If you were expecting the Wii U to be a graphical upgrade from what you are currently playing on your PS3 or Xbox 360, prepare for a bit of a disappointment. Website Gamesindustry.biz has been speaking to several developers who wished to remain anonymous, and they have pretty much all confirmed the system is graphically less powerful than the current gen.
I guess we all knew based on the hardware components selected that we wouldn’t see a major leap, with the tech specs similar to a medium range gaming PC of two or three years ago. At the very least we did expect to see some graphical improvements though, which was borne out to a degree by some of the demos shown at last years E3. One source in particular mentioned in response to discussion the graphical capability wasn’t up to PS3 standard; “Yeah, that’s true. It doesn’t produce graphics as well as the PS3 or the 360. 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.”
Of course price has always been a major factor for Nintendo, and all the focus on the tablet controller which will probably be fairly expensive may well have impacted the graphical tech under the hood. Another source said; “The whole thing about the tablet controller is that you only get one of them, and you can only use one and it’s not completely independent. The base console has to be on, and you have to be in range.” The source also confirmed that existing Wii peripherals would be used, saying; “Other controllers are just Wiimotes, or other Wii controllers. They may change the form factor or looks a bit, but it’s the same controller.”
In good news for PlayStation gamers however, the source did mention that developers believed that the PS3/Vita combination could do everything the Wii U can do, and more besides. If they can find a way of eliminating lag on remote play and improve the streaming quality then Wii U has really lost an important edge.
Has this put anyone off buying a Wii U, or do graphics just not bother you as much as playing Mario, Metroid or Zelda in HD? In my opinion Nintendo consoles will always be must buy for those franchises mentioned above, but it seems the next-gen will be similar to this one, in that the Wii U might not be focused on hardcore gamers and will yet again cater heavily the casual market.