Wii U: Graphics importance and change of heart

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One thing which Nintendo has promised from its next-gen console, the Nintendo Wii U, is that the graphics will be far superior to the original Wii and in fact output at 1080p thanks to an AMD Radeon GPU – however over the years Nintendo has concentrated more on gameplay rather than graphics, today we will look into whether Nintendo has had a change of heart.

Lately we have seen motion controllers grow in popularity and it would be fair to say that both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have started to attract Nintendo Wii consumers who have got bored of the ageing console – obviously people love Nintendo’s exclusive titles, however most people have large HDTVs which really show the poor resolution which Wii games output at – is this why Nintendo has decided to up their game?

Obviously Nintendo’s next-gen console was always going to be better in terms of visuals than the original Wii, however the Nintendo Wii U graphics demo shown at E3 2011 really showed that this console’s graphical prowess is on par, if not more impressive than the Xbox 360 and PS3 (you can see this video at the end of this post) – this is the first-time in years Nintendo has released a console which will boast visuals up-there with the most impressive consoles on the market – but could this be its undoing?

If you check out the video below you will see that it will be a close race between the Wii U, PS3 and Xbox 360 in terms of graphics – however we have to remember that this is Nintendo’s next-gen offering and the PS3 and Xbox 360 have been available for almost 5 years – what we are trying to say is that the next-gen Sony and Microsoft consoles should wipe the floor with the Wii U in terms of graphics, but we could be waiting a few years before the PS4 and Xbox 720 arrive.

We think that there are lots of factors which will determine the success of the Nintendo Wii U, we think that by giving it great graphics the console will appeal to some hardcore gamers, however Nintendo has to remember that gameplay is what has given its consoles and games success in the past – surely this should be what the console’s manufacturers and developers have to concentrate on the most.

We love hearing feedback from our readers regarding Nintendo Wii U graphics, will less impressive visuals than the PS3 / Xbox 360 put you off? Or are you paying more attention to titles and gameplay? Let us know below.

Also See: New PS4 update with DLNA support

  • Classified

    wii u great graphics bahahhaha wait oh bahhahahhahahahaha

    • Sshondo

      Look guys I’ve bee a dedicated Nintendo fan since 85, even though they been slowly lacking in the graphical department. But now I gotta stress that I’m tired of playing low res games on my hd tv. I mean I recently started playing twilight princess on my Wii and I think the graphics are horrid. I was hoping that they would be as good as that spaceworld show when the gamecube debuted , showing Gannon and link fighting. They weren’t even as good as that demo, far from it!!! See I have a ps3 and 360, I’m a gamer,, n always have been but the lack of up to date graphics and dated surround sound have left my Wii collecting dust for a while. Nintendo better step it up or I will not be buying a Wii U.

      • Tony

        Twilight princess is 5 years old what do you want? You tell an old lady she’s no longer hot? Some of the early xbox 360 games look lime sh#t compared to one now. Did you have fun playing it? How was the music? What about the story and character interactions? I hope the next generation is about actual games and not movies with tacked on analog support.

  • Little Jimmy

    A lot of gamers are convincing themselves that the next generation PlayStation and Xbox are going to be light years ahead of the Wii U’s graphics. But realistically, this cannot be the case.

    Look over the past few generations of video game consoles and you’ll notice that there have been leaps and bounds made between them. For example, 2D sidescrolling to 3D environments, huge increase in on-screen colours, SD resolution to HD and so on.

    But to a certain extent, graphics are reaching their limit at the moment. The only difference between a game on PS3 right now and a game on the best PC is a higher resolution and sharper image, a few more polygons on the screen and slightly more detailed textures.

    What I’m trying to say is, advancements in graphics technology in consoles won’t be anywhere near has huge as we’ve noticed in previous years, and in fact you very like won’t be able to see much of a difference between Wii U graphics and the next PlayStation or Xbox.

    I just cant understand what sort of graphic quality people are expecting if they’re thinking its going to be hugely better than Wii U. The answer – unrealistic levels of graphical detail. Nobody will release game console hardware that costs as much as a PC.

    Besides, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this current generation of video games, it is that graphical detail means absolutely nothing when it comes to the quality of a game. It makes me very sad as a lifelong gamer to see people that accept the tripe that the gaming industry churns out these days as the norm. 

    But I feel theres a new generation of gamers now that care very little about the quality of the gameplay and just want as much eye candy on screen as is technologically possible, and to hell with whether the game itself is satisfying to play.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugenio.galdon Uge Galdon

    testing

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugenio.galdon Uge Galdon

    I don’t know. The wii stands out from other gaming products for being a social/have fun now thing… Of course you don’t have the same graphs of other gaming products but the fun was never in the graphs but in the social interactions (playing with friends, with family….). It is always better to have improved graphs but not a must for the wii.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugenio.galdon Uge Galdon

    I don’t know. The wii stands out from other gaming products for being a social/have fun now thing… Of course you don’t have the same graphs of other gaming products but the fun was never in the graphs but in the social interactions (playing with friends, with family….). It is always better to have improved graphs but not a must for the wii.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugenio.galdon Uge Galdon

    I don’t know. The wii stands out from other gaming products for being a social/have fun now thing… Of course you don’t have the same graphs of other gaming products but the fun was never in the graphs but in the social interactions (playing with friends, with family….). It is always better to have improved graphs but not a must for the wii.

  • Anonymous

    Just how are the “next-gen” going to leapfrog the Wii U on graphics? Slightly better graphics hyped to seem like a great leap forward?

    The whole graphics hype is mostly down to journalists, game engine developers and P.C. gamers. Most other gamers don’t know, or they don’t care, that they are playing the majority of their games at 720p not 1080p and few games really push the PS3 at all.

    We have seen many articles worrying about the cost of the Wii U, what will be the cost of consoles that effectively leapfrog that machines tech? At a time when developers are thinking of console sales when developing a game for P.C.’s and world economies are in a fragile state, are Sony and Ms likely to take another big risk on monster machines that are bound to be quite expensive?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2UP5BX2IOYO24RA6GMLHENP3QI amn k

    Of course the tech must advance in this new console and hence better graphics are to be expected. The Wii U’s graphics are beyond the Xbox 360 and PS3 which is to be expected because this is a newer console. In terms of graphics technology, we have not made too much advancement since the PS3 and Xbox 360 a lot of the recent graphics chip sets are focusing more on doing computing on on the graphics card, the focus on graphics quality has slumped down in the recent times. In fact, from 2009 to now the only new graphical advancement that has been made is tessellation support. The Wii U (the not finalized spec) is using an RV770 card which is capable of the largest graphical changes made since the PS3 and Xbox 360. Now the RV770 is not the latest generation card but it is a card that is capable of doing all of the major graphics changes that have occurred in the past 6 years (with the exception of standard tessellation, although apparently ATI has built in some nonstandard tessellation instructions which are just not compatible with Direct X or Open GL specs, this will not matter because Nintendo uses their own APIs which means if they choose they can use the tessellation system). Now next generation Xbox and Playstation systems will most likely not see a major jump in graphics if they use the latest cards, because again there has been a lack of real graphical development on these cards but because the newer cards are built more for computing we will see things like better AI work.

    Now with all that being said, the industry has shown us again and again that your system does not need to be the most powerful in order to succeed. Of course it should be powerful enough so that you developers could easily port software on the platform. However, consoles should focus on bringing more fun innovations and quirks to their consoles and show us new ways to play, and of course it should be accompanied by proper games from the very beginning.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2UP5BX2IOYO24RA6GMLHENP3QI amn k

    Of course the tech must advance in this new console and hence better graphics are to be expected. The Wii U’s graphics are beyond the Xbox 360 and PS3 which is to be expected because this is a newer console. In terms of graphics technology, we have not made too much advancement since the PS3 and Xbox 360 a lot of the recent graphics chip sets are focusing more on doing computing on on the graphics card, the focus on graphics quality has slumped down in the recent times. In fact, from 2009 to now the only new graphical advancement that has been made is tessellation support. The Wii U (the not finalized spec) is using an RV770 card which is capable of the largest graphical changes made since the PS3 and Xbox 360. Now the RV770 is not the latest generation card but it is a card that is capable of doing all of the major graphics changes that have occurred in the past 6 years (with the exception of standard tessellation, although apparently ATI has built in some nonstandard tessellation instructions which are just not compatible with Direct X or Open GL specs, this will not matter because Nintendo uses their own APIs which means if they choose they can use the tessellation system). Now next generation Xbox and Playstation systems will most likely not see a major jump in graphics if they use the latest cards, because again there has been a lack of real graphical development on these cards but because the newer cards are built more for computing we will see things like better AI work.

    Now with all that being said, the industry has shown us again and again that your system does not need to be the most powerful in order to succeed. Of course it should be powerful enough so that you developers could easily port software on the platform. However, consoles should focus on bringing more fun innovations and quirks to their consoles and show us new ways to play, and of course it should be accompanied by proper games from the very beginning.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2UP5BX2IOYO24RA6GMLHENP3QI amn k

    Of course the tech must advance in this new console and hence better graphics are to be expected. The Wii U’s graphics are beyond the Xbox 360 and PS3 which is to be expected because this is a newer console. In terms of graphics technology, we have not made too much advancement since the PS3 and Xbox 360 a lot of the recent graphics chip sets are focusing more on doing computing on on the graphics card, the focus on graphics quality has slumped down in the recent times. In fact, from 2009 to now the only new graphical advancement that has been made is tessellation support. The Wii U (the not finalized spec) is using an RV770 card which is capable of the largest graphical changes made since the PS3 and Xbox 360. Now the RV770 is not the latest generation card but it is a card that is capable of doing all of the major graphics changes that have occurred in the past 6 years (with the exception of standard tessellation, although apparently ATI has built in some nonstandard tessellation instructions which are just not compatible with Direct X or Open GL specs, this will not matter because Nintendo uses their own APIs which means if they choose they can use the tessellation system). Now next generation Xbox and Playstation systems will most likely not see a major jump in graphics if they use the latest cards, because again there has been a lack of real graphical development on these cards but because the newer cards are built more for computing we will see things like better AI work.

    Now with all that being said, the industry has shown us again and again that your system does not need to be the most powerful in order to succeed. Of course it should be powerful enough so that you developers could easily port software on the platform. However, consoles should focus on bringing more fun innovations and quirks to their consoles and show us new ways to play, and of course it should be accompanied by proper games from the very beginning.

  • Smurfman256

    Please note that the Garden demo was made with an UNDERCLOCKED EARLY DEV KIT!!!!  WHY WON’T PEOPLE GET THAT THROUGHT THEIR THICK SKULLS??????

  • Nsnarayan10

    this is great to hear that U will be coming up with awesome graphics!but i don’t really agree with the point that it will compete with xbox360 and ps3′s graphics.its hard to assess everything by looking at trailer,lets hold our horses until it releases.hard to tell anything for now:)

    • Thequigleys

      It will.

  • Guest

    Little Jimmy,That is not even close to true, the PC is capable of WAY more than a few more polygons and better looking textures. In the upcoming battlefield 3 game, the PC is capable of fully real-time dynamic global illumination, something that the consoles are completely incapable of handling, and thus the console version will have pre-baked lighting. Many other advanced rendering techniques are not only incapable of being done on consoles, but push even the latest generation of PC GPUs (which are WAY more powerful than consoles) to the limits, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of many things we want to do yet. Recent game engines have been using really bad hacks and workarounds to get consoles to run efficiently while only actually doing a small fraction of what the PC can do, and yet still doing it at a much lower resolution (most at 720p, vs something like 1080p or higher).There are just so many ways to utilize advanced graphics power, and your comment is completely ignorant to that.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2UP5BX2IOYO24RA6GMLHENP3QI amn k

      Yes that is all true, but remember that consoles are cheaper then the latest most powerful gaming PCs.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2UP5BX2IOYO24RA6GMLHENP3QI amn k

      Yes that is all true, but remember that consoles are cheaper then the latest most powerful gaming PCs.

      • Guest

        Absolutely, I agree 100%. But my counter-statement was with regard to his statement “But to a certain extent, graphics are reaching their limit at the moment.” And asserting that it won’t (or at leats won’t NEED to) get much better, when in fact there are still many things that could easily make use of hardware 10 times as powerful.

        • http://profiles.google.com/chrissomerry Christian Meredith

          Not to mention that we’re not necessarily maxing out current hardware – there’s always tricks, both with shaders, art design, the way we render polygons etc that can be used ;) (I’m not a software engineer though so don’t hold me to that!)

    • http://twitter.com/EmmanueIa E!

      Yeah, but you have to spend at least $2000 on a PC with such graphics as opposed to a console that will sell for $300 and still be on par with $1500 gaming rigs. You’ve gotta be smart.

      PCs will always lead because you can take it apart and buy new components. Consoles, even the newest ones might have a 1 year lead over high-end PCs. But that’s it.

      One more thing: You do know that a 3 GHz multi core console will still be a LOT faster than a six core PC with the same GHz? Because the CPU and GPU are specifically designed for gaming and developers don’t have to create a game that runs on every kind of GPU so they have more time to squeeze everything out of the hardware.

  • http://www.facebook.com/astraith Allen Straith

    First, to “Guest” who posted about 10 hours ago. PC is always going to be ahead because of how the console industry works. Even now we have monitors with higher resolution then 1080p — so of course PC games can look better. Plus, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo started work on their next console five or six years ago (depending on when the old gen started for them). They can only get the bets and most economical processor and video processor at that time, while you and other PC gamers simply have to upgrade your PC rig to get the graphics you want. All at your own cost, the computer OEM doesn’t have to spend a dime on your upgrades. And most people can not tell the difference between what the PS3 does and the PC does. Even more, most developers don’t have the resources to support two different resolutions and engines. EA and Ubisoft obviously can, however smaller developers would just simply port what they can to the PC/console which is the problem currently with the Wii: the developer has to spend more resources on the Wii game then they could afford, so they didn’t. Furthermore, even big developers sometimes don’t spend the money on those extra power because not every PC gamers upgrades his or her rig. Most gamers keep their PC at what they have and MAYBE upgrade every five years, but generally when the computer breaks.

    Second, to those who think Wii U power limitations (or possible limitations) is only about graphics, its not. The CPU needs enough processing strength to power the AI, graphics and the environment. And enough power to process the movements of your character. The Wii U is very powerful but it will in 3-5 years be old and PC will once again be light years ahead.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/astraith Allen Straith

    First, to “Guest” who posted about 10 hours ago. PC is always going to be ahead because of how the console industry works. Even now we have monitors with higher resolution then 1080p — so of course PC games can look better. Plus, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo started work on their next console five or six years ago (depending on when the old gen started for them). They can only get the bets and most economical processor and video processor at that time, while you and other PC gamers simply have to upgrade your PC rig to get the graphics you want. All at your own cost, the computer OEM doesn’t have to spend a dime on your upgrades. And most people can not tell the difference between what the PS3 does and the PC does. Even more, most developers don’t have the resources to support two different resolutions and engines. EA and Ubisoft obviously can, however smaller developers would just simply port what they can to the PC/console which is the problem currently with the Wii: the developer has to spend more resources on the Wii game then they could afford, so they didn’t. Furthermore, even big developers sometimes don’t spend the money on those extra power because not every PC gamers upgrades his or her rig. Most gamers keep their PC at what they have and MAYBE upgrade every five years, but generally when the computer breaks.

    Second, to those who think Wii U power limitations (or possible limitations) is only about graphics, its not. The CPU needs enough processing strength to power the AI, graphics and the environment. And enough power to process the movements of your character. The Wii U is very powerful but it will in 3-5 years be old and PC will once again be light years ahead.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/astraith Allen Straith

    First, to “Guest” who posted about 10 hours ago. PC is always going to be ahead because of how the console industry works. Even now we have monitors with higher resolution then 1080p — so of course PC games can look better. Plus, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo started work on their next console five or six years ago (depending on when the old gen started for them). They can only get the bets and most economical processor and video processor at that time, while you and other PC gamers simply have to upgrade your PC rig to get the graphics you want. All at your own cost, the computer OEM doesn’t have to spend a dime on your upgrades. And most people can not tell the difference between what the PS3 does and the PC does. Even more, most developers don’t have the resources to support two different resolutions and engines. EA and Ubisoft obviously can, however smaller developers would just simply port what they can to the PC/console which is the problem currently with the Wii: the developer has to spend more resources on the Wii game then they could afford, so they didn’t. Furthermore, even big developers sometimes don’t spend the money on those extra power because not every PC gamers upgrades his or her rig. Most gamers keep their PC at what they have and MAYBE upgrade every five years, but generally when the computer breaks.

    Second, to those who think Wii U power limitations (or possible limitations) is only about graphics, its not. The CPU needs enough processing strength to power the AI, graphics and the environment. And enough power to process the movements of your character. The Wii U is very powerful but it will in 3-5 years be old and PC will once again be light years ahead.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/astraith Allen Straith

    First, to “Guest” who posted about 10 hours ago. PC is always going to be ahead because of how the console industry works. Even now we have monitors with higher resolution then 1080p — so of course PC games can look better. Plus, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo started work on their next console five or six years ago (depending on when the old gen started for them). They can only get the bets and most economical processor and video processor at that time, while you and other PC gamers simply have to upgrade your PC rig to get the graphics you want. All at your own cost, the computer OEM doesn’t have to spend a dime on your upgrades. And most people can not tell the difference between what the PS3 does and the PC does. Even more, most developers don’t have the resources to support two different resolutions and engines. EA and Ubisoft obviously can, however smaller developers would just simply port what they can to the PC/console which is the problem currently with the Wii: the developer has to spend more resources on the Wii game then they could afford, so they didn’t. Furthermore, even big developers sometimes don’t spend the money on those extra power because not every PC gamers upgrades his or her rig. Most gamers keep their PC at what they have and MAYBE upgrade every five years, but generally when the computer breaks.

    Second, to those who think Wii U power limitations (or possible limitations) is only about graphics, its not. The CPU needs enough processing strength to power the AI, graphics and the environment. And enough power to process the movements of your character. The Wii U is very powerful but it will in 3-5 years be old and PC will once again be light years ahead.  

  • Bioflare

    I applaud Nintendo for pushing the envelop, while also making room for HD graphics.  Will the next system be “leaps and bounds” greater than the Wii U?  Only if developers plan to render every blade of grass and leaf on a tree as a full 3D model – which I highly doubt.  Since Wii U will be using newer technology, I am sure it will stand out above the crowd.  CPU and GPU technology has improved a lot since Xbox 360 and PS3 release in booth raw power and optimization.  I am glad that Nintendo will continue their relationship with AMD, because AMD knows how to make the most bang for the buck when it comes to video card technology and innovation.  AMD (then ATI) has had tessellation built into their cards almost from Radeon’s beginnings - TruForm ring a bell?

    Of course, none of this means a hill of beans if the games are no good.  This is where, I think, the Wii U will shine over the other consoles.  While motion controls will still be an option for developers, it will no longer be the standard with the Wii U.  I think having the versatility of the motion controls, tablet controls, standard gameplay controls, or some combination of any of these will make the Wii U the definitive version of multi-platform games.

    The Wii U can also open up a couple of genre’s that are severly lacking on consoles - Real-Time strategy and MMO.  Imagine World of Warcraft (just an easy example) where the touchscreen can be used to show all of your action bars and ways to program macros to different buttons or touch displays.  Imagine Starcraft 2 (I hate to sound all Blizzard fan-boy, but sadly these are two of the most popular examples of the genre) where the entire HUD is revamped and completely displayed onthe touchpad, while camera movement is handled via Circle pads.

    At this point, everything is pure speculation until real THIRD-PARTY games are seen.  I emphasize third-party because we all know Nintendo can make games for their own system – they aren’t lacking in that department.

    While graphics are important – because 480p looks like crap on a 55″ 1080p HDTV – they are only important in the sense of keeping the interest of the hardcore and just simply having visuals that will last another 4 – 5 years.  The biggest wow-factor the Wii U needs are those releases that will be deemed the “definitive” version of a multi-platform release, as well as strong exclusive titles that utilize the potential of the system – (e.g. Killer Freaks From Outer Space). 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zachary-Rusk/1245545427 Zachary Rusk

    hhrrmmm…..wonder whats under the hood….will the WII U run dx9/10 or 11?

  • Tony

    It’s going to be hilarious in two years when I see all you graphic “aficionados” have your jaws dropped when the new Sony and Microsoft consoles aren’t that big of a graphics boost. Will all of you jump ship to PC? Only time will tell. And in case you are wondering this most likely be true because both companies made very little profit this generation due to the hardware and development cost for hd. Also they haven’t really profited from the hardware at all until recently. They will see what Nintendo has done with the wii underpowered system and pull back on the hardware. I guarantee that.

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