For many years now Nintendo has been criticized about low computing performance of its consoles, something that does not allow game developers to make equally looking games for Wii and its competitors, which have much higher performance. According to an industry analyst, Nintendo may not use top-notch technologies even with the next-generation system, which puts the successor of Wii into the same performance category as PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
“I think that their next console will be on par technologically with the current PS3 and Xbox 360, and don't expect them to advance technology at all with their next offering. They will undoubtedly advance game play, and are likely to further innovate there, but I don't think that the classic term "generation" can be applied to that, if there aren't more pixels and a faster frame rate offered up,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, in an interview with Industry Gamers web-site.
The problem with such approach is quite trivial: in order to attract gamers to a new platform, it has to offer something never seen before. Nintendo Wii offered unprecedented motion-sensing controller, but now competing Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 also have motion sensor and motion-sensing controller, respectively, in addition to high-definition graphics and audio. Therefore, hypothetical Wii HD (or Wii 2) would not offer anything new to the end-user as PS3 and X360 already offer a portfolio of high-definition games, whereas the Wii HD would not have it at launch.
“Both of the competitive consoles have deep libraries of content available in HD, while the Wii 2 will have only a catalog of standard definition content. I don't see the third party publishers embracing the Wii 2 unless the technology is similar to the 360 or PS3, making ports inexpensive. Therefore, I can only conclude that the Wii 2 will not be "next" generation, and that Nintendo will have a lot of catching up to do,” said Mr. Pachter.
Nintendo itself claims that just adding high-definition graphics to Wii is not an option and that the next-gen console should have something else.
“The fundamental issue in the logic flow is that […] ‘gosh it is such an opportunity to take HD capability and link it with the Wii’. […] That is not the way we at Nintendo do things. The way we at Nintendo do things is, you know, when we will move to a new generation, it is because there are some fundamental things the [current] console cannot do. What that says is that simply the addition of HD capability will not be the next step for us. There will be more to it. There will be additional capability. There will be additional elements, and, given that, it is far into the future,” said Reggie Fils-Aime in an interview.
Nintendo Wii hardware is only slightly more powerful than that inside PS2 and the original Xbox. It is very likely that the company spent loads of time optimizing the costs of its hardware instead of boosting its performance. As a result, it is very likely that internally the firm has been working on something more powerful than Wii. Theoretically, this could be so-called Wii HD, but considering that fundamental technology development for Wii was finished around 2004 at the latest, the company has already had six years to develop something completely new, not just an update to Wii. The big question is when does Nintendo plan to update its console? If the company decides to launch the successor along with Microsoft’s and Sony’s next-gen systems, then it will need to offer something better than current-generation devices. If Nintendo’s next-gen is due in 2011, then it may offer something slightly better than the latest-generation systems with elements that actually attract gamers.
Tags: Nintendo, Wii, Playstation, Xbox
Comments currently: 4
Discussion started: 12/15/10 11:14:34 AM
Latest comment: 12/17/10 12:44:30 PM
I think any way you cut it, the next Nintendo will be both a strong improvement over the Wii and faster than the PS3/360. Like the other platforms, we're likely talking 28nm chips where this generation started on 90nm. That's 10x the amount of possible transistors in the same space, and/or much higher clock speeds. It's important to remember Wii used a higher-clocked Gamecube GPU at slightly over 200mhz, its core arch similar to the low-end GPUs from many, many years ago (4 pixel shaders/ROPS.) It's really unfathomably slow.
Even if Nintendo used an off-the-shelf 32nm Llano for it's CPU/GPU, the product would be slightly faster. Assuming 400sp @ 500mhz for llano, it would be slightly faster than the (similar to x1900/7900) GPUs used in the other current consoles.
12/15/10 11:14:34 AM]
A 320SP 4670 actually destroys x1900/7900 in any modern game.
If Nintendo plans their next console for 2011 with this those capabilities, Llano is the natural option. If it's a bit into 2012, maybe Bulldozer/Zambesi based Fusion Trinity (32nm still) will be the choice.
Bulldozer modules are smaller and faster than the same given number of deneb cores so the GPU can have more muscle. ¿560/640SP?
A custom build of Trinity with GDDR5 as sideport should put it in HD5670 or low speed HD5700 range.
12/15/10 07:44:54 PM]
Perhaps Nintendo relies on the games to sell the console and not the other way around. I have a Wii because I have an strong dislike for FPS and sport games. Nintendo has realized that not everyone likes mindless monotonous games.
12/16/10 08:48:37 AM]
First, it's interesting to note that nothing legitimate has been released or leaked yet by Nintendo on the "Wii 2" yet. While Nintendo is a notoriously tight-lipped company until they have an idea, hardware codenames and some specs generally get leaked a year or two before the system comes out. There was a good 2 years of "Ultra 64" talk before the N64 came out, and another 2+ years of "Project Dolphin" talk before the Gamecube came out. The Wii was codenamed "Revolution" for years and rumored to be a slightly tweaked Cube with a completely new way to control and interact with the system. One reason these leaks happen is that developers need to get this hardware in their hands well before the system launches. Another is, of course, to generate hype. We've heard nothing comparable about the "Wii 2" yet, and Nintendo likes to give hints beforehand.
This is looking to be the longest wait between Nintendo's main console generations since the SNES finally gave way to the oft-delayed N64.
Japan release dates:
Super Nintendo: Nov 21, 1990
Nintendo 64: June 23, 1996
Gamecube: Sept 14, 2001
Wii: Dec 2, 2006
Based on that list, it's also highly doubtful the "Wii 2" will be called anything of the sort. Nintendo has tried to distinguish every new console from its predecessor in name, unlike Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo's strength is in the "Nintendo" name, while, in the gaming field at least, Microsoft and Sony's strength are in the Xbox and Playstation brands. Subtle difference with interesting implications.
We'll see what Nintendo has in the pipe in the next couple of years. Frankly I think Nintendo is at a crossroads: they innovated with the Wii to make it a smash success. The Wii is definitely lagging in the graphics department, and I am just salivating at the thought of what a Metroid, Mario or Zelda game would look like on PS3/Xbox360 level hardware. However, with that said, if Nintendo doesn't innovate for their next generation of system, it could turn into another Gamecube - solid system with minimal developer support and mediocre sales.
Microsoft and Sony proved that you can update a console mid-life with things like motion controls, a new dashboard/interface, new video interfaces (component video to HDMI on the Xbox 360, as well as going from 720p/1080i to supporting full 1080p), making hard drive installs mandatory, etc.
My gut tells me that the next Nintendo Wii (or whatever it's called) probably won't be out until 2011/2012 at the earliest for a couple of reasons. Nintendo has always emphasized fast, slick boot times over the "next big thing" (such as going for cartridges with the N64 vs. everybody else doing CD's). Knowing that, a 100GB+ solid state hard drive is almost a must for Nintendo. It would give them the boot and load times that they need for their games. A proprietary 2.5"-3.5" blue-laser disc wouldn't be out of the question (they did a similar move with the Gamecube using mini-DVDs), or they could bite the bullet and include Blu-Ray support since that's the new optical standard anyway (like they did with the Wii and DVD's).
Because Nintendo's brand and back catalog is so strong, I fully expect them to release NES games all the way through Wii games available as downloads online (meaning 100GB+ HDD space is necessary).
Nintendo won't release another system without HD graphics (720p mininum). Designing the Wii as 480p-only was a stretch, but that won't happen again. The cost of building a 1080p capable system has plummeted the last couple of years. Heck, the 3DS pushes only 23% fewer total pixels than the Wii does!! I'd expect Nintendo to fully support 1080p, though games may internally rendered anywhere from 576p (like many Xbox 360 games; see: Halo 3) to 1080p.
Nintendo, in stark contrast to Sony, has never released a new console without a fundamentally different controller. The N64 changed the game completely by going analog-first (and later vibration with the rumble-pak); the Gamecube went to essentially dual-analog (with their second based on the C-stick design), and dual depressable L and R triggers. The Wii is obviously a completely different beast.
So, will Nintendo continue to evolve the Wii remote, come up with something new, or go back to an evolved Gamecube-like controller? Or will they try to have their cake and eat it too like Sony is doing with the Dual Shock 3 + PS Move?
These are the questions that Nintendo needs to answer first before we figure out what the Wii 2 will be. Whatever direction they choose will fundamentally impact the company's future.
12/17/10 12:44:30 PM]
Add your Comment
Enter your username and e-mail address. Password will be sent to you.