There isn’t a lot of information about the upcoming Nintendo console, but there are a lot of rumors about it. Regarding the former we know that the console will be released later this year, it’ll be able to run 1080p high-definition graphics, its controller has a touchscreen, it’ll be backwards compatible with the Wii and certain peripherals will also be supported (including the Wii Remote, Wii Motion Plus and Wii Balance Board.) Now, as focusing on the latter would probably take us a long time, let’s make reference to the latest rumor: some anonymous developers have reported on GamesIndustry International that the Wii U won’t be able to compete with the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 in terms of graphics.
Now before we continue, my questions about the matter are: is it really important if the Wii U has less graphical power than current generation consoles? Is graphical prowess really that important? And finally, does the average consumer even care about these technical specifications?
I don’t think people should be paying much attention to graphics as after all, the Nintendo Wii was also an “underpowered” console that didn’t exactly make use of a cutting-edge technology. Nevertheless, it still managed to sell millions of units. It’s worth pointing out that at first, the lack of horsepower translated into many third-party developers refusing to put out their games on the console, but the Wii sold so well that the Japanese-based company managed to make profit right off the bat. Innovative controls and accessibility were always the main objectives for Nintendo, something that proved to be extremely effective.
I still don’t understand why people pay so much attention to graphical power when video games are what really matter. Consider the Nintendo DS for a little while. The portable console was extremely underpowered when compared to the PlayStation Portable, but there were so many titles available for the former that the PSP didn’t have a chance to conquer the portable market. By stating this I don’t mean that the Wii U will have better games than its competition, what I do believe is that games are a determining factor when talking about the success of a console. In the end, the overall quality of games is much more important than a fast processor and nice-looking graphics.
Then we need to consider controls. The Wii U’s tablet-like controller seems to be an innovative piece of hardware that will offer something unique that players won’t be able to find anywhere else. That’s how Nintendo is trying to innovate; the tablet controller is their innovation, not an expensive graphics card. We should also take into account that the average consumer of Nintendo-related products probably doesn’t care about graphical prowess. The company has been marketing the DS and the Wii as consoles that anybody could enjoy. Franchises like Nintendogs, Brain Age, Wii Sports and so on aim at an audience that is more interested in playing casual games than being immersed in atmospheric and very detailed worlds.
Game design quality is preferable to horsepower, that’s how this industry will be able to move forward. If not, games will stagnate; they will become soulless husks, empty shells covered in a beautiful exterior with nothing inside. But what’s your take on all this? Are innovative controls more important than graphics? Are fast processors and graphics cards elements you take into account when buying a new console? Or do you prefer an extensive library of good games instead? Please, feel free to share your opinions on the matter in the comment section.