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Reggie Fils-Aime: Wii U Is "Much More Graphically Intensive" Than Rival Systems

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Content from major devs to make for a "well-rounded console"

While there's been much talk about Wii U in terms of its substantial launch lineup, as well as opinions on the system's operation system and functions such as Miiverse, there's also been plenty of discussion about CPU chips and graphical capabilities. Like Wii before it, some are questioning the longevity and potential third-party support for Wii U in the coming years; it's a debate with plenty of angles, many of which we've considered in terms of a third-party challenge for Nintendo.

In an interview last week with CNN, now uploaded to good-old YouTube, Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime tackled this and other issues. When questioned about the technical capabilities of Wii U, from a graphical standpoint, Reggie expressed a view that — unsurprisingly — countered that of Eurogamer's Digital Foundry assessment of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and offered a defence of the system's graphical clout.

The specs are quite different than the competitive systems, much more graphically intensive.

If you do a side-by-side comparison you would see that third-party games like Call of Duty look dramatically better on our system.

It's hardly surprising that the NoA boss would talk up the system, and that's a debate that's likely to be around the system for a time to come. Moving on from that, Fils-Aime also reiterated his faith in the GamePad concept while pointing to early sales success. When quizzed about the "pick up and play" aspect of Wii U compared to its predecessor, meanwhile, the executive was quick to re-emphasise the important role of third-parties for the system.

In terms of what competition’s going to do in the future: we’ll see. We know based on our own development this two screen experience really is the next innovation that consumers are gravitating to.

It’s selling extremely well here in the Americas. Already stocks are quite low in the marketplace; we’re rapidly replenishing. So for us, certainly the consumer’s deciding that the innovation is well worth their investment.

...For us the big opportunity is having content from the [likes] of Activision, or EA, or Ubisoft, these companies that are making content that is quite different than what Nintendo makes, and that's going to make for a much more well-rounded console.

The big test of third-party support will undoubtedly come from April onwards, once the rather packed launch window schedule has passed. Nintendo has a habit of keeping us waiting for updates and reveals, so we'll have to wait and see whether first and third-party hits are on the way in the latter half of 2013. There are plenty of games to play until then, in any case.


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User Comments (43)



KAHN said:

I'm thinking the Wii U is stronger than the current gen systems, but when the other next gen consoles come out (XBOX720, PS4), things will change.



McHaggis said:

@0LD_SK0OL_PUNK, I'm not so sure. Powerhouse consoles haven't worked out that well for Sony, in fact they did much better in the generations their system was the least powerful console on the market. I wouldn't be surprised if they change their strategy for the PS4. There's already rumours of them using a cheaper, lower power CPU than the Cell.

Microsoft may carry on with the powerful console legacy because they haven't done too badly with that, but I think they'll push Kinect (or something else) more and power less.



yobucky said:

@McHaggis Agree completely! If the PS4 is too overpowered and overpriced, it will be the last gaming console sony makes. They made a loss for years with the PS3 until the components finally became cheaper, and in this economy they won't be able to carry something like that for too long. And the powerful Vita is really struggling to sell, so another failure would be suicidal. Sony Fanbois are in for a big disappoint come PS4 one way or another.



Taceus said:

Didn't Reggie say they have some games still under wraps which they'll unveil after launch. Nov
30th is 4 days away. So some news in a week or two would be great if only to keep the excitement rolling.



Mk_II said:

IMHO the PS4 etc wont be that much of a technological leap either. Nobody has a 4K TV so that route makes no sense. PS3 and Xbox 360 are still selling quite well and to develop and bring to market a cutting edge console would cost a lot of money up front. And who will be buying a 600$+ console in the current economic climate?



Emaan said:

I fear that there will be good third party support for the Wii U now, but once the next Playstation and Xbox arrive, the support will drop. I don't think the graphical gap this generation will be as severe this time around though. Sony and Microsoft can't afford to have a high priced-high powered system again. Not in this market at least, a lot has changed since 2006. We haven't seen the full power of the Wii U yet, so it's too soon to judge I think.



Ryon said:

in my opinion this was a smart move on nintendo.
currently nintendo has very modern chips where as PS3 and Xbox have older chips from 6-ish years ago.

Any game that comes out now, and even in the near future will have 720 as a standard resolution, and majority will be released with 1080p, which will be the standard in several years. So nintendo can still keep up with the new games with out any loss, since the Wii U runs Native 1080p. (tested it using the "Wii Channel" very awesome)

PS3 may be more powerful as well xbox, but in the long run developers will still develop games for 720 and 1080p,for several more years.

all this 720p 1080p nonsense makes you wonder what the heck i'm rambling on about well, if nintendo can keep up with that, then it is definately more than powerful enough to keep up to even the newest consoles.



erv said:

@Ryon you are so, so right here. In time, this system will age well. In the meantime, only 4 days left for my wiiU to arrive!



Nintenjoe64 said:

I'm a believer Reggie! I also think (hope) that the not so big jump in performance to the PS4/nextbox will mean that (providing Wii U is very successful) games will be ported from Wii U to other consoles so it will continue to get 3rd party support for a generation..

The only thing I worry about in this whole "Wii U is underpowered" debate is that devs and publishers will make the same lazy games they did for the wii, the games will be average to poor and will not sell well, which in turn will make them assume Nintendo fans don't want proper games.

I think that most publishers are willing to take a punt on the Wii U because the Wii left them caught with their pants down. I bet there are even publishers out there wilfully going against their own naysayer developers because they still remember the Wii.



Moshugan said:

@Ryon But graphics are so much more than resolution. A game can be 1080p and still look horrible, where as lowering the res to 720p frees the GPU to do prettier effects and render bigger worlds etc. So even though XBox and PS4 would stay in 720p-1080p, they could be crucially more powerful, in that they could run engines the Wii U could only dream about (e.g. Unreal 4).

This is not to say that Wii U won't manage. I hope it'll do good.



Raiko said:

How has nobody commented on Reggie's Call of Duty comment? It's quite obvious that the game visually is no better than the 360 version, but it also doesn't run anywhere near as smoothly. Very much the opposite of what Reggie claims.

Maybe he was put on the spot there, but that's one cheeky little lie.



Tsuchiya said:

Forgive me, but you appear to be from the UK as am I and as such we don't currently have the Wii U.
Unless you have played both the Wii U version and either one of the versions found on the rival systems side by side, then how could you know that this is a lie?
If you have played on a Wii U demo stand however, then please continue



Praneet said:

@Raiko i prefer you to go and check it out with your eyes .its clearly better visually.only framerate issues wgich no one cares about.



aaronsullivan said:

Well, it's unfortunate that in a game like Black Ops 2, players DO care about frame rate as it can certainly give you an edge. It's a competitive twitch game, of course it matters. (Wii remote pointing might make up for that lost edge though.) It can be 20 FPS less, though getting up between 40 and 50 FPS is still pretty good.

I'm curious about the visual quality. It's certainly possible that the textures are higher resolution and other effects are better on the Wii U. It has more video RAM, for instance. Also, Reggie may be exaggerating based on his own impressions, but I don't think he's lying in this case. He may be wrong that it's obvious, but, come on, people are blinded by their own biases all the time. Obviously true or not, it's certainly possible he believes it.

It would be a nice feature to lower the visual fidelity to gain FPS if a player so desired.

The GamePad functionality where you and a buddy can each have their own screen completely trumps the dip in frame rate. I remember being pretty blown away by how smooth everything was playing during that demonstration.



WesCash said:

I'll believe it when I see it Reggie.
Black Ops 2 certainly isn't better on the WiiU.



WesCash said:

And I do hope Reggie is right. But I haven't yet heard any reviewers say that the WiiU versions of the multiplatform games look better than their counterparts.



Monsti said:

I absolutely believe that in the future we will se how much better the graphics can be but Reggie's example isn't the best one. Many sites actually showed side by sode comparsions and there is not much of a difference...



Tsuchiya said:

From the videos I've seen, it's pretty hard to differentiate between the other systems. If it doesn't look better on Wii U then it looks just as good as it does on the rival systems. Which isn't really surprising as it is a port.

Soon, all 3 consoles will output visuals so similar that choosing which one looks better will become pretty much impossible. The only thing that will develop and make a big impact when graphical prowess inevitably levels out, will be the price.

I can't wait....



alLabouTandroiD said:

Wish the new MicroSony consoles were already out. Than we could easily say it's graphically underpowered and wouldn't have to look for dozens of devils in the details.



HawkeyeWii said:

I'm sure the PS4 will be more powerful, but watch them sell it fr like $700, making the same mistake they did last time lolol



HawkeyeWii said:

I still think it would be awesome if some new sompany entered the ring, like Capcom or maybe Sega could return and make systems. I would buy either!!



FJOJR said:

An F-Zero game could really show off that capability Nintendo......wink wink.



AVahne said:

Reggie probably should've said that Wii U has potential to have much better graphics than 7th gen later on. For now they're still very close with some games looking a little worse and some looking a little better according to people who like to spout whatever comes to mind.



WhiteTrashGuy said:

The Wii U has an uphill battle as since the CPU is slower it means that developers will have to spend extra time maximizing the GPU and extra ram. If 3rd parties decide not to do this then we will have a similar situation as the Wii and GCN. The GCN had the capability to run better texturing through compression streaming, which freed up the GPU to focus its RAM on lighting and bump-mapping. But only a handfull of games that were not 1st party took advantage of it. I wholeheartedly believe Reggie. If developers take the time then games will look amazing. It will be interesting to see what developers do this next gen as development costs rise. If the Wii U can make that 5.5 million installed base by March then developers might focus fresh IP on Wii U to save on costs and guarantee sales.



GameLord08 said:

WhiteTrashGuy wrote:

The Wii U has an uphill battle as since the CPU is slower it means that developers will have to spend extra time maximizing the GPU and extra ram.

Is everybody completely oblivious of the fact that the GPGPU exists in the Wii U, and is somewhat more effective in handling the CPU's tasks? Combine that with a stronger GPU, more expansive RAM and a notable amount of fast eDRAM to boot. It's in plain sight.



krunchykhaos said:

Adding to what others replied with, this won't be the case. The hardware reviewed so far have been conclusive to show that between the three systems the Gpu is about the same. So as far as visuals it will be too similar to notice. Everything else is up to choice. What nintendo did by releasing a powerful next gen system first at that price basically dictated what microsoft and sony must do to survive. The only thing separating the WiiU with other consoles is the MCM. I won't be surprised if the wiiu ends up toting better visuals this time around.



krunchykhaos said:

Look up the dev kits for both. There are fanboys on both sides admitting the graphics will generally be the same. The only difference will be non visual related things more like processing power than anything.



AJWolfTill said:
Make your own assessment about the graphics difference.
One thing I would certainly like to point out is that if a game which is a port of something designed on another system is capable of looking better on a different system, even if not by a huge margin, then a game designed for the specs of the new system is certainly going to excell the ported version. Reggie is clearly not lieing about the system, he may certainly be exagerating though.
As well as being ports these are launch games, I challenge naysayers to visually compare the Wii U's launch titles with those of PS3 and Xbox 360, tell me that the difference between 360 launch games and prev gen consoles was a huge leap.



WhiteTrashGuy said:

@ GameLord08

What I meant was that the Wii U had an uphill battle in terms of getting developers to really optimize a game's code specifically for it. I imagine most third-party multi-platform titles will be quick and dirty 360 ports. Hence the frame-rate loss in BlackOps2. If you read my whole post you would see that I agreed with Regi's statement and I even stated how cutting edge the GameCube (GCN) was. But just like with the Wii U's situation not every developer took the time to fully exploit the hardware or the faster loading capabilities of the GCN's smaller disc format.



Henmii said:

"Call of Duty look dramatically better on our system"

But has a terrible framerate, from what I have heard!



Tsuchiya said:

There is around a 3fps difference between the Wii U version and the PS3 version which would be pretty much unnoticeable. It can hardly be described as terrible. The framerate issue seems to be with single player. From what I've read, online multiplayer is smooth as silk. I'll be playing it on friday so I'll see for myself how it runs.

To just look at images and videos, it looks virtually identical to the other console versions. To me however, the Wii U version just seems slightly more visually richer but I can't really comment properly having not yet seen it first hand.



Teepo said:

Hrm. So he's just telling an outright lie here, eh? Dramatically better? Every comparison and review I've seen of 3rd party games have mentioned the wii u either only looks on par or worse than the other console versions.



MAB said:

Just get it on another console then... Before I slap ya upside down and sideways

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