Why Wii, why? Developers say Wii U is less powerful than Xbox 360, PS3

Why Wii, why? Developers say Wii U is less powerful than Xbox 360, PS3

Summary: Developers have expressed disappointment with the next-generation Wii's hardware, saying it can’t even match the graphics firepower of the Xbox 360 and PS3.


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.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Microsoft

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  • No...

    But then, I'm also not going to buy Sony's or MS's next consoles if they try to lock out used games.
    • Lock out used games?

      I never heard of that.
      William Farrel
      • It's been widely reported

        On just about every major gaming news site. They're said to force you to link the game to a single PSN account (or something similar) so that you can't play them used, or have to pay some sort of reactivation fee to do so.
      • It's the latest rumor

        Nobody knows how they would do it, but they're willing to spread it further. It hasn't been commented on by Microsoft at all. Like I said, though, that won't stop people from repeating the same rumor from the same anonymous source.
        Michael Alan Goff
  • Nothing special

    I only bought the Wii because we figured our kids would like the motion based games. Once Kinect came out, we gave the Wii to my parents had haven't looked back. From what has been shown there's nothing compelling us to buy the Wii U.
    • kinect vs move

      i did the same, bought kinect for my kids but it left us all frustrated due to lack of precision and available good games. Since we have ps3 move, we havent even touched kinect. it is sooo much more enjoyable to play tennis game and hold in your hand actual tennis racket... we didnt like the fact we have to pretend we hold something. And precision with Move is out of this world!!! As the matter of fact, with PS Eye you can play similar games as Kinect, camera tracks your movement and you can jump and do whatever you want. And this tech is already with Sony since 2005 if not even earlier.
      • Riiiiiiiight

        Kinect lacks precision? It is obvious you have naver actually used it as you claim.
      • Obviously you haven't used the Move.

        It's ridiculously accurate, as stated. The few Kinect games I've played have a small lag before input is issued.
      • Then hold something in your hand.

        and by the way, we've used both - Sony is worse then Kinect as you need all those attachments, and it's not quite that accurate as you claim.

        My nephew hasn't touched his PS since getting the Kinect for XBox.
        William Farrel
      • I have neither

        But it's well known that Move is pretty damn accurate and kinect is not. However neither has very good games, so still the best motion gaming experience on the market is Wii. Hate to burst your bubble
      • @captainamerica50

        "It's well known"?


        Why not just come out and say "Several people told me, and I'm going to spew whatever crap I hear"?
        Michael Alan Goff
  • No

    Given it's lack of hardware power I am unwilling to shell out for a Wii U, it seems as if Nintendo is still stuck making toys in comparison to the other console developers.
    In fact, given current hardware (and potential used game lockout) rumors around MS and Sony's upcoming consoles I wouldn't even buy them unless they really provide value for money like the 360 or PS3 did.
    I think for now I'll stick to my PC even if game DRM annoy me no end.
  • The Wii U can technically handle more than 1 touchscreen controller

    It's just not going to be supported by first party games due to the high cost of the controller. As a third party developer, you should still be able to do it though.
  • YES and YES

    So a dozen developers (with names) say how amazing the console is and two unnamed developers say it's bad and the net is filled with stories of how weak the wii u will be?

    No one really knows the specs of the wii-u so this is all rumors until Nintendo says otherwise. The xbox 360 came out in 2005 touting at best 2004 technology. We are sitting here in 2012 and we are claiming the 2012 wii u will feature tech that is 7 years old? Nintendo has stated they are targeting hardcore gamers and third part developers like never before with this new console, and yet the media wants all of us to believe it won't even compare to 7 year old tech?

    Lets apply some common sense here... Nintendo has always been on par tech wise save the Wii. hardcore gamers will not be buying a system featuring obsolete tech, 3rd party developers will not develop for a system with any effort with 7 year old tech. So wouldn't this go against everything Nintendo has said?

    I can't say for sure the Wii-U will be weaker than the 360 or PS3, but it seems like a silly idea, and from a company that saved the video game industry back in 1985, damn near insulting to suggest.

    Remember my guess... Wii-u will be based off of 2010 - 2011 tech and on a simple scale run 60 to 70% more powerful than current gen.

    • No

      "Nintendo has always been on par tech wise save the Wii."

      Actually, Nintendo has pretty much always been the least powerful system on the market for all of its consoles and games...

      The NES was (technically) inferior to the Sega Master System

      The original Gameboy was (technically) inferior to the Sega Game Gear

      The SNES was (technically) inferior to both the Sega Genesis and the (vastly underappreciated at the time) NEC Turbo Grafx 16

      The Nintendo 64 was (technically) inferior to the Playstation and the Sega Saturn

      The GameCube was inferior to the Playstation 2 and the original X Box

      Nintendo has pretty much NEVER offered the most advanced technology on the market, indeed they have a reputation for sticking with obsolete technology for much longer than necessary, which is why they were the last game company to switch from cartridges to CD's and were the last console to offer online gaming.....Nintendo has never emphasize technical power, preferring to emphasize superior game play and innovative control schemes...it's always been the case that Nintendo consoles were underpowered compared to the competition.
      Doctor Demento
      • Wrong

        Actually The N64 was superior to Playstation and Saturn (except for the use of cartridges, and it was released later). The Gamecube was superior to PS2 but inferior to Xbox. NES was inferior to Master System, but Master System was released two years after NES. However, you are right in that they do prefer experience to raw power, they power the console to get what they want done right.
      • @sonicfan1373

        "they prefer experience to raw power, they power the console to get what they want done right"

        You obviously never used a Power Glove
  • It's now over...

    With its utterly complex controller, desperatly trying to innovate and pull a rabbit like they did once with the Wiimote, Nintendo is now showing signs of exhaustion.
    Another underpowered box and more disapointed developers is a near repeat of the ill-fated GameCube. Also, the incredible pressure from Sony, Apple and Android on the mobile gaming is starting to hurt.

    It's sad but Nintendo is going the Sega way. And sooner than many would think.
    • I made an account...

      just to tell you how dumb you are. Nintendo is vastly more profitable than the gaming division of Microsoft or Sony, and operate at losses as big as it did this year for the next 50 years without going bust on the stockpile of cash it made off Wii and DS. The controller for Wii U looks amazing and plenty of Devs (not anons paid off by the competition) have said Wii U is more powerful than the current gen. The 3DS sold faster in its first year than even the DS (which is the best selling console of all time). On top of that Nintendo owns the most valuable (by far) IPs in gaming, namely Mario and Pokemon so they aren't going anywhere anytime soon. When Microsoft and/or Sony have bowed out of the dedicated gaming hardware race, Nintendo will be going strong.
      • Not Just

        Not just Mario and Pokeman but also Zelda, Metroid, Starfox, Punch Out! and several other franchises....with these characters Nintendo's future is set, worst case scenario, they do like Sega and focus on software, and they would still be the most profitable gaming company in the world by a country mile
        Doctor Demento