News Article

Call of Duty Black Ops II Suffers From Reduced Frame Rate On Wii U

Posted by Andy Green

Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions more consistent

Now that Wii U has finally been released, we have three HD home consoles on the market. It seems every man and his dog wants to know which one performs best, especially when it comes to those third party multi-platform games Nintendo gamers aren't used to seeing.

One of those multi-platform games that is now available on Wii U, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 is Call of Duty Black Ops II, Activision’s testosterone infused first person shooter.

So which version of the game performs best? Well the folks over at Eurogamer have put the game through its paces by testing like-for-like scenes across all three platforms, and in terms of engine performance the frame-rate of the Wii U version, disappointingly, came bottom of the pile.

The game does appear to perform well but in terms of consistency, the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions held up a little bit better than Nintendo’s new console. This news will no doubt fuel the worries surrounding the tech underneath the Wii U's hood even more. Some developers have already spoken of their concern with the console's grunt with Oles Shishkovtsov of 4A, the developer behind Metro: Last Light, calling the Wii U's CPU "horrible".

The full Digital Foundry write-up does suggest that the Wii U's CPU seems likely to be the "main bottleneck", despite the other areas of the system's infrastructure that surpass the capabilities of the rival systems. On the plus side, the visuals match those of Xbox 360 (despite lower frame rate) which in turn means there are some areas where the Wii U version has stronger presentation than on PS3. We should also bear in mind that developers won't have optimised their development to cater for the infrastructure of Nintendo's system in these launch titles. As the months and years progress, we'd hope to see greater familiarity deliver improved results.

Of course this was just an engine performance test; Wii U may perform better than its rivals in other areas. Does this news worry you? Let us know in the comments below.


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User Comments (90)



Lan said:

Who cares? It was a lazy port, the developers originally made it for platforms that were more CPU oriented. The Wii U is more reliant on the GPU, for more than just graphics. Wait for people who actually know what they're doing to make games.



Smitherenez said:

People still need to get used to this platform. I think the games look great! Especially for launch titles.



DrSlump said:

U cannot rely on gpu only. Much tasks are strictly cpu oriented. Too bat, i was pretty sure about the cod black ops 2 high framerate watching some gameplay video on youtube



MegaDrive20XX said:

I purchased this game last night and I have to say, I am overly impressed. The framerate issues do not bother me, I am actually thrilled how it looks visually. It really does open the door for what the future holds for the Wii U.



WesCash said:

I hope this is just a case of bad porting. I am worried about the WIiU capabilities. If it really isn't as powerful as the PS3 or 360, I may not end up getting a WiiU after all.



Suportedcofe said:

Developers just need to learn the Wii U hardware. It's not lower frame rate because the console is weaker it's because they didn't approach the Wii U the right way since it relies much more on the GPU than the CPU.



SpaceApe said:

Games look awesome on the Wii U. Reduced frame rate on the Wii U ? I thinknot because I am on Miiverse and not one person is complaining about a reduced frame rate on the BO2 community.



Tsuchiya said:

Of course Wii U is more powerful (by how much? Who knows yet.)
PS3 and 360 are 6 year old consoles.
Nintendo would have to go out of their way to make Wii U worse and less powerful. At the very least, Nintendo would have wanted it on par with 7th gen systems not sub par. This is a developer more suited to porting games back and forth between systems they're more at home with. Wii U is brand new hardware remember. This is just a sloppy port I bet
With 3 systems with different innards, one version is bound to have slight flaws in performance. Overall, BLOPS2U seems to hold its own when compared to it's 7th gen brethren.



MeloMan said:

I'm not worried regardless, further, ports don't worry me anyway. Now, when the devs have time to create something from the ground up across all three systems and something like this happens it would get my attention more.



SuperCharlie78 said:

About frame rate, 360 version runs at an average of 56 fps, not too surprising being the lead platform for years, PS3 is 51 and Wii U is 48.
There's no way you could even notice just 3 frames per second difference, not to mention that Wii U allows to play local multiplayer on two different screens without affecting the performance.
The guys from Lens of Truth stated the following: "As you can see in the Analysis videos the Wii U holds its own in terms of performance. Although, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions have an overall slight advantage with frame rate, the Wii U has absolutely Zero screen tearing and a respective frame rate. Lastly, With all the speculation out there about the overall power of the Wii U, we’re actually really impressed with the Wii U thus far. Considering that developers have had over seven years to grasp the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 hardware we were expecting a lot worse outcome."
Still worried?



GameLord08 said:

Warning: Intense drama imminent in this comment section.

I'll just put in my oh-so-valuable two pennies:

  • I can only guess that Black Ops II is a CPU-intensive game, that area of hardware being one of the Wii U's detriments, thus resulting in a performance decrease.
  • Being very early days and considering this game is no more than a port, developers are clearly yet to learn how to efficiently adapt to and utilise the new GPGPU to help alleviate the burden of performance issues with the CPU. It was stuck in there for a reason.
  • Black Ops II is a port shared alongside current-gen consoles. The chances of us being able to accurately determine the Wii U's capability on a mere multi-platform port is as likely as bacon becoming universally hated.

A year from now, let's see some original games being developed from the ground up that actually take full advantage of the Wii U. Then we shall talk powah.



Malic said:

I've been playing the hell out of it and haven't noticed any frame rate issues and this is a port by the way and I love how every title seems like is bad mouthing the Wii u but when you actually read the article its a completely different situation especially the article from metro last light



Nintenjoe64 said:

Lazy port is a bit harsh. They added nice features and made the game look identical. There is slowdown in all the versions!



AlexSays said:

So the Wii U has a solid year of enjoying multiplats, and it can't even run those properly. Oh well, at least now Nintendo-only gamers can still play all these games they pretended not to care about when they were inaccessible on their platforms.



vio said:

After reading all the comments, this has only confirmed to me that the Wii U is a powerful HD console. I HIGHLY doubt the 360 version of Black Ops 2 would have it's high framerate if this was 2005 when it was brand new and developers didn't fully understand it's architecture yet. The fact that the Wii U version looks AND RUNS as well it does when it's a multi-platform port running on new hardware speaks volumes about Wii U's power. Even if the CPU is on the slower side(and that's all speculation at this point!), we already know the GPU in the Wii U is VERY powerful

Just wait until Nintendo starts releasing their 1st party titles like a new 3D Mario and Zelda. Then we'll really start to see what this console can do.



Yanchamaru said:

Mass Effect 3 and Ninja Gaiden Wii U also have lower frame rates than the 360. Just lazy ports in my opinion.



TruenoGT said:

I still remember the crappy Quake 4 port that was a 360 launch-ish title, with a poor framerate and less detail than the PC version. Fast forward to 2011 and the the 360 has RAGE, running on the next generation engine to Quake 4, humming at 60 FPS. Seeing these Wii U ports even on par with the other systems given the much shorter development time and system familiarity is amazing and their performance is clearly NOT indicative of the Wii U's potential. Before judging too harshly, I'm waiting until we see what Retro is working on as this will be a prime example (no pun intended) of a heavy hitter making a dedicated Wii U title.



Trikeboy said:

Oh well, I wasn't getting this anyway. Call of Duty is old, boring and so repetitive I can't tell which game I'm looking at with pictures alone. Even the "fabled" Modern Warfare 2 was boring for me.



Retro_on_theGo said:

I can see the pointless fights now.
"Graphics do matter! Nintendo's consoles aren't even HD"
Wii U comes out
"Gameplay is more important than graphics! Look how bad a CPU the Wii U has!"

Either way this doesn't effect me. I don't care for the Wii U.



Tsuchiya said:

Every game is repetitive in some way. COD gets unfairly judged on looks alone by people not willing to scratch the surface.



BlatantlyHeroic said:

Exactly how powerful could the 720/PS4 be? I mean, we're at a point in which graphics can't get much better, and even if you do make them life-like, there's a chance that that'll induce vomiting.



kkslider5552000 said:

game is ported to system on launch day, has problems. Why anyone thinks this is new is beyond me. I mean I think Rayman 2 might have been ported to the Ps2 at launch but beyond that I can't think of one launch day (or launch window, whatever) port that was all that good. Even Donkey Kong on the NES was a flawed port. I mean...Super Monkey Ball was a port(remake?) of an arcade game no one outside of Japan ever played. That's about it right?

also judging a system by launch games is monumentally stupid people. By that logic, PS2 had no games, Ps3 had no exclusives outside of Resistance, and Wii always had new games coming out. And the Dreamcast is successful. And the NES is just lame sports games and Mario.



AlexSays said:

PCs don't cost as much as new cars and there is a large graphical leap there.

There's tons of room for improvements. And people have the misconception that the only improvements to be made are looks. Physics, AI, the amount of content that can be handled on screen all at once are all concepts that have plenty of room for expansion.

We're far far away from having a Mass Effect style MMO with Crysis style graphics in which tens of thousands of people can be engaged in a large scale war over a certain galaxy. There's so much more to come.



BlatantlyHeroic said:

What I want is for the Graphics war to stop. I also want for companies to stop looking at all of this as a competition, and I would like to see them help each other out.



Tsuchiya said:

The fanboys better sell their cars in preparation. They want it but they'll be the first to complain when the price hits home. All 3 companies are now HD capable. The only thing that will make an impact anymore is pricing.

We will never have our N64 moment again.
Companies are taking baby steps towards ruin. Rein it in a bit.



Dauntless said:

COD sucks. I'll worry when you talk about reduced frame rate for a game that matters.



Sean_Aaron said:

No I'm not worried. I didn't pre-order this console based upon how well it would run multi-platform games compared to other consoles. As with the Wii the stuff I'm interested in primarily isn't on the other platforms. Sure I'll end up getting some multi-platform stuff, but I'll be looking at how well it plays on Wii U alone and it sounds like if I was interested in Call of Duty Black Ops 2 (which I'm not) I wouldn't have anything to worry about.



Moshugan said:

I'm moderately worried about this CPU problem. Even if the system was designed so that this GPGPU thingy is meant to be used to handle parts of computation traditionally assigned to CPU, some games are going to suffer for it if the devs aren't able to utilize it.
Are there any tangible examples of GPGPU computation? I'm not entirely sold on it, since I don't understand how it works.



AlexSays said:

Competition drives innovation. Theres a reason monopolies are are frowned upon. They're not good for anyone.



BJQ1972 said:

These face offs are interesting. When the PC version of a multi format game is appalling they blame the programmers. When it is one of the consoles they blame the console. As people have said the differences look fairly negligible - it's certainly not the disaster some PS3 ports have been. Not to mention the PS3 version of this has already been patched twice. What's to say a WiiU patch won't improve performance further.

Eurogamer seem very proud of this cheap PC they've built. Now if they can squeeze it into a sleek little box that people would be happy to sit under their TV with no performance/overheating/noise issues they would be on to a winner.



BlatantlyHeroic said:

@AlexSays Actually, that depends on the culture, what drives innovation is what the mind wishes to achieve. Most European companies would want money, while companies in Japan might be centered around adding a new fun experience, it just depends on who the developers are and what their motives are, that's what creates innovation.



Tsuchiya said:

We can only hope that collaborations of any sort do not materialise. The industry needs competition.
Saying that, I've often thought of what would happen should we ever have a Wii60 like console between Nintendo and Microsoft. I could be wrong but I've always gotten the impression of an unspoken almost gentlemanly respect between the two companies. Sony as much as I respect them, come across as being almost like rabid dog most of the time. Snarling away with its pure unchained grunt. Not really willing to properly embrace change or innovation.
The Wii and 360 compliment each other incredibly well both with vision, innovation and software. Both are cheap too. That helps



BlatantlyHeroic said:

Now that I think about it, all of you are right, competition is needed, not only does it help innovation, but it also gives you options, without those options, you would eventually become bored, would you not? Of course, what matters most is the games and art styles used. (Of course the world seems obsessed with making games look real instead of beautiful and amazing.)



AlexSays said:

Japanese companies are some of the most competitive backstabbing businesses in the world. You've completely lost me.

Besides, there is nothing to gain from working together. The tech in the Wii U is completely different from the tech in the other consoles, and they're too expensive to be combined. There's no great secret technology these companies have access to, just different directions.

If they all collaborated with the same product, we'd be stuck with the same direction. That's a horrible idea, especially for some of us that aren't on board with the cheap casualized gaming scheme. They already take aspects from one another and implement them in their own product, that's as much as we need to see from that.



GameLord08 said:

@AlexSays: With PCs, you upgrade key components on an already-established technical infrastructure. With games consoles, you start development and manufacturing from scratch. Go figure.



blinder2 said:

Here we go again just saying this one last time the Wii U is displaying two images at the sametime and as you all no there independant of each other the gamepad is at 720p at 60fps or there abouts the main screen is 720p ect at near ect fps,PLUS in architecture is very differnt also nintendo were always changing the dev kits most didnt get the up to minute DEVS my god you all no this.I like to see the xbox360 or ps3s framerate after having a gamepad to deal with to,Its just its first pass poeple go look at xbox360s first game c.o.d 2 then see for yourself NINTENDOLIFE should do the same,when these sort of articals come up DONT read them just PLAY.




Phle said:

I'm not really worried. This game is a multi-console game, and the console is new to the developers, they just need more experience. They know PS3 and Xbox 360 very well, they have been out for many years!



Tsuchiya said:

I still don't know how many players are supported.
Anyone kind enough to fill me in?



GameLord08 said:

@blinder2: a) No, the GamePad is not independent of the Wii U. It shows no isolated function of its own with the consoles features, and off-TV gameplay is obviously being streamed.

b) The GamePad is not 720p, it's optimised 480p. Its resolution is 854 x 480.



AlexSays said:

From a retail standpoint it doesn't matter, there's current technology now at an affordable price that could be implemented in consoles and show a large graphical difference.

A new PC with the highest graphic quality available is nowhere near the cost of a new car. That comparison is out there.



SirSmugleaf said:

Meh, I don't care...

The thing is that if you care about CoD, you would have a PS3 or X360 and be playing those games on there! So if its on a Nintendo console, why would anyone care? CoD on Wii and DS were woeful! Even though its better on Wii U, is that why you would get the system?



Tsuchiya said:

"The thing is that if you care about CoD, you would have a PS3 or X360 and be playing those games on there!"

It doesn't belong to PS3 and 360. It's a multiplatform game. Wii U owners may not own a secondary console. It wouldn't make any sense to buy a 2nd console to play a game that is already available on the console they currently own.

You invest in a secondary system to enjoy console exclusives not multiplatform games.



Scollurio said:

Hmm hmm interesting. You people are certainly right about the Wii U still being unknown to developers and that this game is a port and things will get better in the future. But you're forgetting 2 things there.

o) Sure the CPU "might" be "slow" and the GPU awesomely powerful, the GPU will also have to take care of streaming content to the gamepad, i.e. rendering a second picture, so for future consoles, a console that only has to take care of ONE screen might have a slight advantage over the Wii U (regardless of its overall power)

o) You're right that the devs of call of duty had years of experience with XBOX and PS, but the engine they're using is almost as old as the XBOX 360. It's nowhere near the demanding kind of engine like cry engine or frostbite. Take that into consideration when trying to guess the raw power of the Wii U, even if its just a lazy port, it's still a really old engine.

That said I also think the graphic wars are stupid but I fear that Sony and MS WILL improve and push graphics further, beyond 1080p. Is it needed? No, not for me, I would be perfectly fine with a console that could provide you with affordable gaming for the next 5-10 years if it could put out something like a "gaming standard" video signal which in my book, for my eyes would be enough if it is: full native 1080p, 4x anti aliasing - thats about it. No need for silly 4K resolution but I am sick already of all the jaggies my upscaled 720p (if at all) signal from the 360 puts out. Even if my PC is capable of SO much more, I still only run aforementioned settings and most games run between 60 and 100 fps!

I really hope the second wave of Wii U games will come close to that performance and convince me with a clever use of the gamepad, then I can finally get a Wii U - would love to!



Moshugan said:

@BJQ1972 ''Eurogamer seem very proud of this cheap PC they've built. Now if they can squeeze it into a sleek little box that people would be happy to sit under their TV with no performance/overheating/noise issues they would be on to a winner.''
A very good point.



MAB said:

3 frames difference doesn't really matter when you can play BLOPS2 with Wiimote + Nunchuk with the gamepad hooked onto the back of your toilet door... PS360 fanheads can't do this with their version of the game



TrueWiiMaster said:

Weird. I watched them do a quicklook on Giantbomb, and I don't recall them ever saying the Wii U version ran slower than the 360 version. As I remember it they said it ran pretty much the same. Maybe they just hadn't gotten to parts of the game that had the problem?



ToneDeath said:

I'll wait until developers like Retro Studios and Nintendo EAD Tokyo have made their first Wii U games before I try to judge graphical capabilities. I assume that the quality of performance depends on how well the game has been optimised for the host console, so of course I'd expect to see the Wii U shine the brightest in its exclusives. Think back to when (if) you played games like Rogue Squadron II and Metroid Prime on the Gamecube: you just KNEW there was no way the PS2 could hope to run these games, despite the two consoles supposedly being in the same ballpark in terms of power.

Anyhoo, fingers-crossed the Wii U will do well enough to become the lead format (as far as consoles go) for multi-platform titles in future. It might seem doubtful, but then the first Wii was supposed to be an underdog too, remember



LordJumpMad said:

Once again, Nintendo fails to be just like one of the big boys.
CoD: Black Ops is a good game, its not the game's fault that the Wii U plays it so poorly, its just another good reason not to get the Wii U right away.



Malic said:

@LordJumpMad there's not much difference in performance from ps3 and Wii u also not much of a big deal this game is a port man. If anyone is so nit picky about performance issues and graphics if you're playing on a console you're doing all wrong in the first place. I mean seriously who the **** here bought the Wii u because of its graphic capabilities ?



Auracle said:

@Malic - Ignore JumpMad. He's just trollin'.
I chock the frame rate difference up to lack of Wii U optimization. Can't wait to see wait Wii U's really capable of.



IAmNotWill said:

People who think this means the Wii U is weaker are blind.

New hardware, happens all the time. Look at the games that look better on the Wii U like Aliens: Colonial Marines, ACIII, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Their respective developers all had help from Nintendo. Treyarch hasn't gotten used to the system yet.



moomoo said:

So a game, that's been running on an engine that has been improved over time that has been utilized on 2 consoles for the past 5 years, wouldn't run as well on its first go at a new one? That doesn't surprise me much, to be honest. And heck, from the videos I have seen of the Wii U version, I honestly can't tell the difference.



adrenochrome said:

it seems to be the perfect case to see the first online update/patch, let's see how long it will take for activision to do it (it seems other consoles already have several updates)

since it's a very early game on wiiu there may be potential troubles :
-if fps display is in game it may be computed wrongly (my eyes are not accurate enough to notice fps differences in eurogamer video comparisons)
-eurogamer says other console have some barely noticable tearing which the wiiu dont, perhaps some internal settings are not perfectly tweaked yet (vsync?)



Teepo said:

So nintendo's "next gen" console can barely keep up with 6 year old hardware? I'm finding it more difficult to justify blowing 400 bucks on that system.



SparkOfSpirit said:

It's a launch game. People must have very short memories if this type of thing is shocking to them.

Then again, gamers don't tend to remember six seconds ago never mind six years.



Gamer83 said:


I could list off a ton of games I like more than CoD, but it's ridiculous to suggest it 'doesn't matter.' It's the biggest name in gaming right now, period.



Discostew said:

A few points...

1) They ported the game to a system that has a completely different approach to processing data
2) They haven't had the 6+ years of expertise on said console compared to what they've been working with.
3) The game itself is within a few frames per second against the competition.

While people may use the phrase "Nintendo is doomed" because of the news with this game (and others), I for one am optimistic about the Wii U's capabilities at this stage being able to actually compete when developers haven't figured out the proper way to develop on the Wii U (which by all means, is more closely tied to existing PC development with the GPGPU offloading processing normally done by the CPU).



SCAR said:

I've actually heard quite the opposite from people playing it online, who were fans of the games for a long time on other consoles, and DID play the other versions. I'll trust the online fans over this for now...



defrb said:

OK what system can run nintendo games on full speed? Because thats what i care about, i want nintendo games, no ports. As long nintendo games run smooth on the system we are OK. Most games on ps3 and xbox you can play on like 4 systems allready.. But nintendo games can usualy be played only on 1 system



Mandoble said:

COD has never been a high demanding game for graphics, in COD (and similars) what matters is to keep the highest posible frame rate which is always critical for MP games. I think that currently the best case of study for the performance of WiiU would be ACIII. Does it work well in WiiU or does it suffer from frame rate drops, short view distance (fog) or similars?



Tsuchiya said:

This really isn't an issue.

We'll just wait for developers to get a grip on the new tech then we'll see it truly shine and blow the competition clean out of the water shall we?



nungi said:

I'm happy with what the Wii u bring to this generation of consoles a unique experience thats why i bought a Wii U.when the new consoles come out they are not going to have any fresh experiences like Nintendo,i'm sure they going to come out with the same old stupid controller thats played out for two generations and with the graphics and frame rate issues i think you need to grow up there's nothing wrong with the Wii U. i dont see those jagged break ups you see in x box.Never own them and have no plans to spend 600 for a hanfull of rip off titles that copy eveything Nintendo does.Just pray that these people who make games or ports for nintendo systems take their time and craft something special with the new hardware.Its better than speculating hype on some console that do not exist.



nungi said:

A port is something you don't want on a new system.Instead they should make it slightly different for each console,especially when you have a new system that nobody knows how and didn't spend much time with the development tools be asking nintendo how you do this and that but can't figure it out so they have to rush to get the games out so they could have some change in their pockets before they go bankrupt.i'm not saying they don't know what they doing is the time period to get the development tools and the hush hush on the tech and the specs.anyway nintendo going to have things their way regardless of the cheap ports,when they make a game it sells and those who make the ports or new games are going to lose.



Magnet_Man018 said:

@Tsuchiya And don't forget it's just the beginning. With time, games will look better and better because developers will get more used to the console's technical capabilities and will know how to exploit to the max everything Wii U has to offer.

Overused example, but compare games that launched along PS3 or XBOX with the actual ones. Well, the same will happen with Wii U, or at least that's what I hope.

btw, I'm not worried at all with Wii U's actual graphics, I've never cared a lot for graphics.



Lunapplebloom said:

@Retro_on_theGo What about Bayonetta 2? I thought you wanted that.

Obviously I'm not going to jump to conclusions based on this. This system just came out. Give it time, I'm sure developers will get the small kinks worked out.



Iapetus said:

For what it is worth to everyone - this is the best version of COD I have played. I didn't notice any drops in framerate unless I had a buddy playing casually with me on Gamepad and I was using the big screen. Best feature set, awesome versatility in controls (Using Wii Remote + Nunchuck on a 60fps games = awesome). If I was a COD fan, I would be loving this game like no tomorrow.

However, I am NOT a big COD fan, so after I got my fill of the game, I traded it in for ZombiU (Totally worth it). So yeah, if you are a Nintendo owner and want COD, get this game. Even if you already have it for 360 or PS3, I'd say it is worth it for the control options and splitscreen play. My friends have advised that the graphics get toned down when you do splitscreen on PS3, but I can say with firsthand accounts that is not the case with WiiU.

My 0.02.



Doma said:

No need to worry.

It's not the same game. It's not the same content.



Gridatttack said:

The frame drop may be to blame the lazy port.

Is like Super Monkey Ball Deluxe on the PS2 and Xbox. The developers obviously derped in the port and both versions ended really choppy compared to the ones at the GCN.



AgenTxH said:

The frame rate issue is during the single player story mode, the multiplayer plays great. I have this game for PS3 and so far WiiU network is more stable, now that could be due to a small ammount of people on it but still.



Knux said:

Pretty sad that a developer is struggling developing for the Wii U when it should be relatively easy to make the game at least as good as the other versions. The Wii U is no true ''next-gen'' console.



Mr_3DS said:

I'll be getting a Wii U around Christmas, but I still am going to be sticking with COD on my Xbox. The only reason for that is the online experience since most of my friends have the game.



Teepo said:

Problem is this isn't a next gen console, this is a current generation console coming out at the end of the current generation's life cycle.

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