When Nintendo launched the Wii, it didn't feature the latest graphics, but became a runaway success thanks to its then-novel controller. Now in the era of Kinect, the company prepares the new Wii U to replace its aging console without such an advantage -- and it appears to be delivering another underpowered system.
Developers have expressed disappointment with the Wii U's hardware, saying it can't even match the graphics firepower of the Xbox 360 and PS3. Given that those consoles are a bit long in the tooth, too, the fact that Nintendo couldn't surpass them is a bit puzzling, to say the least. As Hot Hardware points out, the IBM Power CPU and the Radeon 4000-based graphics rumored to be in the Wii U should be able to match the existing systems' performance.
To add insult to injury, it appears that the Wii U's biggest potential selling point -- a touchscreen controller -- has its own limitations. Supposedly the new console can only handle input from a solitary touchscreen controller, so you can't have multiple players using multiple touchscreens.
The Wii U's best advantage might be timing. It could launch just in time for the holiday shopping season, and the novelty of a next-generation console could power sales until Microsoft or Sony gets its act together and releases its own new hardware. In the case of Microsoft, it's looking more likely that the Xbox "Durango" won't reach store shelves until the end of 2013.
Nintendo has emphasized game play and simplicity over high-def graphics in the past, and it seems like it will need to roll out that reasoning again with the Wii U. Are you interested in the new Nintendo console, given its potentially less-than-exciting hardware gains? Let us know in the comments below.