Rumor: Wii U less powerful than Xbox 360 and PS3?

The Wii U was first announced at E3 in June 2011. However, Nintendo has been keeping quiet about the exact hardware specs inside their next generation game console. Now a new report from Gamesindustry International claims that the graphical capabilities of the Wii U might not even reach those of the current generation of game consoles from Microsoft and Sony.

The report quotes two unnamed game developers who have been working on titles that will be released for the Wii U. One of them is quoted as saying, "No, it's not up to the same level as the PS3 or the 360. The graphics are just not as powerful." The other developer had similar views, saying:

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.

The big change in terms of the Wii U's hardware, in comparison to the current Wii console, is the tablet controller which has a large LCD screen in the center. There's speculation that Nintendo, in order to keep the cost of the Wii U as low as possible, has decided to limit the console's hardware specs so that the price can also support the tablet controller.

However, the unnamed game developers on the Wii U point out the limitations of the tablet controller. One of them states, "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."

Nintendo is expected to reveal much more information about the Wii U at E3 2012 in June. The console is expected to be released sometime in late 2012.

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45 Comments

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dotf said,
Time for Nintendo to follow Sega's lead.

they aren't even close to dead. I also wouldn't call their last console a flop.

i call BS...they've already said they'll allow more than one of the "tablet" controllers at once...so if that part of the article is wrong why am i going to buy the other part?

Either way I just don't see Wii U catching on to the same extent as Wii. The novelty of the controller has worn off and Grandma and Grandpa won't be buying another console.

I see it the same way. On top of this, the old Wii was good at the casual multiplayer gaming.
The Wii U has this tablet controller, and only one. No multiplayer. I think it might have a hard time to establish itself.
But then, the same prognoses were given for the old Wii before it got released.
(I think Paul Thurott still falls to the floor, kicking with his feet and yelling "The Wii is a failure" if the topic comes up)

[quote=dodgetigger said,]I see it the same way. On top of this, the old Wii was good at the casual multiplayer gaming.
The Wii U has this tablet controller, and only one. No multiplayer. I think it might have a hard time to establish itself.
quote]

The WiiU is designed to use the standard Wii Remote Plus & Nunchuck combo, and classic controller alongside this new tablet style thing. You can have upto 5 person multiplayer on one console.

Gotenks98 said,
Wii Pad is epic phail out of the box just like psp go and vita. Sigh...I had high hopes for this console.

Chill, dude, it's just a rumor by some people look like their talking out of their a**.

Daniel_Pooh said,
Who cares as long as it has Mario?

exactly, id only buy a wii for those amazing games I grew up with. Mario, Zelda, Super smash bros, Mario party.

Thats the only reason. Its not *enough* of a reason though. If I had to choose between 3 consoles at the same time in 2013, I would choose the new xbox. Hands down.

Chica Ami said,
Wii U is just a updated version of Wii. =D

The only thing that is different from Wii is the controller. Everything else is the same.

We really need some kind of universal Internet sarcasm tag

BumbleBritches57 said,
Quality is directly related to power.

And yet, you can still excel with remarkable quality even if you don't have power. Just ask Nintendo's first party titles

MrXXIV said,

That pretty much counts as the same thing.


When it comes to consoles, a console's quality also depends on the games for it. You can have the best graphics in the world, but what's the point if the games aren't fun? You might as well buy a PC...

~Johnny said,

And yet, you can still excel with remarkable quality even if you don't have power. Just ask Nintendo's first party titles

Agreed, but put those first party titles on a 360, PC or PS3 with amped up graphics and the game is not only fantastic but is even more visually engaging.

This goes directly against what the Darksider 2 developers have said - and their statements AREN'T unsubstantiated rumors either, unlike these.

One of them states, "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."

Has been known since the machine was first announced - whatever source they got wasn't telling them anything new, and probably has never seen a WiiU either

Edited by ~Johnny, Apr 3 2012, 10:04pm :

I thought that the retail unit would allow two controllers but that they just hadn't included this functionality in time for the demo.

i'm calling BS on this, the 360/ps3 came out around 6yrs ago, there's no way nintendo would release a console that can't atleast match those specs. MS has a single chip in their console. Nintendo could easily pay AMD to make the same chip but slightly better which would cost relatively little in R&D for AMD. I just don't buy this story at all.

torrentthief said,
i'm calling BS on this, the 360/ps3 came out around 6yrs ago, there's no way nintendo would release a console that can't atleast match those specs. MS has a single chip in their console. Nintendo could easily pay AMD to make the same chip but slightly better which would cost relatively little in R&D for AMD. I just don't buy this story at all.

And how old was the first XBOX when they released the Wii? Because the Wii couldn't even really compete specs wise with that console.

Answer: 5 years (2001-2006).

So it's not unprecedented. Nintendo will push the tablet controller as the real innovation (ignoring the graphical weakness) just as they pushed the motion control when they released the similarly weak Wii, which is an overclocked GameCube.

DJGM said,
If these rumours were true, it'd make the Wii U technically obsolete before it's even released.

The Wii would like to have a word with you.

DJGM said,
If these rumours were true, it'd make the Wii U technically obsolete before it's even released.

The original Wii had specs so weak that it could technically be emulated flawlessly on a PC since release.
I don't think there's any other console which has been emulated so fast.
Weak hardware obviously doesn't affect sales as Wii is the best selling, even when taking its price in to consideration.

Sacha said,

The original Wii had specs so weak that it could technically be emulated flawlessly on a PC since release.


Early builds of the Dolphin emulator were definitely not flawless...

boobless said,
"The graphics are just not as powerful.

What kind of developer talks like that?
haha

Toys will do that.. But what way do you put in the AA batteries ..

If true, I just changed my mind about possibly giving them a try. I have never owned a Wii but have both 360 & PS3. I was actually considering it based on other rumours but now have major doubts. I'll just wait for the reveal and see then how it's really gonna be.

dogmai79 said,
If true, I just changed my mind about possibly giving them a try. I have never owned a Wii but have both 360 & PS3. I was actually considering it based on other rumours but now have major doubts. I'll just wait for the reveal and see then how it's really gonna be.

I highly doubt the Wii U will have decent graphics. Even if it does catch up to the 360/PS3, the next generation Xbox and Playstation will be released soon, meaning that the Wii U still won't be able to play current generation games.

I have unnamed sources saying that the Wii U is at least 25x more powerful than the Xbox 360 and PS3. Oh, and the PS4 uses an x86-64 processor...

Seriously, when most named developers are in awe of the power of the Wii U, I see these "insiders" as bogus.

Also, I laugh at the comment "there aren't enough shaders." Anyone who has done modern graphics programming (e.g., OpenGL/DirectX) will know how absolutely asinine that statement is.

Veiva said,
I have unnamed sources saying that the Wii U is at least 25x more powerful than the Xbox 360 and PS3. Oh, and the PS4 uses an x86-64 processor...

Seriously, when most named developers are in awe of the power of the Wii U, I see these "insiders" as bogus.

Also, I laugh at the comment "there aren't enough shaders." Anyone who has done modern graphics programming (e.g., OpenGL/DirectX) will know how absolutely asinine that statement is.

Well, how about you bring that hidden "knowledge" to the forefront for us non programmers, you know, the other 99%

I don't have to do anything, especially with you being so rude... but regardless...

Saying there's not enough shaders is like saying there's not enough code or enough programs. Does that make sense now? Shaders are just specialized programs that execute on a graphics card...

Veiva said,
Saying there's not enough shaders is like saying there's not enough code or enough programs. Does that make sense now? Shaders are just specialized programs that execute on a graphics card...

The developer in question could be talking about a number of things, and likely "dumbed" it down in his comment. It's easier to say "it doesn't have enough Y" than to explain exactly what Y is and how it negatively affects the system.

He probably meant one of the following:

1. There aren't as many shader pipelines, meaning fewer shaders can be processed simultaneously.
-or-
2. There aren't as many API-provided, or native hardware inbuilt shaders (so there are actually fewer "programs" available)... maybe Nintendo doesn't even allow custom shaders... who knows?
-or-
3. Shader use is limited in some way, because Nintendo's implementation of GLSL is incomplete.

Either way, until the system is released (or more people get dev kits) we won't know for sure.

Veiva said,
I don't have to do anything, especially with you being so rude... but regardless...

Also, one person's apparent "rudeness" is no excuse for being rude yourself.

cyberdrone2000 said,

Also, one person's apparent "rudeness" is no excuse for being rude yourself.

Also remember a case of Ocean Madness is no excuse for Ocean Rudeness.

cyberdrone2000 said,

The developer in question could be talking about a number of things, and likely "dumbed" it down in his comment. It's easier to say "it doesn't have enough Y" than to explain exactly what Y is and how it negatively affects the system.

He probably meant one of the following:

1. There aren't as many shader pipelines, meaning fewer shaders can be processed simultaneously.
-or-
2. There aren't as many API-provided, or native hardware inbuilt shaders (so there are actually fewer "programs" available)... maybe Nintendo doesn't even allow custom shaders... who knows?
-or-
3. Shader use is limited in some way, because Nintendo's implementation of GLSL is incomplete.

Either way, until the system is released (or more people get dev kits) we won't know for sure.


Also, one person's apparent "rudeness" is no excuse for being rude yourself.

I would first like to say I wasn't rude. I did not intend to come across that way if that's what it seems.

As far as your points, what do you mean there aren't "as many API provided?" Shading is a simple business as far as the API goes, so I fail to see how Nintendo could screw up the API. Also, in any modern programmable pipeline, there are no "native inbuilt shaders." The fixed-function pipeline is not only deprecated, but emulated on modern graphics cards. If the Wii U is "more powerful" than modern consoles, there is no doubt they used a programmable pipeline; this is especially true if it's based on the R770 from AMD as the more substantial and credible rumors hold.

Furthermore, I don't mean to nitpick, but no console uses GLSL. The Xbox uses a specialized form of HLSL; the PS3 may use a pseudo-GLSL but most devs use the proprietary API; and the Wii, well, doesn't have a programmable pipeline.

Agreed that until the system specs are detailed in some manner, no one will know for sure.