Who cares if Wii U is less powerful than PS3? Not Nintendo...
3rd Apr 2012 | 13:44
Murmurs of the next Xbox and PlayStation 4 have only surfaced in the past few months, but Nintendo's next contender has been bubbling away for quite a while.
When sales dip down from sky-high to the floor, it's easy to forget about the initial wave of money. And where other companies make substantial profits and plunge it straight back into R&D, Nintendo made colossal sums and saved it all up for a rainy day.
This isn't the only way that Nintendo's different, either. It's easy enough to make snap judgements, but the past decade has taught us that this isn't always wise. The Nintendo DS sounded like a disaster, and ended up setting the world on fire.
Rumours state that the Wii U will be less graphically powerful than both the Xbox 360 and the PS3, but we don't think this feels like any real cause for concern, for the three simple reasons listed below.
Hardware isn't everything
On paper, the Wii sounded like a joke. Using technical components that many defined as last-gen, it arrived into an industry obsessed with HD with a silly peripheral and a sleek white exterior. As it turned out, this was all it needed.
Hardcore gamers might have laughed at the tech-specs, but most people don't even know what that means. The Wii wasn't HD, but most didn't know that either. Nip back in time to 2006, and you'll remember the stupidity of the HD-ready generation. Pubs had whopping 60" tellies wired up to fuzzy TV cables, while Dixons showed off the fancy new tech with low-resolution nature DVDs. If you had a HDTV, you assumed everything was HD.
Technical knowledge has improved since then, but not enough to damage Nintendo's chances: The Wii U is HD, and that's enough. The Wii was the weakest console on the market, and still managed to annihilate the competition entirely.
It needs to be cheap
Nintendo could splash its fortunes on high-end tech in an effort to make the ultimate games machine, but who would that really benefit in the long-run? Sony's attempts to do so haven't been met with success lately, and the only reason it does so is because it has a different agenda: Sony is a technology company, whereas Nintendo is a company that uses tech to sell games.
Tech innovation is what gets people excited, but it's the software that really sells Nintendo consoles. People bought a Wii so they could play
Nintendo don't make the kind of hardware that people weigh up buying for months and months, they make silly and fun pieces of joy that people want to put in their living room immediately. Where serious gamers will weigh it up as a console, most people will treat the Wii U as a toy - it's not something they need, and unlike the other next-gen consoles, it won't replace anything else under the TV. It won't be a comprehensive media hub or a fancy-pants Blu-Ray player, but will be a lot of fun to play.
Choosing to fill it with cheaper hardware is the only option that Nintendo has available. The wireless tablet controller isn't cheap to produce, but it's vital that corners don't get cut here: If the Apple
It isn't a competition
Trying to catch up with Sony and Microsoft is irrelevant beyond belief at this point. Nintendo's road diverged a long time ago, and now it seems wiser to simply carry on ahead. Microsoft and Sony are both racing to cement their place in the living room, acting as the hub for all entertainment. High-end graphical capabilities are at the centre of what they aim to achieve, and they both manage to do that remarkably well.
Nintendo's consoles have a different approach: People buy Nintendo consoles so they can play Nintendo games. Strip away the shining veneer of graphics, and it's what's underneath that really matters. Some gaming experiences aren't possible without modern tech, but that doesn't mean that simple games can't be equally enjoyable.
The rise of the
The Wii U's specifications shouldn't come as a surprise, and they don't provide a reason to start worrying either. Nintendo doesn't do things like anyone else, and because of that it doesn't have any clear competitors - the Wii sales figures alone are enough to prove that. For tech-obsessed fans it's a kick in the teeth, but Nintendo would be daft to change sides when it's winning.
Jimmy White wouldn't step into a boxing ring, so why should Nintendo?