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Wii U games 'look just as good' as PS3, but it's still 'not as capable'

Dev sources claim AI, physics likely to suffer

Wii U games look "just as good" as Xbox 360 and PS3 titles, but Nintendo's console still struggles to match its rivals in other areas, development sources have indicated to CVG.

Backing up a report this week claiming Wii U is less powerful than Xbox 360 and PS3, key developers told CVG that it's processor intensive game systems which they're struggling to get up to par with current-gen consoles.


Sources said graphical quality "won't be a problem" on Nintendo's new console, but a drop in CPU horsepower compared to 360 and PS3 could see Wii U lag behind in areas such as complicated physics and AI.

"Assumptions that Wii U games will look like 'up rezzed' current-gen titles with better textures aren't quite right. They'll look just as good, but not better," one developer told CVG. "You shouldn't expect anything special from a graphics point of view," they added.

A second source working on a big name franchise said GPU and RAM power "won't be a problem" on the new console but, again, claimed Wii U struggles to match PS3 and 360 in processing power.

"We're still working on dev machines but there have definitely been some issues [in porting PS3/360 games]," our source said. "It's not actually a problem getting things up and running because the architecture is pretty conventional, but there are constraints with stuff like physics and AI processing because the hardware isn't quite as capable."

The same source concluded, bluntly: "I suppose you don't need sophisticated physics to make a Mario game."

Some dev sources have speculated that Wii U's relatively low technical specs may be down to an attempt to attractively price the console, which will of course come bundled with a pricey touchscreen controller, as first revealed by CVG. It's also worth noting that unlike its rivals, Wii U has the task of sending separate images to that controller, potentially eating up more hardware juice.

Wii U tech demo

A report earlier this week quoted several developers as stating that Wii U hardware is "just not as powerful" as current-gen consoles like Xbox 360.

The various sources of course conflict somewhat with fresh comments made by Gearbox COO Brian Martell, who claimed in a video interview published today that Wii U has "more RAM" and a "great processor".

It's unlikely we'll know exactly how powerful the Wii U is before we've actually got it in our hands later this year. One thing looks certain though, and that's that Nintendo is sticking to its strategy of less powerful hardware combined with an innovative interface, leaving the high-end console space to its rivals.