While the Wii does have an impressive library, there’s no denying that it missed out on a lot of third party multiplatform titles simply because it was not as capable a system as its competitors. In no year was this more apparent than 2011. Whereas other platforms were being treated to great games like Portal 2, Skyrim, Batman Arkham City, Dark Souls, and L.A. Noire, all Wii owners had to look forward to that year was Skyward Sword (players in the UK had Xenoblade as well). The current draught of Wii games can be blamed mostly on the Wii’s weaker graphical output.
On the cusp of a new generation, Nintendo’s Wii U has large expectations to meet. Not only does the next gen system have to retain Nintendo’s hold on the casual market, it also has to win back those gamers who were put off by the Wii’s shortcomings. First and foremost among those shortcomings is Wii U’s power.
While it is already a given that the Wii U will be more powerful than current gen technology, the big question on every mind is whether or not it will be able to compete with next-gen tech, namely the next Xbox and Playstation 4. Up until now, Nintendo has gracefully dodged this question, saying things like “Nothing is known about these systems, so no comparison can be made” and “Gameplay matters more than graphics”. While these are both true statements, gamers are looking for some sort of assurance that the Wii U will not suffer the same fate as its predecessor.
In a recent investor meeting, Satoru Iwata faced the question once again. In answer, the global president of Nintendo had this to say: “Other companies might launch a next-generation console with more power, but we don’t necessarily think that the difference between the Wii U and such console will be as drastic as what you felt it was between the Wii and the other consoles…Naturally some consumers are very sensitive about such a small difference in graphics so that we will make efforts to make the most of the performance of the Wii U to keep up with technological innovations and not to make the system out-of-date soon.”
This is a promise from Nintendo that the Wii U will not be left behind by the next generation. In the end though, graphics and power are not what makes a system great; that lies with the library of games. But the Wii has shown that graphics do still matter. If your system is not up to date, it will be left to choke in the dust while the others revel in a veritable paradise of game releases. What we as Nintendo fans are expecting of the Wii U is not the most powerful system on the block, but a console that is powerful enough to play the same games as the competitors’ consoles. If Nintendo delivers on Iwata’ promise, it looks like we’ll have just that.