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Reggie Fils-Aime doesn't see a problem with it, insisting that Wii U games will look similar when it launches

Yesterday proved to be an exciting time for Nintendo as it announced the Wii's successor, Wii U, at its press conference at E3. While the improved system specs and tablet-like controller seemed to have won many Nintendo fans over, the game footage looked like nothing the video game company has ever made before, and that's because it wasn't Nintendo footage at all

Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, admitted that some game footage at Nintendo's E3 press conference was taken from Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games. 

Why did Nintendo think this would be appropriate, you ask? Fils-Aime insists that Wii U games will be "comparable" to the graphics and game play of Xbox 360 and PS3 games once it releases. 

"We're talking a year away from when the system's going to launch," said Fils-Aime. "The system's going to be 1080p. You're going to see games that take full advantage of a system that has the latest technology and can push out some incredible graphics."

The game footage shown at Nintendo's press conference was from Xbox 360 and PS3 games like "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Online," "Madden Football" and "Assassin's Creed 2."

Nintendo Wii, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 are all part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. The Xbox 360 launched in 2005 while the Wii and PS3 were later released in 2006. Competition amongst the three consoles is pretty stiff as new game, hardware, and online networks are introduced in order to offer a better gaming experience. 

Sony and Microsoft's recent E3 briefings have brought news on a new portable PlayStation Vita, and Kinect-compatible games as well as voice recognition features. But out of the three competitors, Nintendo is the only one releasing a brand-new home console. 

Wii U will feature 1080p high-definition graphics over HDMI, an IBM Power-based multi-core processor, four USB 2.0 ports, and a built-in Secure Digital slot. The controller will feature an integrated 6.2" color LCD screen, two analog pads, a cross control pad, L/R buttons, A/B/X/Y buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. It will initially be featured in white, and will be released in 2012.

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RE: Nintendo
By epobirs on 6/9/2011 8:02:10 AM , Rating: 2
I completely agree with this, when did gaming become more about what the game looks like than how it plays?

I think it was around 1975 or thereabouts. The first time someone produced a Pong knock-off with more attractive graphics than Pong, it got more interest.

Graphics capability has ALWAYS mattered. It isn't the sole make or break of games but it is a huge part of it. It sets the bar higher and makes everyone work harder to do more with the older hardware. I saw this when I was at a game developer in the late 80s. The primary platform was the Amiga but the big money maker was the Commodore 64. This was due to much larger installed base of the C64 but the Amiga was what was driving new creativity in the market and pushing C64 developers to perfect new and better optimizations. Consequently, the C64 delivered a lot more than it likely would have without that challenge to meet.

Whole genres depend on advances in graphics functionality. Take snow boarding games, for example. There had been attempts at capturing downhill skiing since the beginning but until the mid-90s generation of consoles there wasn't the right level of graphic capability to really create the appearance of hurtling down a steep slope and draw the player into the game. Since then, increasing power has meant not just better visuals but more complex interaction with those elements.

The Wii U is not likely to greatly raise the bar on graphics but it will at least draw even with the current competing consoles and not suffer too severe of a gap when Sony and Microsoft introduce their next generations. Unlike the Amiga/C64 days, publishers are far less inclined to produce a game for a weaker console unless they can come up with something unique to that version. Such ideas have been hard to find on the Wii and so sales have declined. Worse, some of the biggest sellers on the system don't rely on the Wii controllers and are easily duplicated on other platforms, much like how the bargain priced Ty the Tasmanian Tiger series closely followed the gameplay of the Jak & Daxter series.

Another benefit of more horsepower is making things accessible to developers on lesser budgets. A company like Square can spend tens of millions squeezing the most out of a machine but companies making less mainstream projects cannot come close to such expenditures for the revenues they can expect. Consider the progression of the Final Fantasy series on the PS1, then look at how the PS2 let anyone get similar results with far lesser investment. Things got that much better for everybody, developer and consumer alike.

It may be that Microsoft won't make as big a leap in their next generation either. It seems likely they'll want to make Kinect a standard part of the next Xbox and that will eat up a good chunk of the price tag, meaning either a higher launch price or a lesser chunk of the budget for the CPU, GPU, RAM, etc.

Personally, I wouldn't mind a more diverse set of console choices but it's a mixed bag for developers. The cost of each version increases but the difference can also improve the chances of selling more than one SKU to the same customer. Not every game lends itself to such variation. If such choices were easy, everybody would be a game publisher.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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