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THQ Clarifies Claims of "Horrible, Slow" Wii U CPU

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the damage-control dept.

Nintendo 281

An anonymous reader writes "THQ has clarified comments made by 4A Games' chief technical officer, Oles Shishkovtsov, about why their upcoming first-person shooter, Metro, won't be available for Nintendo's new Wii U console. Shishkovtsov had told NowGamer, '[The] Wii U has a horrible, slow CPU,' by way of explaining why a Wii U version of Metro wasn't in the works. Now, THQ's Huw Beynon has provided a more thorough (and more diplomatic) explanation: 'It's a very CPU intensive game. I think it's been verified by plenty of other sources, including your own Digital Foundry guys, that the CPU on Wii U on the face of it isn't as fast as some of the other consoles out there. Lots of developers are finding ways to get around that because of other interesting parts of the platform. ... We genuinely looked at what it would take to bring the game to Wii U. It's certainly possible, and it's something we thought we'd like to do. The reality is that would mean a dedicated team, dedicated time and effort, and it would either result in a detriment to what we're trying to focus on or we probably wouldn't be able to do the Wii U version the justice that we'd want.'"

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What does it matter? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081931)

Most of the multi-platform titles are crappy xbox ports anyway. Woo, DirectX9!

Re:What does it matter? (2)

JavaBear (9872) | about 2 years ago | (#42082235)

Well, when doing cross platform, you sometimes have to code for the lowest common denominator

Re:What does it matter? (3, Insightful)

partyguerrilla (1597357) | about 2 years ago | (#42082449)

Which is why PC gaming is force-fed shitty console ports that look and play like ass with mouse and keyboard. Good thing console sales have been on the decline every month this year, hopefully console gaming will die and we'll get decent PC games again.

Re:What does it matter? (3, Funny)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 2 years ago | (#42082515)

Your hyperbole is as tired and rehashed as the blowjibbers your mother hands out like candy behind the local corner store. First and foremost we live in a glorious capitalistic society which we recently honored on Friday leaving no doubt as to our consumptional mores. Therefore it seems disingenuous to me that it is the existence of the console platform is what shackles you to your shitty ports, you and your PC gaming brethren could no doubt vote with your wallets? Or perhaps it just isn't as big a deal as your vitriol fueled post here would lead us to believe? Or perhaps the PC gaming market just isn't that valuable to those that create mainstream games.... Hmmmm. Of course I wouldn't expect a person like you to look at the world in anything other than the immediate, let alone over the course of decades where you would see console sales always slipping this far into a life cycle. But who knows? Hopefully I'm wrong and you can get back to that glorious rose-tinted yesteryear of Grus and ASCII graphics. That is the hey-day you'r referring to isn't it? Or is the glorious era of FMV? Or isometric pseudo-3d? Obviously it doesn't matter as any era of PC gaming was glorious and absolutely head and shoulders above our current console induced catastrophe of gaming we now weather. That fee bro.

Damage control by THQ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081937)

... because Nintendo is still stupid when it comes to the long term health of their console sadly. If we see third parties abandon Nintendo's new console again everyone nay-saying against Nintendo's ineptitude will have their concerns about poor 3rd party support confirmed once again.

While Nintendo is certainly a profitable company it seems the corporate culture there lives in a bubble when it comes to winning the long term war.

Better get used to it, THQ (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081977)

I have a strong suspicion that Microsoft and Sony's next hardware is only going to be a modest step up from this current generation. Sony's taken about five billion dollars of losses on the PS3, and recently had their bond rating downgraded to junk territory, while Microsoft took substantial losses on the RROD debacle. Simply put, nobody can afford a repeat of the seventh generation of the console wars. Except for Nintendo, which, between the Wii and the DS, pretty much had a license to print money. Third party problems notwithstanding, Nintendo's lower-end hardware approach seems to be the only sustainable one, and I think Microsoft and Sony would have to be asleep at the wheel to fail to recognize that in time for the upcoming eighth generation.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082017)

I'm doubtful. Ridiculous amounts of RAM are extremely cheap nowadays, and even a low-end Core i3 is leaps and bounds more powerful than what's in the current consoles.

Keep in mine that these consoles were launched IN 2006, and the Wii U's processor isn't even able to keep up. That's how shitty it is.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (3, Interesting)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#42082031)

I've never understood why consoles don't simply have more RAM. Even in 2006, it was cheap enough to put in more than what the PS3 and 360 have. Right now, you can get 16GB of DDR3 RAM for $50 from Newegg, which is obviously higher than what manufacturers pay. Will it make the system cost a bit more to produce? Yes. Would it cost that much more to produce? Probably not.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (4, Insightful)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 2 years ago | (#42082039)

DDR DIMMs are cheap yes, but extra capacity adds cost and complexity. PC motherboards have DIMM sockets and motherboards with 4 DIMM sockets cost more than motherboards with 2, motherboards with 8 cost more than 4. On consoles this cost is still present in the form of motherboard design and it's multiplied by millions of consoles which are often sold below cost.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 2 years ago | (#42082537)

That and with the exception of the WiiU consoles don't use commodity RAM. It's memory the video card has to use, not just the system tasks and you absolutely do not want desktop RAM there.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (4, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#42082609)

Sounds like a design failure on the part of the console manufacturers to me.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42082713)

why not have 3 room pools DDR-2/3/4 CPU ram. Fast Video ram.

slower DDR for a ram disk / temp disk does not need to be as fast as CPU ram and it's just temp stuff so no need for the added costs of a SSD and wear issues.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (4, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#42082057)

Consoles traditionally were single purpose devices. The OS consumed next to nothing and the game could have most of it. Plus, games were supposed to be tweaked to come in as low in resouce usage as possible.

Obviously, some of that has changed with them able to stream netflix/browse/online gaming. Even the Wii U, which has 2GB ram, 1/2 of that is dedicated to the games and GPU and the other half to the OS, which is pretty damn disgusting, if you think about it.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42082445)

Consoles traditionally were single purpose devices. The OS consumed next to nothing and the game could have most of it

How traditional are we getting? Traditionally, consoles didn't even have an OS...

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (4, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#42082467)

Nowadays developers expect a console to be easy to develop for as well. That has harmed the PS3 a lot, when the 360 and Wii were relatively easy to get on with. The next generation will be even easier, which means more RAM and a bigger OS footprint to provide services like network connectivity and online profile management.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (3, Insightful)

RCL (891376) | about 2 years ago | (#42082649)

Also, nowadays it's hard to find programmers who truly realize that memory is not an unlimited resource. Academia supplies pokemons who can only do higher level programming and cannot be bothered with "hardware specific details" like these.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082181)

You don't need that much RAM. 16 GB is still 70-80. Assume 50 since Sony and Microsoft are ordering in volumes. That's 1/6 of retail price. Not to mention they need the much faster and more expensive GDDR to feed the GPU.

Even now games don't require 4 GB of system ram.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#42082191)

It's higher than what they pay but not (much) higher than they'd have to charge to cover the costs - after all, it still has to be shipped around and handled. And consoles are about price points - $399 plus an extra controller, game, and tax is rough, but should come out just under $500. You don't want to break that price point for something that isn't critical. RAM has always been tight on consoles.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

GNious (953874) | about 2 years ago | (#42082209)

Seems to be different types of RAM - the RAM used for the GPU in PS3 was stated as being however insanly expensive...
no, not going to dig up articles and whatnut, but if the Console Makers opt to use specialty components for things like RAM, it stands to reason that pricing is not directly comparable to what we buy of-the-shelf for our whitebox PCs.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 2 years ago | (#42082269)

Console RAM is specialized stuff, not standard PC style RAM. The PS2 used high speed Rambus RDRAM much much faster than PC RAM of the time...the PS2 had insane memory bandwidth.

The PS3 is similar with Rambus supplied XDRAM.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (5, Insightful)

bigdavex (155746) | about 2 years ago | (#42082277)

I've never understood why consoles don't simply have more RAM. Even in 2006, it was cheap enough to put in more than what the PS3 and 360 have. Right now, you can get 16GB of DDR3 RAM for $50 from Newegg, which is obviously higher than what manufacturers pay. Will it make the system cost a bit more to produce? Yes. Would it cost that much more to produce? Probably not.

$25 x 70 million units = $1.75 billion

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082447)

Remember that the console development started a couple years beforehand and that would be guessing and hoping ram prices will drop (they likely would, but it is NOT a guarentee). Plus even an extra $10 per console is a lot. It adds up VERY quickly, since you now need to also coordinate and ship more pieces, have better yields, etc. And for what gain?
There is nothing wrong with keeping developers a little starved, the make some of their best work when they are forced to be creative.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#42082489)

$25 x 70 million units = $1.75 billion

Over the six+ year lifetime of the console? When the 360 and PS3 debuted with 512MB of RAM $25 was probably as reasonable estimate of cost in volume, but nowadays you are probably looking at around $1. Seriously, take a look at RAM IC prices on Alibaba.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (3, Interesting)

Narishma (822073) | about 2 years ago | (#42082281)

For various reasons, the consoles don't use cheap PC-style DDR RAM.

Because it has to share it between the CPU and GPU, the Xbox 360 uses the high-bandwidth GDDR3, which was very expensive in 2005 when it launched.
Sony being Sony, the PS3 uses high speed XDR RAM, the successor to Rambus' RDRAM, which ended up losing to DDR2 in the PC space. They are basically the only ones using it, so it's very expensive.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (-1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 2 years ago | (#42082157)

that's not what happened though.

IBM made a custom CPU based on the Power architecture. Think old powerPC type macs, but less powerful.

There's less processing power in the wii u than the xbox 360 and ps3 currently have.

Nintendo is banking on developers utilizing other aspects of the hardware to make games.

Like your crappy old cellphone, but brand spanking new and crappy.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

aaron552 (1621603) | about 2 years ago | (#42082523)

Last I checked, the XBox360 and the PS3 use PowerPC CPUs too. The XBox360 has a triple-core PowerPC CPU and the PS3's CPU is a single PowerPC core (PPE) with 7 SPEs.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#42082177)

Not when your company isn't rolling in money and can't afford any real risks (Sony) or your company risks the next version of its big money maker tanking and therefore can't upset shareholders even more by repeating the same mistakes (Microsoft).

A lot of publishers and developers have struggled to get by due to costs too. I'm not entirely sure they're looking forward to starting the whole process over again with higher costs. I'm not sure consumers are that into buying up DLC either to cover costs.

If I were Sony or Microsoft I would relieved Nintendo didn't put something out there that's super advanced and just ride things out for at least another two years. The jump in graphics will probably be smaller than at any other time anyway so why risk it when the economy is still shit and people maybe aren't that keen on spending loads on a new console?

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

Jetra (2622687) | about 2 years ago | (#42082565)

Sony takes plenty of risks, just not notable ones. 3D Dot Game Heroes was a real risk. Yes, I know they re-release the same two games over and over, but they actually value bringing quality games to the consumer. What about games like Eufloria and Noby Noby Boy? I'm sure that LittleBigPlanet could have been considered a risk at the time.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082205)

ugh, first off a i3 is a completly different (slower) architecture, and second nintendo usually clocks there cpu's way down so they can have a small/quiet/reliable console. which is perfectly acceptable, wanted actually.
and finally when it comes to the vast majority of games the GPU does the heavy lifting and upgrating the cpu does little, the wii has a great gpu, and thus why it's comprable to the ps3/360 but is smaller and quieter.

you calling the cpu "shitty" is both rude and uninformed

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082567)

ugh, first off a i3 is a completly different (slower) architecture

It's time to stop posting, champ.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (3, Interesting)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 2 years ago | (#42082289)

Not shitty, just modestly spec'd and priced. Most games don't need all that extra power, and for the ones that do I have my PC. I never even touch my 360 anymore, just Wii and PC. Wii is perfect for hanging out in the living room with my kids and playing games. PC is perfect for late nights up in the bedroom, headphones. Best of both worlds..

MS can make a PC / X86 based system that can be (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42082023)

MS can make a PC / X86-64 based system that can be setup for TV / game pad use but also let the same games run on any X86-64 based PC as well and sell it as a media box and have no lock in so they don't piss off OEM's and EU laws.

Re:MS can make a PC / X86 based system that can be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082053)

And here's the thing... so can Valve.

Re:MS can make a PC / X86 based system that can be (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#42082093)

Anybody could, but in consoles, lock-in is a goal. They don't make money on the consoles. They make money on games and subscriptions.

Re:MS can make a PC / X86 based system that can be (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | about 2 years ago | (#42082641)

They don't make money on the consoles.

Unless you're Nintendo, that is. How do you think they made a fortune selling tons of Wii consoles with bundled Wii Sports that never saw a second game? By making profit on each console sold, that's how.

Re:MS can make a PC / X86 based system that can be (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42082661)

so sell the games to pc users as well. With DLC add ons.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about 2 years ago | (#42082087)

ORLY? The new console has to be powerful otherwise iPad or a high-end smartphone might be a sufficient replacement.

Nexgen console should be "future proof" enough to handle upcoming games like the ever demanding "Elder Scrolls" franchise and similar titles.

It looks like Nintendo is cutting corners by using a mobile grade CPU to gain some profit from the hardware. Also, I've noticed on Wikipedia, the drive has no Blu-ray compatibility? That is no good news either.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#42082255)

According to geekbench, the PS3 scores about 956 for it's CPU, while the XBox 360 has not been scored, other than when running XNA code (which scored less than 400). If the WiiU is about as powerful as the PS3, then the current iPad's CPU is about twice already (scoring 1750). Sony claimed that the PS Vita had a GPU as powerful as the PS3's, the vita has a PowerVR SGX 543 MP4, exactly the same as the iPad. That implies that the iPad is already a more capable or equal machine than the PS3 in terms of CPU, GPU and RAM.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#42082607)

That's pure crap, except for the absolute amount memory. While Power is crap when compared with x86, the processors inside the Wii, Wii U, 360 and PS3 are still way ahead of any ARM design. Same goes for GPUs. RAM bandwidth is much higher than on any SoC.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#42082097)

Also since the Wii U is sold at a "Loss" that only need to sell 1 Game for each console to make up for that "Loss". Nintendo is thus still selling at a Profit which is what they've always done.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | about 2 years ago | (#42082665)

What are you talking about? Nintendo has always sold consoles with profit.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1, Redundant)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 2 years ago | (#42082127)

it's already been confirmed, the PS4 will be off-the-shelf PC hardware. They're focusing on the ecosystem.

Xbox, if rumors are to be believed, will have two different hardware versions. And will perhaps even run on a PC.

They'll all have to compete with the steambox.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082175)

Microsoft can afford to release a incontestably best-specced console, and it would be the end of PlayStation if they did.

The old ruthless MS would have gleefully crushed Sony, but the post-antitrust MS will probably do Sony a favor, and perhaps make smaller losses on their own console sales as an added bonus.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (0)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42082351)

Microsoft can afford to release a incontestably best-specced console, and it would be the end of PlayStation if they did.

That's not true at all. Did you completely miss the part where the Wii raped both the Xbox and PS3 last generation? Duh.

Besides, most Xbox games seem to come out for Windows eventually. Even other consoles when it comes to the indie games. I basically got my Xbox just to play games like Limbo, but now they're available all over the place.

Halo is pretty shit as FPSes go. The only other Xbox exclusive I've seen that might be remotely worth it is the Fable series.

And ultimately, there are a few exclusive series that it would make it worthwhile for me to get a PlayStation 4: Gran Turismo, LittleBigPlanet, and Uncharted. I don't care if the Xbox has better graphics. My PC kicks my PS3's ass in graphics terms, but I'm still happy with the graphics on PS3. Sure I'm going to play any Elder Scrolls games on PC from now on because they're so demanding, but for stuff like Assassin's Creed, I actually prefer playing on my PS3. I haven't used my 360 or Wii for years, because there aren't any exclusive games out for them that really interest me.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about 2 years ago | (#42082679)

Microsoft can afford to release a incontestably best-specced console, and it would be the end of PlayStation if they did.

That's not true at all. Did you completely miss the part where the Wii raped both the Xbox and PS3 last generation? Duh.

No, he's saying Sony can't take another round of massive losses on the Playstation platform. Microsoft can shrug off a five billion dollar loss on a high-spec console with spare change in their couch.

Sony, can't.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about a year ago | (#42082715)

I haven't used my 360 or Wii for years, because there aren't any exclusive games out for them that really interest me.

I agree on the Wii (god that console sucks; plus, by the time you get a charger+batteries for its very hungry waggle sticks, a light bar that works more than 6ft away, and a full set of controllers+attachments because god knows no one wants to bring theirs over since they're the most annoying to sync/resync, it wasn't even cheap anymore), but the 360 has one must-have exclusive:

The updated Perfect Dark re-release.

If you haven't bought it, you should. It's glorious.

It's pretty sad that it's still a solid contender for best local multiplayer console FPS, all these years later. I guess that's a niche and ever-shrinking market these days, though :-(

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about 2 years ago | (#42082179)

I have a strong suspicion that Microsoft and Sony's next hardware is only going to be a modest step up from this current generation

It is rather easy to predict that in the end it will be faster then their current offering otherwise there would be no point in releasing new hardware. The WiiU has in some regards difficulties to keep up with 6-7 year old hardware. In that sense I find the 300 or 350 euro's they are asking, very expensive. I can pick up a PS3 or 360 for 150 - 200 euro's...

It really surprise me that for that prices then can only come up with this. The tablet is one thing but if I can buy a 7 tablet with a capacitive screen, multi touch with a lot more processing power for 50$ in china at wholesale prices, I don't believe that it costs a lot more for a boatload of tablets with a resistive single touch screen and virtually no processing power. Those tablets must be dirt cheap.

Nintendo may make good first party titles, even if I personally have me share of mario games , but in designing HW they really suck the last couple of years.

I am a Wii owner btw and I don't like the previous "correct" way of doing consoles. The Wii was my worst console buy I ever did. Seeing the general lukewarm reception for the WiiU I dare to have a different opinion if this is the way to go in the future.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082451)

Well, Microsoft could suffer it. Hell, they could pay YOU to play their console.
Although yeah, pretty much they both messed up horribly this generation.

And Sony are still messing up hard with the PSVita, which annoys me because I actually want that to succeed as a device because it is really nice.
All it would take is a decent price drop and the numbers will come flying in.
Yes, they will take a larger decent from the lost hardware, but damn it, software makes that up. And the longer low sales happen, the less software people will want to make. They may very well already be in said spiral of disinterest from devs.
There were SO MANY devs on board with it way back at the beginning saying how awesome the devkit was and how easy it was to work with. Where did that all go to?
Damn it Sony, get it together.
PS4 will likely be generic hardware this time, similar to PSVita but scaled up. 2-4gigs RAM maybe if they really go for it.
I'd hope they would try combine the abilities of PSVita and PS4 together to compete with WiiU, but considering the price of the PSVita, they'd actually need to drop that price quite high from its current pricepoint. Sony won't do that. They are too short-term profits driven to drop it that much. It will be the end of them.

Microsoft sorely need to not cheap out on hardware again. And actually hire a hardware guy this time, not some dude probably just out of college.
I never even done any form of hardware design and even when I saw the motherboard pictures from the first model I pretty much said "damn that is a horrible design, that is asking to overheat!"
Little did I know they also had horrible solders as well, a really bad batch of RoHS-compliant solders at that, the worst kind.
Although even if they did repeat that mistake again, I doubt it would affect them as much as it would others. Microsoft are great at ripping off consumers with Xbox so people will still stay on that. And the implied "better service" image is still in the minds of most people, despite it being horribly wrong. (same thing with Apple fans still thinking Apple computers are better at media work despite the fact that they no longer exist on Power, which is where said advantage came from back in the day)
No idea what Microsoft will actually do. They might try some Kinect + controller hybrid to compete with WiiU.
Unlike Sony, Microsoft actually put effort in to trying to get the whole Kinect thing bought. Meanwhile some people still have no idea what PS Eye is.
I honestly can't name a game for PS Eye besides Wonderbook... I think... is it? Even Eyetoy wasn't this terribly advertised.

Nintendo, oddly enough, seem to be quite well this time around.
I have seen a few streams of the console and a few games, and they actually do work much better than I was expecting, considerably better than the crappy Wiimote.
Whether they can keep that going long enough to get all the others who jumped on with Wii to get it is another question.
My opinion is it is going to be considerably harder since they already have a Wii, why would they want a WiiU? Most of the casual gamers just bought a console and a few games and that was it. It even showed in their sales as they began to slow down considerably just a couple years back when it reached a sort of saturation point.
They'll likely not even hit half of that with WiiU. If they do, I'd be shocked, but I am sticking with it being a freak occurrence.

MS needs to go for cooling over looks (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42082737)

MS needs to go for cooling over looks.

They need to take the word of the hardware guys saying that that case is to small / more fans / better air flow is needed. and not take the word of the marketing guy saying that does not look very HIP.

Re:Better get used to it, THQ (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 2 years ago | (#42082639)

There won't be a PS4. Sony can't compete with MS who doesn't care about profitability and can finance nearly unlimited losses with their monopoly revenue. The PS3 cost several Sony management personal their jobs and the reputation of the development team (with Sony executive management). I do not personally believe that Sony board will ever greenlight another PS console unless they take the Nintendo policy of making money on the console sale.

There is also the consideration that consoles themselves will likely fade away in the very near future as persistent networked computing devices in your pocket replace their use case. Both MS and Nintendo recognize this trend and are trying to adapt by making the console more than a gaming device but ultimately I think it's going to be eroded entirely by multiple factors including the one already listed (unless they can get the broadcasters to let them use their consoles as DVRs which I find unlikely).

I fully suspect that the Xbox 720 or whatever they end up calling it will be the last console by MS, the PS3 the last for Sony and Nintendo will stop either with the WiiU or it's successor depending on how well the U sells.

any objective numbers? (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42081987)

Apart from the spin in either direction, is there any solid information? Some quick googling turns up wildly divergent performance rumors, ranging from "equivalent to a 1 GHz x86" to "equivalent to a 3.5 GHz x86".

Re:any objective numbers? (2)

klingens (147173) | about 2 years ago | (#42082029)

Something that is is known http://www.anandtech.com/show/6465/nintendo-wii-u-teardown [anandtech.com] , is that the Wii U CPU is made in 45nm and has a size of 32.76mm2
This puts it into the ballpark of the size of a current Atom CPU and the same ballpark of computing power. IBM has no magic fairy dust to do (much) better than Intel in a smaller die with worse process tech. 3.5GHz x86 is simply crazytalk.

Re:any objective numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082043)

I wouldn't go looking for a direct equivelancy. The processor could very well be a beast at certain operations when compared to an x86 processor. We will just have to wait until the homebrew scene gets started and someone does a proper benchmark.

Re:any objective numbers? (1, Funny)

dtjohnson (102237) | about 2 years ago | (#42082195)

The anandtech wii u teardown included running the SunSpider javascript benchmark. For comparison, the Wii U scored 2581 while an Iphone 5 scored 908. My Pentium M 1.6 Ghz laptop (the original Xbox used a Pentium 3 at 1 Ghz) scores 719 so the Wii U cpu looks to be about 3.5x more powerful than the 1.6 Ghz Pentium M. All of the "Wii U has a slow CPU" might be just FUD at this point.

Re:any objective numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082283)

Umm, you realize smaller numbers are faster in the Sunspider benchmark? So this means the CPU is "horribly" slower than the iPhone5. Well, it really means that Nintendo has a terrible JavaScript engine.

Re:any objective numbers? (3, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#42082315)

You realise that lower scores are better with SunSpider, right? That would make it 2 and a half times slower than the iPhone 5. Of course, a large part of that will be down to the browser.

For reference, a 2.4Ghz Core i7 scores 252 in Safari, so it would appear to be a *lot* slower than a 3.6Ghz current x86 CPU.

Re:any objective numbers? (1)

Narishma (822073) | about 2 years ago | (#42082319)

You're reading the benchmark results backwards. The smaller the number, the faster the CPU is, so your conclusion is wrong. But in any case, SunSpider isn't a very good CPU benchmark since the results depend just as much, if not more, on the OS and browser used.

Re:any objective numbers? (5, Interesting)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 years ago | (#42082275)

This site [wiiudaily.com] claims its a 4-core 3GHz Power7 CPU with x4 hyperthreading, plus AMD GPU. I'm having a hard time figuring out how that's a "horrible, slow" CPU unless they have a lot of code that is optimized for x86.

perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082003)

people have been blaming the PS3 PPC to be "slow as hell" too and yet we have decent programmer making good use of the Cell archtecture and SPE units

until the clock speed of WiiU processor(s) is revealed, I will take any extrem comments with a grain of salt

Re:perspective (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 2 years ago | (#42082085)

The Wii U has neither a Cell nor SPE units, it only has it's slow CPU. On top of that not even the PS3 ever fully recovered from it's hardware issue, as third party titles almost always end up looking better on Xbox360.

also 1GB ram for the OS (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42082013)

also 1GB ram for the OS why not put in a HDD for swap space and for downing games as the game disks can range from 4.7 GB - 25GB+

Re:also 1GB ram for the OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082049)

Adding swap would solve nothing. When a box starts swapping it is dead, performance wise.

Re:also 1GB ram for the OS (1)

Carewolf (581105) | about 2 years ago | (#42082381)

Not if it doesn't access the swapped memory. The idea was to swap the bloat of the OS to disk, since you are unlikely to use all of the OS features in every game, so some are just uselessly wasting memory when they could be swapped out for no performance loss.

Re:also 1GB ram for the OS (2)

preaction (1526109) | about 2 years ago | (#42082051)

Because using a hard drive as memory is about as fast as chisling cuneiform into rock. Swapping 1Gb would be absolutely unacceptable.

Re:also 1GB ram for the OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082113)

Should have put that cuneiform into wet clay.

Re:also 1GB ram for the OS (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#42082171)

Holy bad ideas, batman.

Metro isn't a Nintendo type game anyways (0)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#42082041)

You don't buy Nintendo if playing First Person Shooter is your type of games.

That's like buying a hatchback when you like to transport lumber.

Re:Metro isn't a Nintendo type game anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082083)

The rule used to be you don't buy consoles if FPS is your game, but you can see whats happened now a days.

Re:Metro isn't a Nintendo type game anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082593)

I'm still and will always be baffled to why people play FPS games with controllers, you can't possibly aim properly, it's not the right tool for the job.

Re:Metro isn't a Nintendo type game anyways (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 years ago | (#42082135)

You don't buy Nintendo if playing First Person Shooter is your type of games.

That's like buying a hatchback when you like to transport lumber.

You have that backwards. First person shooters are the AMC Gremlin of games. They take a lot more to get you where you are going, and they always feel as if the engine is underpowered because they are dragging around a lot of unnecessary weight. First person shooters are what effectively killed off video game arcades. The places you can find arcades still eking out a living, the the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, all have almost nothing but vintage pre-first person shooter games.

Re:Metro isn't a Nintendo type game anyways (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42082469)

And racing games, don't forget racing games. There's a few other arcades around. They all have figured out some way to be ultra-competitive, by offering something more than just video games. The arcade at the boardwalk survives mostly by virtue of being super-awesome, which it only manages because they own the property. If they had to pay rent on that space, that arcade would have been gone already. It's part of the package that people are expecting from the boardwalk, which is to say rides, fried food, mini golf, arcade, and of course the beach but let's face it, you don't go to the boardwalk to actually be on the sand. Maybe if you eat lunch at lunchtime, and you can't get a table.

God damn it, now I want a corn dog.

Re:Metro isn't a Nintendo type game anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082217)

Is that because FPS is the only genre that requires enough power to run at max settings? Or because Nintendo doesn't have the right target audience? In the latter case, it isn't about lack of power, and would be more like "If you are going to make lumber carrying accessories, do it for Chevy trucks, but don't waste your time making a version for Ford trucks, their owners aren't' as interested,"

Return of the SNES (4, Interesting)

Vegan Pagan (251984) | about 2 years ago | (#42082045)

It sounds as if Nintendo's priorities when designing the Wii U's chipset in contrast to the Xbox 360 were similar to what they were when designing the SNES in contrast to the Sega Genesis: more RAM, more powerful GPU, slower CPU. Some SNES launch games either suffered slowdown and flicker (Gradius 3) or lacked a two-player modes and had fewer enemies onscreen (Final Fight) compared to similar Genesis or arcade games (Thunder Force 3 and Final Fight arcade). Most post-launch SNES games fared much better in these areas: Axelay, Space Megaforce, Turtles in Time, Final Fight 2, Smash TV. So far the Wii U is repeating the SNES's launch pains. Let's hope it repeats the payoff years!

Re:Return of the SNES (5, Informative)

Dwedit (232252) | about 2 years ago | (#42082091)

SNES wasn't slower than Genesis. While the clock speeds in MHZ may say one thing, the 65c816 runs most instructions in fewer cycles than the 68000.

Re:Return of the SNES (5, Informative)

JimCanuck (2474366) | about 2 years ago | (#42082173)


IBM's PowerPC are similar, plenty of instructions that offer one cycle completion as the old 65C816 did. Or better, look at the z196 that IBM has developed, its capable of 5 operations per clock cycle as IBM is a fan of one core, multiple sub-processing units.

The Cell processor used in the PS3 is one PPE "core" with 8 SPE's (processing units), one is locked from the factory, one is dedicated to the OS, and 6 are for the game itself. While the newer IBM PowerXCell 8i, at a mere 2.8Ghz, it is capable of 179.2 GFlops (SP). Because it can process 64 single precision floating point math instructions per clock cycle.

Verses the x86 (and many others from that period such as the Z80) which is actually designed as a 3 cycle per operation machine, especially when fetching data, it took 3 clock cycles to access or write the new data. The 68C816 is 1 cycle for a read or write operation.

More then likely its not a issue of the processor in the Wii, and more of a issue of how much time/money investment the Wii market is really worth to them to recompile a dedicated Wii capable binary.

Re:Return of the SNES (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 2 years ago | (#42082309)

The Cell's PPE is also multithreaded and has an altivec unit.

Re:Return of the SNES (2)

grumbel (592662) | about 2 years ago | (#42082413)

SNES wasn't slower than Genesis.

How come then that the Genesis could do 3D games like F15: Strike Eagle II, while the SNES had to wait for the arrival of the SuperFX chip to do that kind of graphics? Games like Out of this World also looked much better on the Genesis, while the SNES could barely handle them.

Re:Return of the SNES (1)

partyguerrilla (1597357) | about 2 years ago | (#42082611)

But then the SNES supported mode 7. The Genesis CPU was faster but had less features. Games like Fzero and pilotwings were not possible on the genesis, and fast-paced games like sanic weren't possible on the SNES.

Re:Return of the SNES (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082669)

SNES CPU only had an 8-bit data bus.

Re:Return of the SNES (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | about a year ago | (#42082717)

The 65c816 was a CPU of an older generation than the Mega Drive's. There was no MOV instruction, for example, so you needed multiple instructions and more cycles to achieve the equivalent operation.

Re:Return of the SNES (1)

pegisys (1616521) | about 2 years ago | (#42082149)

The problem here is that the Xbox 360 and the Wii U are not within the same generation of consoles. The Wii U will likely end up being more like the Sega Dreamcast compared to the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube when Sony and Microsoft release their next consoles. That is technology wise, not saying that the Nintendo and the Wii U will suffer the same way that Sega and the Dreamcast did.

Re:Return of the SNES (4, Informative)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about 2 years ago | (#42082203)

There is only one small problem. With the SNES is was possible to equip the cartridges with extra chips [wikipedia.org] to speed up the system. With the WiiU this is virtually impossible to do.

As part of the overall plan for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, rather than include an expensive CPU that would still become obsolete in a few years, the hardware designers made it easy to interface special coprocessor chips to the console. Rather than require a console upgrade, these enhancement chips were included inside the plug-in game cartridges.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Super_NES_enhancement_chips [wikipedia.org]

Re:Return of the SNES (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#42082643)

Small detail: the SNES could use extra processors for stuff like crude 3D (Star Fox), Sprite manipulations (Yoshi's Island), Sprite decompression (Donkey Kong Country) or just general processing tasks.

I don't see Nintendo creating some processor that fits inside a blu-ray, is powered by the spin and manipulates the disc's content in a certain area to communicate. Epically cool, yes, feasible, no.

they just don't care anymore (2)

Vince6791 (2639183) | about 2 years ago | (#42082079)

Such bitching and whining from developers. No wonder some games look and play like crap these days on both pc and console from 3rd party some just don't care anymore. Look at the 80's and early 90's and why they had to work with and they pulled it off, now, a lot of dev's cry because their shitty unoptimized bloated engine that barely runs on an nvidia 300+ cuda cores or ati radeon 2000 streaming processors on the pc can't run on the wii u. Even today with all these processor streams and cuda cores the only thing these dev's could do is run games that don't even come close to realism at 60 fps@1080p.

Re:they just don't care anymore (1)

StillAnonymous (595680) | about 2 years ago | (#42082241)

Between awkward-ass hardware the console companies shove at them, publishers with unrealistic deadlines and working hours, and the whiny, ignorant, arrogant, overly-demanding bitches that the gaming community is chock full of, I'm surprised there's any developers left at all. I'd have to be starving before I'd even consider working in that industry.

Hats off to you devs who haven't haven't jumped off a bridge or drank yourselves to death yet. You've certainly got more patience than I.

In Other Words (2)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#42082081)

They don't know how to code for the newer chip designs. Nvidia and AMD are already looking at or arguing for lowering chip cycles and increasing cpu cores. The Wii U almost certainly utilizes eDram to simplify multicore programming and give you increased performance if you use it correctly. If you can't code for this newer design but everyone else ether does or knows they will have to then learn then get out of the market while you can.

Re:In Other Words (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082167)

So the guys who released a game for the xbox 360, ps3, and pc don't know how to code on multicore chips? Something tells me you don't have a fucking clue so why are you even posting?

Re:In Other Words (1)

cynyr (703126) | about 2 years ago | (#42082353)

Care to show me the game on the PS3 that will cause the fan to spin up like folding@home would cause? Until you find one, I'll say that none of them are making full use of the hardware.

Re:In Other Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082519)

L A Noire

Re:In Other Words (4, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 2 years ago | (#42082201)

They are arguing for it because they are both completely failing to compete on performance per core with intel, while they beat intel's GPU offerings with their own.

You essentially have someone who owns a fleet of mopeds arguing that fleet of mopeds is a better way of transporting goods from harbor to the stores. In some cases, they may be right. In many others, they will be wrong. Arguing this as a universal truth is disinformation, and actually believing in these arguments is ignorance of the subject at hand.

Re:In Other Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42082727)

Oh shut up. These are professional game developers. The reality it, zealots like you cannot face the fact Nintendo chose to use 8 year old components to maximize their profit. Unfortunately for them, there will be no Wii wave of sales at the current ridiculous price. Parents will be a decent tablet instead. The only people remotely interested in the Wii U are those that are going to be every incarnation of the three main Nintendo characters.

Wii U: DOA.

Clarified? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082095)

Why do you buy that new-speak crap? The original comment wasn't unclear and the "clarification" is not in any way clearer. The CTO made a very clear comment that the company is now regretting and trying to spin to reduce its damage to the relations with Nintendo.

Every time. (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#42082183)

This always seems to happen when a new console comes out. In time people will actually learn how to use it properly.

Game developers are lazy (0)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#42082231)

I really get the impression that the thing now is to to rely heavily on someone else to do the work for you via a framework, engine or whatever, don't really care about optimisation and just get the thing out the door as quickly and cheaply as possible.

If, for example, a developer relies on Unreal engine then I'm not surprised if that wouldn't run well on the Wii U and probably the reason Epic will avoid it but I've never seen anything that says Epic can write great highly optimised code. Their games always seem to run like shit on PCs unless you spent a fortune on hardware. The specs on the box were just there for a laugh, I think. Too many companies rely on this kind of work to make their games.

I'm not surprised that as the US becomes a major player in consoles again they're ruining it. I'd even bet on us seeing a repeat of the crash in the 80's thanks to Microsoft and the sort of developers they have attracted to console gaming. They can go back to the PC and stay there, imo.

Re:Game developers are lazy (1)

greenmanfalling (1866244) | about 2 years ago | (#42082601)

Yeah, I'm really hoping the laziness on pc ports is a result of the fact that we're at the end of the console cycle, and they have enough extra power in most PCs to BE lazy. Maybe they'll actually have to optimize some code when Unreal 4 is used on the next consoles and ported over. It's possible that they'll just not bother porting until the majority of PC's catch up GPU wise. I'm getting a new Sager gaming laptop next week (I know, I know, gaming laptops, pfffftttt! My GSR position is subsidizing all the non-gaming parts, so it works out economically) and I'll be interested to gauge the performance of the next gen ports. As far as I know the Unreal 4 has been using dual top-o-the-line video cards for all its demonstrations. Googling doesn't get me to an official quote on specs, but I'm not too hopeful for my new mobile gpu (7970m) In any case, there's always the indie gaming scene...

Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082253)

Whatever. I couldn't care less about this gen or next gen. We need either the headsets that Carmack et al are working on or holograms to make me care about some "next gen". Modest steps up don't interest me. Decreased power consumption and thermals interest me but not enough to make me drop $400 on something that isnt as open of a platform as a PC is.

Since when is THQ interested in quality? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42082263)

Oh they aren't, it would take effort and we all know THQ is all about effort

Re:Since when is THQ interested in quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082577)

THQ's idea of quality was Pit Fighter for the SNES *shudder*

Learned our lesson from the Wii (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082299)

Everyone I know with a Wii has it sitting on a shelf collecting dust.

I think the biggest problem is with their resolution. When you have a 1080 TV, 480 is pretty damn noticeable.

Now we hear that they had to go back on their word and downgrade the new mario game to 720?

Why would I spend $300+ on a system that is already obsolete compared to 6 year old systems?

Re:Learned our lesson from the Wii (1)

partyguerrilla (1597357) | about a year ago | (#42082711)

Everyone I know

Oh great, more useless statistics directly from the horse's ass.

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