of developing a game is clearly not going to be reduced any for the next generation of consoles. Looking forward to 6 more years of console developers being closed down because the publishers have to do it stay competitive thanks to the high cost of console development.

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