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Does the Wii Provide A "Watered-Down" Game Experience?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the no-pun-intended dept.

Wii 582

CNet is running a story inspired by comments from Ubisoft's Ben Mattes about how the Wii affects game development. When asked why there was no Wii version of Prince of Persia, Mattes said, "The reality is that from a technical standpoint, the Wii cannot do what we wanted the game to do. The AI of Elika was highly advanced and required a lot of processing power; the world size and dynamic loading, the draw distance, the number of polygons in the characters... If we had done a Wii version, it would have been toned down, probably linear; it wouldn't have been an open-world game, and so it would have been a very different experience." The article goes on to look at a number of Wii games that are stripped-down versions of their Xbox 360 or PS3 counterparts. Of course, part of the Wii's drawing power is that it's much simpler than the other systems, and has brought casual gaming to millions more people than it would have otherwise. The question remains, as Kotaku points out, whether the Wii's audience will persist after the other systems match its casual-gaming capabilities.

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does an iphone.... (5, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295049)

provide a watered down computing experience?

Wii's are fun.

Re:does an iphone.... (5, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295151)

Exactly. The Wii is fun, functional, and innovative. The problem isn't the Wii, it's the damn publishers. The Wii's more powerful than the most powerful gaming machines a few years ago and there were a lot of good games back then (unreal tournament 2004, Doom 3, etc). There's enough power in the console, but the creators of the game apparently can't adapt to lesser hardware, so they throw a public tantrum or water the game down so that they don't have to actually think about the problem and develop around it.

The really ironic thing here is that the market for the Wii is so much larger than the market for the other consoles. Publishers and developers are really shooting themselves in the foot here.

Re:does an iphone.... (5, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295237)

The problem is, games are not about AI and flashy graphics, no matter how much money grubbing publishers want em to be. They're about friendly interaction with your peers. That's why more people use computers to play cards with each other than the latest flashy crap to come down the pipe.

Re:does an iphone.... (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295307)

That's why more people use computers to play cards with each other than the latest flashy crap to come down the pipe.

I thought we all agreed to call them "tubes".

Re:does an iphone.... (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295297)

Sorry, what?

It's a fact that the hardware is less capable than the others. And the others aren't exactly swimming in RAM by modern standards. No, sorry, it's not that they can't adapt, it's that the games they are making now just can't work in the same way on the Wii.

Now, that doesn't mean the Wii is somehow a bad console - it's a very successful one - it just means that either it's going to hold back the capabilities of games that are released across all three platforms or (far more likely, and in fact happening) encourage an entirely different set of games aimed at a totally different audience.

What would be the point of owning all three consoles if they all got the same games and had the same capabilities anyway?

Re:does an iphone.... (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295433)

There wouldn't be a point. But then, from the players' point of view, having them be functionally identical is better so they don't need to buy two or three to play all the games they want.

Re:does an iphone.... (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295471)

The problem is a gigantic lack of first or second party games (or locked-in third parties). The Genesis (Mega Drive) and SNES both had about the same specs but the games were what defined them. The problem is, the PS3 and 360 really lack in that area. If you liked Sonic and Sega's games (Shining Force, Golden Axe, Phantasy Star, etc) you got a Genesis. If you liked Mario, Metroid, Zelda, or Donkey Kong you got a SNES. Today other than the Wii, theres not much difference between the PS3 and 360. Square Enix which (especially in Japan) propelled the PS1 and PS2 forward is now making games for all platforms. Halo is good but its still just another FPS, theres not much that can't be emulated with another FPS with shinier graphics, and despite how developed the Halo universe is, theres not that much there that sets it apart from the rest.

Re:does an iphone.... (4, Interesting)

jidar (83795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295765)

The Wii attach rate is abysmal and for real gamers games it's even worse. Yeah, 20 million people bought a Wii, but about 15 million of them just played Wii sports then forgot about it.
The Wii market might be much larger in sheer numbers, but the expected sales for a game like PoP is probably smaller.

Re:does an iphone.... (5, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295545)

It's a fact that the hardware is less capable than the others.

He didn't say that the Wii was as capable as its peers, he said that it was as capable as the best gaming systems around several years ago when we were getting games like Unreal Tournament 2004. Don't mis-quote and then dispute - That's cheating (i.e. strawman).

Is the Wii weaker than Sony and MS's systems? Yup. But, like the other guy said, it's novel and fun. And near-zero learning curve (my 2-year-old can play it and my 4-year-old can play it pretty well). It's fun to play with friends with a wide array of genres. It's just not for serious gaming. It's a toy.

But I agree with GP - The developers are lacking. It hadn't occurred to me before his post that UR2004 could be ported to Wii. But that UR football thing might just be awesome if it was done right.

Re:does an iphone.... (2, Insightful)

jidar (83795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295709)

The Wii is getting shooters so I'm not sure what you're complaining about.
I actually dispute that it is powerful enough to do UT2k4 though. I really don't think that is a given.

Re:does an iphone.... (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295747)

It's a fact that the hardware is less capable than the others.

But it's not less capable than a PS2 which had open-ended games like GTA and Jak & Daxter. For that matter, they managed to cram GTA: Chinatown Wars onto the DS, and I'm under the impression that the Wii is more capable than the DS.

No, I agree with moderatorrater: you can't objectively say that the Wii is incapable of these things. It's more accurate to say that they might be easier on other platforms in this generation, but that's not what Mattes said.

Re:does an iphone.... (4, Insightful)

jidar (83795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295663)

Looks to me like he was just pointing out, rightly, that the Wii isn't powerful enough for what he wants to do. In other words, he didn't want to make a Wii game, he wanted to make something that was more on the cutting edge of technology.

People are making good games on the Wii, but the fact is it simply isn't a very powerful machine relative to the other platforms. You can call that whining if you want but it doesn't make it any less true.

Re:does an iphone.... (3, Insightful)

buddhaunderthetree (318870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295753)

Exactly, compare the Wii specs to say the Dreamcast and tell me that the machine is the reason can't create an open world with complex AI. I think the real problem is the lack of design creativity by the publishers.

Re:does an iphone.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295227)

I would agree that an iPhone provides a watered down computing experience.

I bought one with the expectation of being able to multitask - as it turns out, only a select few apps are allowed to multitask on the iPhone. If that isn't watered down, I don't know what is...

So I returned that piece of junk and got a Blackberry Storm, and I've never looked back.

Re:does an iphone.... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295321)

On the upside, with it's controllers, Wii can do what Playstation can't do (except outlying cases like guitar hero and even then it's just buttons, if hardware such the controllers ain't default, developers don't really take advantage of it) and has games that just wouldn't be the same.

Just got my first DS(i) today after not getting anything since the original gameboy. The browsers sucks as much as on the kindle for different reasons (16mb ram, 4x more than original DSI? wow, that sucks, with ram prices, they could at least make it 96mb easy and a much more capable system), and the graphics don't match the PSP I suppose, but the two screens/touchscreen just add fun possibilities.

I like the differences between systems. Do the people who bitch and complain want one homogenized space? Is that so they can have a supersystem that plays everything? Nice fantasy, but probably get boring.

Re:does an iphone.... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295423)

People want hardcore and casual gaming. The wii caters to casual. simple, done.

Re:does an iphone.... (3, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295427)

Wii's are fun.

Exactly. But "fun" can't be captured in a spreadsheet for quarterly reports. Things like polygon count, map size, load speed, and so on, and so forth, are all readily counted and tracked. The constraints on the Wii compared to the 360 or PS3 means that while some games may lose their edge, most will be improved through the deletion of unnecessary cruft.

Think of it like your HD. If all you have is a NetBook with a 4GB SSD, you decide whether or not something is worth saving. If you have dual 1TB HD you save everything whether you need or not, and regardless of whether you will ever, ever look at it again. Then it gets filled with crap but you don't know what's important or not because you never had to choose in the first place. Its the same thing with games. Give too big of a world you can create and everything goes in whether it is actually needed or not. The catch, is that it requires more discipline, and that is also far too nebulous for a spreadsheet.

Re:does an iphone.... (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295489)

The real "match" the other systems have to make is to the Wii's pricetag and ease of use.

The casual gamer is in many ways a very different animal than the more hardcore console gamer. So it isn't a question of "watering down" the experience but making a good, fun, and easy to play game.

Pricetag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295767)

Uhh the Xbox has been cheaper than the Wii for a while now.

Re:does an iphone.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295551)

What publishers are relying on today are heavy eye candy and really nothing else. Just look at todays games and you will see they really are just the same thing over and over again. So how to these games stand out? Graphics. Now there are games out there today that are a real blast to play and DONT rely heavy graphics. Example, Okami. What makes this game fun isn't because of eye popping graphics but because of a unique story and game play.

Come on developers! Stop using the graphics crutch and start using that brain power your company hired you for!

Re:does an iphone.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295727)

Exactly.

To me, lesser power is added value because it keeps lazy developers away. Don't want those stinkin' stupid realism schmealism games on every damn platform.

Not the issue here... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295073)

Watered-down? Debatable, and open to discussion.

Overpriced, inflated, and a rip-off? That's a certainty. For what it is, it should not still cost $250.

Re:Not the issue here... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295253)

Hahah, yah because a product that only recently managed to stay in stock at most retailers, still makes a profit for their company and is really the most "value" for the money (yes, the 360 arcade is cheaper, but when you add in the $99 wireless adapter the Wii has built in, its $300). Why would Nintendo lower its price?

News at 11 (5, Insightful)

adamwright (536224) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295077)

If you design a game for a machine with 360 specs, it doesn't run very well on the Wii without redesign.

In other news, Mattes tried running Wii Sports on the 360, but it provided a "Watered down" experience.

Re:News at 11 (1)

adamwright (536224) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295143)

Too elaborate on my glib commenting, I suspect the largest reason the Wii has succeeded in the space is simply

    1 - Cost. It's cheap
    2 - Games that are easy to understand. Your Mom knows how to bowl. My computer illterate friends understand Mario Party. They're not the games you see elsewhere

The "casual" choice on the other two platforms are currently vapourware, but will certainly fail the (1) element of the above. The (2) element remains to be seen. I suspect that, this console cycle, the Wii has that mindshare sown up tight.

Re:News at 11 (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295319)

I would say (based on the past) that they will release a killer full motion control for the 360 and/or PS2.
It will be bought by 10% of the customer base, two games will be coded for it.

And that will be it.

I own a Wii and rarely use it...But I enjoyed it and it was affordable.

I do not own a PS2 or 360. Too expensive and the controllers would hurt my wrists since I already have carpal tunnel.

As others said, the Wii has a gross amount of hardware compared to very recent consoles.

The A/I issue is a red herring. The primary impact of the PS2 and 360 is higher quality graphics, not smarter AI opponents.

I don't care about higher quality graphics at those price points.

Re:News at 11 (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295581)

You know they have a PS3 out now, right? And it already has partial motion control. I certainly am going to buy the PS3 motion controllers, and I think a lot of the other PS3 owners will buy it too. What's more, developers will probably write games that utilise it too, considering the success the Wii has had. Motion controllers in the past just have been "before their time" or not accurate enough, but now it seems we can make decent motion control systems that are cheap enough for the average consumer, and the world has clearly fallen in love with it.

Re:News at 11 (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295587)

I would say (based on the past) that they will release a killer full motion control for the 360 and/or PS2.

Both have already been announced at CES. I forget what Sony has because who cares. I think it's some kind of magic wand or wang or something. It looked like a vibrator from Barbarella. Microsoft, on the other hand, pwned the show from the get-green with full-body motion capture and face recognition. If it works half as well in the real world as it does on TV, it should be fantastic. This really raises the bar when it comes to the hack value of the Xbox 360, because motion capture is heinously expensive. To have MoCap in a box available to amateur animators would be a gigantic boon.

Re:News at 11 (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295355)

Your Mom knows how to bowl.

Hey, now... keep it decent now. Mom jokes are uncalled for.

Re:News at 11 (2, Insightful)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295333)

If you design a game for a machine with 360 specs, it doesn't run very well on the Wii without redesign.

In other news, Mattes tried running Wii Sports on the 360, but it provided a "Watered down" experience.

The issue here is that the less computing/rendering power a gaming console, the harder you have to work to write a program that is equivalent to one you just wrote for a more powerful console. If the machine isn't as powerful, you have to spend more time optimizing your program to get the same level of performance.

If you connected a Wii controller to a 360, then rewriting Wii Sports to work on the 360 wouldn't be tremendously challenging from a technical standpoint. From a hardware standpoint there's nothing Wii can do that 360 or PS3 can't.

The end result of this is that game creators have less freedom in terms of what they can create on the Wii, because the limitations of the hardware are more of an imposition than on the other platforms.

Re:News at 11 (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295527)

The end result of this is that game creators have less freedom in terms of what they can create on the Wii

Game creators have had access to motion controllers AND dual-analog controllers on the Wii for some time; that is only true of the other systems in the new world about to come as announced at CES2009. We're still not there yet, so the only thing you can really say is that game creators have a different type of freedom, unless you can somehow attach numerical values for the amount of freedom attained by pushing a specific number of polygons, or having a certain type of controller.

With that said, I hope Nintendo spits out a new system sooner than they're letting on, because the Wii looks downright bad on my HDTV regardless of the component cable.

NOTHING wrong with working within constraints (4, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295087)

There is nothing at all wrong with working within the constraints of a system and eeking out the absolute best you can from 'inferior' hardware.

Infact, having limited headroom forces innovative and new methods of doing what was taken for granted before.

The liqbase UI I am creating for the nokia handhelds makes use of these principles as well :)

it simply does the best it can within the low headroom of the available hardware.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMXp0Dg_UaY [youtube.com]

Re:NOTHING wrong with working within constraints (2, Insightful)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295405)

There is nothing at all wrong with working within the constraints of a system and eeking out the absolute best you can from 'inferior' hardware.

Infact, having limited headroom forces innovative and new methods of doing what was taken for granted before.

Well, sure, but I think some people would rather spend that time making a better game, rather than fighting the limitations of the hardware, trying to get a game written for today's hardware to run on a less powerful machine.

Re:NOTHING wrong with working within constraints (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295537)

Infact, having limited headroom forces innovative and new methods of doing what was taken for granted before.

Translation : Forces rework on code that would otherwise run fine given some bigger iron to run on.

I seriously doubt that the "innovative" new methods have added any value beyond meeting performance requirements.

Give me a break (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295121)

The AI of Elika was highly advanced and required a lot of processing power; the world size and dynamic loading, the draw distance, the number of polygons in the characters... If we had done a Wii version, it would have been toned down, probably linear; it wouldn't have been an open-world game, and so it would have been a very different experience."

Then the platform is not your target. The Wii isn't about pushing the latest fast hardware to its very limits, just so you can push a ridiculous amount of polygons per second onto the screen. It is about making games that are fun... and you can CERTAINLY do that within the confines of just about any machine. Remember the IBM XT? NES? Gameboy? Some of the best games I ever played had nothing but text, running on a 10mhz processor.

Re:Give me a break (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295311)

so, how good are those games selling these days?

Re:Give me a break (0, Troll)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295757)

Due to the fact that you can play good text games for free (google "MUDs" or "Multi User Dungeons") they probably aren't selling well at all, but if you want to know the percentage of people that enjoy those games, try this formula:

x / (x + y) * 100

x = people who know that books are often much better than the equivalent movie (while movies can still be enjoyable and take much less time and effort) and that text based games can be just as much fun as the latest photorealistic creation

y = illiteral idiots

Re:Give me a break (2, Insightful)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295771)

Just check Virtual Console sells... they still sells a lot

Re:Give me a break (2, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295373)

But how many of its games are actually fun? Super Smash Bro Brawl, Mario cart, and a small few others?

Re:Give me a break (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295531)

Yeah, but how many games for the Xbox 360 and PS3 are actually fun? Fable II, Halo 3, and a small few others?

Sturgeon's Law guarantees that 90% of everything will be crap. The point here is that the Wii has a much higher number of great games than either the Xbox 360 or the PS3 do. (Of course, I can't name ANY great games for the PS3. I hear it makes a great Blu-ray player if nothing else.)

Re:Give me a break (5, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295449)

Well the worst thing about his complaints is, the new Prince of Persia wasn't a good a very good game. Elika's AI may have been complicated, but it wasn't reflected in the end-product by her doing anything very cool. The "open-world" concept of the game was pretty weak-- getting from point A to point B was linear, but you were just given the option of whether you wanted to go from point A to point B, or from point A to point C.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was a better game, and it was linear. The girl sidekick from that game was just as good as Elika. It didn't require particularly high-end hardware.

Re:Give me a break (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295705)

Indeed, when I read "complicated AI", my games dev Spider Sense translates it as "Uses more clock cycles to produces unpredictable emergent behaviour that defeats the level designers' attempts to stop the AI killing itself or humping the scenery in new retarded ways each time you play."

"AI" is for research projects. If you want an enjoyable game, simple finite state machines FTW every time. It's all about the testability.

Re:Give me a break (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295583)

Besides, Prince of Persia wasn't fun to begin with. Ubisoft just went downhill since last-gen's Sands of Time.

Why powerful game consoles are a good thing (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295639)

The AI of Elika was highly advanced and required a lot of processing power; the world size and dynamic loading, the draw distance, the number of polygons in the characters... If we had done a Wii version, it would have been toned down, probably linear; it wouldn't have been an open-world game, and so it would have been a very different experience."

Then the platform is not your target. The Wii isn't about pushing the latest fast hardware to its very limits, just so you can push a ridiculous amount of polygons per second onto the screen. It is about making games that are fun... and you can CERTAINLY do that within the confines of just about any machine. Remember the IBM XT? NES? Gameboy? Some of the best games I ever played had nothing but text, running on a 10mhz processor.

More powerful machines give you the potential for different kinds of fun. Could the NES have brought us "Katamari Damashii"? Could the SNES have brought us "Little Big Planet"? No. These games are simply, fundamentally beyond the capabilities of that hardware. Does this mean those machines weren't (or aren't) fun? Of course not - because when those machines were current people wrote a lot of fun games for them within the limitations of that hardware. But each time new powerful machines appear, they bring with them games that put that power to good use.

Now, someone writing games today can write software to fit the confines of the Wii, or they can develop for the other consoles. The point of TFA is that the two approaches don't blend well - when you write a game with the capabilities of the 360 or PS3 in mind, it doesn't translate well to the Wii. This is no different from saying that an NES game design wouldn't translate well to the Atari 2600 - the kinds of gameplay features you can incorporate and the quality of the overall experience are very much tied to the capabilities of the hardware.

Watered Down (1)

Niris (1443675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295125)

Sure the graphics and whatnot aren't the same as the PS or XBox, but half the fun of the Wii is the moving around and simplicity of a lot of the games. Group bowling on the Wii when drunk with school friends just can't be beat .

Re:Watered Down (1)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295585)

When I was a kid, we used to have to go to an actual bowling alley to get drunk and bowl with school friends. You should try it sometime, it has a neat sense of nostalgia, almost as if you are actually hurtling a real ball at real bowling pins. Does the Wii allow you to virtually drink, too? Get off my lawn.

Prince Of Persia (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295165)

That game wasn't exactly what I'd call non-linear.

News Flash. (4, Insightful)

solios (53048) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295175)

The Wii isn't designed for these kinds of games.

That's what the X-Box 360, PS3, and PC are for. The Wii is for people who want to play games they can quickly pick up and put down.

D13 H4rD G4M3RZ are NOT the target audience.

(Score -1: Obvious)

Re:News Flash. (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295351)

And still the Wii can handle hardcore games. Just look at Brawl. The problem is the publishers whine and complain whenever they have to do something thats different. There is no reason that the Wii can't do 360 games. And there is a market for hardcore games on the Wii.

Re:News Flash. (2, Insightful)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295605)

Brawl's one of the few games that doesn't use the Wii controller extensively, and you can (and should) plug in a GameCube controller to play it. But then, if you're going to make your consumers use a normal controller, why not just keep the game on 360 and PS3?

Re:News Flash. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295669)

I am waiting for ANY kind of real RTS on the WII.

I love Total Annihilation but my hands just can't handle it any more.

Re:News Flash. (0, Troll)

n30na (1525807) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295519)

Yes, i agree, D13 H4rD G4M3RZ are far too fat to play Wii games.

Re:News Flash. (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295677)

The Wii is for people who want to play games they can quickly pick up and put down.

What does graphical ability have to do with the ability to pick up and put down a game quickly? The two most addictive and hardcore games I have ever played are Nethack and Civilization 2. Either of these could easily run on a Wii.

Small, low-power, quiet, cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295181)

The other consoles may get the controllers and games for more casual pastimes, but the Wii will hold the market of people who do not want elaborate, graphics-intensive game experiences and prefer casual gaming.

Re:Small, low-power, quiet, cheap (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295365)

Oh yes, I'm sure there's huge demographic that actively don't want decent graphics!

Most people do not deliberately buy systems because they are inferior, even if they aren't technical. No, the Wii will continue to dominate because it's sold well and has a good reputation for fun, well executed, casual gaming. It's too late for the others now.

Re:Small, low-power, quiet, cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295601)

Could Wii Sports be done with more realistic graphics? Would it be as good a game?

Why not look at it from another point of view? (5, Insightful)

tonypeters (573741) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295187)

Of course it provides a 'watered down' experience - when the games in question are ports of the PS3 or the Xbox 360. The hardware and capabilities of the machine cannot compare, so the developers have to shoehorn the equivalent game into the Wii's specs and in the process, trim it down. If you look at individual titles made for the Wii (not ports of other console's games) then no, I really don't think the experience is watered down. Games are games, and people (should) be playing them for the enjoyment and competition. Maybe we should ask the question about some other consoles games that rely so much on graphics that the point of the game is lost and the entertainment factor is lost. Is this a watered down games experience?

Re:Why not look at it from another point of view? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295473)

Wish I had mod points. Excellent point.

There is a diff between life and a Game (0)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295189)

Games are NOT meant to be complex.
Life is complex.
The reason the earliest games were a success were because they were simple.
Tennis, Mario etc.
Wii does not dumb down. It makes it interactive.
They must be fools to say Wii dumbs down.

Re:There is a diff between life and a Game (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295655)

Games are NOT meant to be complex.

Oh, that must be why there are no strategy games (since recorded history), RPGs, Adventure, or Puzzle games that have ever had large followings.

Think. Then type.

Re:There is a diff between life and a Game (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295667)

There's a ton of early games that were extremely popular yet fairly complex. For example, SimCity, MS Flight Simulator, Test Drive, Zork, and King's Quest. The capabilities of the platform are irrelevant. A poor workman blames his tools.

Marry Shelley wrote Frankenstein with a quill by candlelight. Charlie Chaplin acted in movies with no sound. I think Ubisoft can manage a game about a jumping boy with a seventh-generation, games-dedicated computer system.

As plainly as possible.... (4, Insightful)

RabidMonkey (30447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295195)

I think that the Wii provides a different gaming experience. It can be summarized thusly:

My mother owns a wii. My father owns a wii. My sister owns a wii. My brother owns a Wii. My cousin owns a Wii. My 3 years old nephew uses a Wii. My grandparents have played on a Wii. Nursing homes have Wiis.

None of those people have PS3s or XBox.

Call it watered down, call it casual gaming, call it whatever. It appeals to the masses in a way that the other gaming systems don't.

Matching casual-gaming capabilities? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295221)

"whether the Wii's audience will persist after the other systems match its casual-gaming capabilities."

i.e. in the next generation. The Wii is so far ahead in this category that it is laughable to think the others will catch up.

Re:Matching casual-gaming capabilities? (1)

ParanoiaBOTS (903635) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295641)

"whether the Wii's audience will persist after the other systems match its casual-gaming capabilities."

i.e. in the next generation. The Wii is so far ahead in this category that it is laughable to think the others will catch up.

You know it's typically companies with a mindset like this that go bankupt...oh about the time the next gen game systems come out. I mean look at the XBOX marketplace, there has been a surge in good casual games that are coming out there(braid, castle crashers, etc) I really think you underestimate what M$ and Sony are going to do to combat the Wii

Re:Matching casual-gaming capabilities? (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295773)

Every gaming platform has casual games. Catching up is a matter of mindshare and nothing more. Wii launched as a casual machine while the others marketed themselves to caffeinated tweens. Xbox and Playstation established themselves as a device for hardcore gamers while Wii appealed to everybody else. All parties hit their targets and are having trouble spreading beyond their self-fashioned niches.

Only when you do lazy ports (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295223)

It goes without saying that a lazy port of a title to a system with insufficient power to run the original, with chunks cut out to make it fit, will be a piece of shit. It's as true now as when they unveiled Duke 3D for the Game.Com. That tells us absolutely F-all about the remaining 90% of Wii software that wasn't pumped out as a high-return bond by investor-fellating cash-mongers.

Re:Only when you do lazy ports (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295323)

(90% may be an overestimate, BTW. The point stands.)

A matter of how you look at it (3, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295239)

I guess you could flip the flamebait around and ask do PS3 and XBOX360 provide watered-down game experiences for offering games that depend on pretty graphics and not enjoyable gameplay.

Wii is the only current system I have (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295249)

I spend more time playing with my Xbox, PC, and even my Pocket PC (lately anyway) than with my Wii. Yet, the Wii is the only system of the current generation that I've bothered to buy. I bought it basically because of Wii Fit; that is why Microsoft is now, for me, a viable competitor what with their new MoCap stuff. I find it easiest to play casual games on Pocket PC or PC; both of these are always on (or sleeping) and I don't have to fight with anyone to get access to the display device.

The thing that's yet kept me from buying an Xbox has actually been the lack of Blu-Ray support. The PS3 is not a compelling enough package to me even with one, but the Xbox 360 would be. Unfortunately, it's not really on the list of things to do over at Microsoft. I guess they'll have to knock my socks completely off with their new motion capture equipment in order to pull me in.

("Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division" is a complete moron [ign.com] BTW. No Blu-Ray for Xbox 360 because current players don't want it. Guess what? Those players that want Blu-Ray in their console bought a PS3. Maybe someone who isn't one of your customers now would be if you sold them what they want to buy. Nobody asked for HD-DVD, lots of people have asked for Blu-Ray.)

Wii vs others (1)

Psychotic_Wrath (693928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295259)

I feel like Nintendo spent more time on making the wii revolutionary than they spent on making the wii the next big box with a ton of processors and a good graphics chip. That wasn't the purpose of the wii. The Wii was made to be something different. It was different and it is fun. I suspect that there will be another "wii" that hasthe graphics that are appreciated.

Wii Aqua (2, Funny)

NickyGotz22 (1427691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295269)

In other news, Wii has now announced the release of 'Wii Aqua' in order to help its MANY over weight users make the most of their useless WiiFits (most likely being used as a foot rest) and drowned themselves to insure the ultimate 'Watered-Down' gaming experience

Is it a bad thing? (3, Insightful)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295279)

While certain games (mostly sandbox) require massive ram, processing power, etc to stay competitive (Dead Rising), is it a bad thing that there is a less capable gaming platform out there? Yes, while games like Cooking Mama, Wii Fit, and Mario Party are watering down gaming, the graphics limitations aren't necessarily the cause here.

I wonder what the development cost for a top notch wii game is. I wonder if its less than one for the PC or other newest gen console. I get the feeling that the reduced graphics and memory put a limit on how many nosehairs you need to bump map for the protagonist. Hopefully, the reduced hardware capabilities mean that the devs don't have to shoot for photorealism and don't need the huge teams to create content. The reduced hardware capabilities = less people required to push a system's graphics to its limit and you don't need a stadium full of graphic artists, AI programmers, mappers, and the more technical side of development just to keep up with the competition. Hopefully this reduced cost will allow GOOD (key word here, as in not bad or cheap) developers to focus more time on building more maps, fleshing out the story more, and generally trading graphics for immersion/world/playtime. I realize that last sentiment is wishful thinking, but a nerd can hope, right?

I fired up AVP2 not too long ago and it was still a very enjoyable experience. There are also wii games that are very enjoyable. You don't need to have the world painted in photo-realistic brown rubble to have an enjoyable experience. You also don't need to be looking at characters so realistic they're this side of the uncanny valley to suspend belief into believing that something is trying to kill you and facehump your friends.

Um, no (5, Insightful)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295291)

The Wii doesn't provide a "watered-down" game experience.

The developers who port a game to the Wii as an after-thought provide a "watered-down" game experience.

Re:Um, no (1)

pianogirl95 (895096) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295717)

Exactly! If I had mod points...

No. (2, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295293)

No.

The Megadrive, SNES, Cell Phones, and Game Boy all have exceptional games created for them. The only difference between those devices and the WII is that the WII almost requires you to use the motion capture controller and while we've spent over thirty years designing games using joysticks, controllers, and similarly keyboards this motion capture thing is still very new.

Let's also consider, that because out of the top three platforms only one supports motion capture, you might see less of a return on your investment as opposed to just creating a traditional game with existing code and hitting the 360, PS3, and PC.

TLDR:
  - Technology
  - Creativity
  - Existing Code / Legacy
  - And most of all MONEY

Stand in the way of exceptional games on the WII.

Re:No. (2, Insightful)

Sabz5150 (1230938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295499)

No.

The Megadrive, SNES, Cell Phones, and Game Boy all have exceptional games created for them. The only difference between those devices and the WII is that the WII almost requires you to use the motion capture controller and while we've spent over thirty years designing games using joysticks, controllers, and similarly keyboards this motion capture thing is still very new.

Let's also consider, that because out of the top three platforms only one supports motion capture, you might see less of a return on your investment as opposed to just creating a traditional game with existing code and hitting the 360, PS3, and PC.

TLDR: - Technology - Creativity - Existing Code / Legacy - And most of all MONEY

Stand in the way of exceptional games on the WII.

It's called the "Classic Controller". It allows you to play a game in the traditional method. So does flipping the Wiimote sideways.

The problem is that developers see this motion sensing technology and scream "GIMMICK! WE MUST IMPLEMENT GIMMICK!!!!"

sales of the wii (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295341)

sales of the wii has gone from 1million a month to 80,000 a month. that's worse than the dreamcast slump. they end up in a closest unused.

Sure are a lot of butthurt Wii fans here (0, Troll)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295361)

Seriously. The article is pretty straightforward and asks a pretty simple question.

The bunch of posts here whinging about how the Wii is superiorblahblahblahwhargarbl are stupid. The Wii can't handle games that require a certain amount of storage and a ton of processing power. The PS3 and 360 can handle casual games.

It'd be a lot easier for the latter to develop a larger casual games base, than the Wii to start being able to handle games that require beefier hardware.

Re:Sure are a lot of butthurt Wii fans here (1)

madpuppy (96129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295687)

excellent, you actually are one of the few sane posters on this topic.

Bollocks (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295367)

While I agree that most games on the Wii tend to be lacking in depth compared to the types of games that you get on other systems, I take issue with this:

If we had done a Wii version, it would have been toned down, probably linear; it wouldn't have been an open-world game, and so it would have been a very different experience."

If the DS and PSP can handle Grand Theft Auto III games including dynamic loading (the PSP definitely can, though I only noticed the DS version of GTA was out the other day and I don't feel the urge to dust off my DS to have a go of it), there's no reason at all that the Wii can't do dynamic loading too.

I agree that the AI would probably need optimisation/cutting back and the graphics would need simplified models and effects, but I expect they probably just don't consider it worth the time it would take to do all of that rather than it being impossible to create a game that approaches the same level of gameplay. Having said that, I haven't played any of the Prince of Persia games since the 2D original (and the HD remake). Perhaps the AI is something rather special, or there are hundreds of enemies to simulate at once? Attempting a situation like the last level of Heavenly Sword with literally thousands of enemies probably wouldn't be possible on the Wii without slowing to a crawl.

Re:Bollocks (4, Interesting)

metamatic (202216) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295665)

The Jak and Daxter games on the PS2 used dynamic loading, and the PS2 hardware was clearly inferior to the Wii in every respect.

And check out the reviews of GTA Chinatown Wars for DS, Rockstar clearly put the effort in to think about what the DS could do best, and build the game around that.

Then again, the Prince of Persia team have a history of crappy ports. Their last Wii title was a horrible port with a frame rate that dropped through the floor during the final battle, even though it was derived from the PS2 game.

The Wii can have complexity, but maybe shouldn't (2, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295385)

The Wii has the hardware to make very solid, deep, complex games work. That was possible on a 386. Sure, the Wii is going to have "watered-down" graphics, but graphics don't stand in the way of greatness.

So why would the Wii version have, as mentioned in TFS, a likelihood of being linear and less satisfying for certain players? The Wii has attracted huge numbers of casual gamers, hence it's gigantic install base. Most of these people, however, aren't interested in a very deep experience, because that's never been how the Wii was advertised. I'd wager that the number of potential customers looking for very involved games is much higher among PS3, 360, and of course PC owners than among Wii owners. If you're going to make something for the Wii, it's extremely hard to target this small subset when the casual gamers offer a potentially much more lucrative alternative.

Guilty as charged (4, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295393)

I am one of those that doesn't give two shits how many polygons does the animation have. I find shooters to be utterly boring. Finally, since Ubisoft put their mitts on Heroes of Might and Magic, they (IMHO) devastated the game, which used to be fun - now it's just a big 3D graphic masturbation (I hate when I can't rotate the view in any way, to see what is the path a creature can walk on).

If the typical Wii user is like me, Ubisoft should keep the hell out of it. Ubisoft wouldn't know a fun game if it hit them in the collective head.

Metroid: Other M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295445)

If the next Metroid done by Team Ninja is a watered-down gaming experience, then you can keep your Xbox 360 and PS3 games.

Any idiot can code games for powerful systems, wasted cycles and inefficient code still runs fast enough. So why don't you just admit that your programmers are too incompetent to code for less powerful hardware.

Re:Metroid: Other M (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295535)

Hardware's (relatively) cheap. The new metric for code is not how efficient it is, but how quickly it can be churned out.

Of course it does. (0, Offtopic)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295459)

I just have never understood the appeal of console gaming.

I started out gaming on an Atari 2600. Since that day, I have been buying better and better computing hardware for playing games. The PC is not only a much better gaming platform, it is multi-functional.

Consoles are like going backwards to me. I do not understand the appeal. Anything a console can do a PC can do.

Re:Of course it does. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295725)

Anything a console can do a PC can do.

Can I buy any game in the store's "PC" section and have it work on the PC I have?

moron writer (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295467)

Obviously another journo-troll saying something stupid to get people worked up. Fuck it, I'll bite.

The gaming arms race has been about fancier graphics, bigger worlds, and more shiny. Consoles are fucking expensive these days! Seriously expensive. Games cost a mint and don't even get me started on the dev costs. GTAIV cost $100 million to make? Insane. Good game but insane. But this is the battle Sony and Microsoft wanted to fight.

Nintendo said "Hey, is shiny shooter 2.0 any better than shiny shooter 1.0? If the gameplay is pretty much the same but the graphics look better, does that make it more fun? What if all the budget was spent on the shiny and nothing was left to pay for fun?" So their idea was to not go for the high-end. There were two consoles already competing on shiny. Nintendo decided to do something very, very different with the motion controller.

What's the end result? Games unlike what's available on the other consoles, at least when it's done right. By keeping the specs on the machine down, not going HD, Nintendo said they were emphasizing affordability. It can certainly run games that would have been considered shiny last generation but it can't keep up with the ps3 and 360, it wasn't meant to. Complaining that the Wii can't handle a AAA title originally meant for those two systems is missing the point in the most spectacular fail tradition imaginable.

The controller is what makes it casual. (1)

neo (4625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295475)

The Wii controller is what allows it to be casual. Casual gamers do not want a controller with more than 2 buttons and 1 directional controller. Look at the PSP or X-Box controller and it's simply not casual. Game controllers for casual gamers should be no more complicated than the controls for driving a car. Anything beyond that is too much to learn and casual gamers aren't about steep learning curves.

Unless X-Box and PSP come out with simplified controllers (like the Guitars in Guitar Hero) then you wont see casual gamers moving over even if the games are simplified.

Re:The controller is what makes it casual. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295703)

Game controllers for casual gamers should be no more complicated than the controls for driving a car.

That's interesting, because my car has more controls on it that I would use while driving than the Wii remote does. I have two analog controls on the floor and another one in front of me; One of those controls is redundant but only in some ways and during some conditions to a small stalk on the side of my steering wheel. Then there's another stalk to control the cleanliness of my windscreen, and indeed another stalk which controls most of the functions of my signal lights, except for making them flash together to tell people to go around me if I am stopped in the way somewhere, which is a switch in the console, which we'll come back to later after I talk about the headlight/foglight switch...

Correction, sorry (again) (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295769)

This is my day for errors. I said my car has more controls on it that I would use while driving than the Wii remote does. and what I meant to say is than the Xbox controller does, or something. Massive edit fail. The point I really wanted to make (which should not have required a separate comment) was that many people can't fucking handle that many controls while they drive. A car is too complicated. The Wii remote is way less complicated than a car, and that's why it works. You point it at stuff, you have a couple of buttons. The DVD player introduced people to the D-pad, so they can handle those now :)

Silk Purse (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295483)

The Wii itself is not the problem. It's technical specs are not the problem. The problem is the people making games for it and their overall lackluster approach to the whole process. Nintendo and their marketing are to blame for this.

When they ported Resident Evil 4 to the Wii with new controls, they managed to make it look worse than the original Gamecube version which could be run from the very same console. This is typical of the kind of shoddy workmanship that is put into most Wii games. Games like Mario Galaxy and Metroid show what the Wii is capable of if effort is put in, but most developers aren't willing to go to such lengths.

It's not just graphics. The overall quality of Wii games is consistently lower than the average for PS2, DS and Gamecube titles. Games are short, rely too much on motion control, lack additional content and generally fall far below the value for money mark. Universally, developers have decided that Wii owners are 4-10 year olds and soccer moms who will spend $60 and 60 minutes on a game before becoming bored. The way you have to flail your arms about to play some titles, I can't say I really blame them.

As an experiment, the Wii has both hugely succeeded and epically failed. Yes, it has succeeded in selling game consoles to a massively wider mainstream market. But it has also succeeded in proving that in any industry, the mainstream market does not desire quality. The mainstream wants crud. They spend huge amounts on sugary gop and if you serve them up sirloin they'll complain because they prefer the slop.

The doom of the Wii has been sealed by its user base and existing game library. It doesn't matter if the next Zelda game surpasses the Ocarina of Time or if the definitive FPS of our time is a Wii exclusive. Most existing Wii owners do not want "Triple A" titles or anything close to it. They want Cooking Mama and Wii Fit and Mario Kart, because that's want Nintendo has told them they want, and that's what they got and thats all they'll ever want now.

So, no developer is really going to spend the effort making a quality Wii title. They're going to make crud. As times passed, this became a self fulfilling prophecy to the point that normal video game players stopped buying Wii's or sold them. The fate of Madworld, poor as it was, is indicative of this trend. It's now a vicious circle which the Wii, and probably Nintendo, have no hope of ever escaping.

The Wii could have been a success story. Ultimately, graphics don't count for a awful lot when it comes to quality titles, and the breadth and depth of titles on the PS2 prove what can be done with limited hardware. Alas, the Wii did not take this route. Instead of providing affordable quality, it has provided cheap, and you got what you paid for.

It didn't have to be like this. The Wii could have been the next PS2. But it isn't. Instead it's the next MySpace.

Gamers just don't get it (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295493)

We, as "hardcore" gamers, are trying so hard to wrap our heads around what Nintendo is doing with the Wii. We don't get it. All the time it's "Why don't they have better games for it", "They're toys, people don't play them after a couple months", "Would the experience be watered down" or "What happens when casual games catch up on the 360/PS3". We're trying to fit the round Wii into our traditional square "Gamers" hole and it just doesn't fit.

The truth of the matter is that Nintendo doesn't care about us anymore. Now, that's a little bit of hyperbole of course, but the truth of the matter is that Nintendo figured out that the so called "casual gamers" were ready, willing, and able to spend just as much on their hobby as the hardcore. In other words, they were ready to move past Minesweeper and freebie Popcap games, and try games that offered considerably better gameplay, yet didn't necessarily require you to memorize complex combos or secret techniques to be successful. Hence, the Wii and it's motion controls, and the type of games it specializes in.

Is the Wii underpowered compared to the 360 or PS3? Probably. Does the motion control present a challenge to companies who are so used to d-pads and analog sticks and such? It seems like it. But if you're Nintendo, who cares? They sold 50 million of them. It's already sold better than the original XBox, 360, PS3, GameCube, SNES, 2600, and anything Sega has ever put out.

Nintendo doesn't care if hardcore's don't like the Wii. It's the 9th or 10th best selling console of all time regardless. The Wii isn't coming to us; it's up to us to decide if we want to come to the Wii (pun intended). There are still plenty of fun, unique, challenging games available for the Wii (even though they might not resemble the games you're used to playing), with surely many more to come. Whether you choose to embrace this or not is of course your choice, but it's time to stop wishing/hoping/demanding that the Wii is going to fit into your hole (again with the puns).

Re:Gamers just don't get it (2, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295627)

It isn't a matter of demanding that the Wii fit into a particularly shaped hole. It's the fact that a 360 or PS3 can be marketed to both casual gamers and hardcore gamers (keep in mind that I think both of those terms are, at best, vague, and probably near-useless in terms of actual population specifiers). The Wii cannot. Yes, you can make some relatively complex games with the Wii, but it will not push the envelope in terms of complex or AAA titles.

future of Wii (1)

ThumperByTrade (653117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295573)

"The question remains, as Kotaku points out, whether the Wii's audience will persist after the other systems match its casual-gaming capabilities."

People act like Nintendo can't make a more powerful version of the Wii. They got a good market share by providing a fun and unique gaming experience at a price that most people can afford. Releasing another version of the console that has the power of a PS3 is easy to do and if that's what it takes to compete, I'm sure they will.

polygons and "open worlds" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28295619)

*rolls eyes*
Yeah, because the experience is entirely about polygons and "open worlds".

Its the games .. (3, Insightful)

StandAloneMatt (913278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295621)

Did the PS2 persist once the Xbox came and reduced the PS2 to a graphically "watered down" experience. Its not the tech, its the games - the first time Microsoft or Sony show the ingenuity and skill to produce something as intuitive and universal as Wii Sports or Wii Fit, then Nintendo might have some competition in the "casual" arena. Until we see some games and support Natal and whatever the PS3 motion controller is called is nothing but a Sega Activator/Eye Toy/Six-Axis wannabe and not a real factor.

What about next gen wii (1)

wisesifu (1358043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295629)

Will this really be valid when the next Wii machine is released. I mean for now it may have lower powered hardware, but will it always be the case? I think that this was an experiment for nintendo. Now that they know it has succeed I think the next version of the Wii will match performance.

Let me rephrase... (1)

lordtrickster (904974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295635)

Does flag footbool provide a watered-down gaming experience? (See NFL)
Do softball or kickball provide a watered-down gaming experience? (See MLB)
Does "horse" provide a watered-down basketball experience? (See NBA)

um (1)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#28295729)

I do believe that the Wii was created for casual gamers not hardcore. They wanted to get the part of the market that just wants to pick up the controller play for an hour or less then leave. Just look at the high selling titles besides Nintendo ones all are party type games. The game creators are just whining cause its not what they are use to, its too different for them to understand not everyone out there is a die hard gamer. I own a Wii, 360 and PC each one was created with a different idea and aimed at a different crowd.
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