The Wii is a wonderful piece of crap

By Shamus
on Mar 13, 2007
Filed under:
Video Games

Ars Technica has this story about Chris Hecker and some comments he made a the Game Developers Conference. First he called the Wii a piece of Sh**. Then he came back the next day and (one can assume not of his own volition) said nice many things about the Wii.

His complaints stemmed from the lack of raw computing power the console can provide. His first set of statements are pretty much not worth responding to. I’ve seen similar stuff from XBox and PS3 zealots and forum trolls. It all boils down to, “Why would anyone ever buy a pickup truck, it’s a terrible sportscar!” See also: Mac vs. PC.

However, with a little more eloquence he could probably have expressed the real problem here, and I do believe there is one. The Wii is less powerful than the other two consoles. It’s supposed to be. That’s why it’s less than half the price. Nintendo concluded that there were lots of people who aren’t focused on raw visuals and would rather have a cheaper system with less fancy pixels. They were right, which is why the Wii did so well this Christmas.

But the problem isn’t so much lack of power as a lack of functionality. At one point Hecker claims that the Wii is “nothing more than two GameCubes stuck together with duct tape”. I’m sure what he’s alluding to is the fact that the machine is probably faster than the Cube in terms of processing cycles, but that it doesn’t have the ability to run new fragment shaders, vertex shaders, or do some fancy new texture pass. It’s just a faster version of the previous generation of technology, not a jump to the current generation.

If you remember my earlier post where I made the case that Graphics Hardware is Killing PC Games. One of the reasons for this is that fact that it’s a royal pain to develop for different generations of graphics hardware. See also: My experience with Oblivion. At least on consoles, the major three have been within spitting distance of one another, technology-wise. But now one of the consoles – the most popular one – has deliberately refused to move to the latest graphics technology. Now if a developer wants to make a multiplatform title available on the Wii then the Brian Heckers of the world will be obliged to straddle two generations of graphics hardware functionality.

This is more of a pain than it sounds. Artwork changes a lot from one generation to another. You can’t just turn off a particular texture pass and expect the world to work right. A bump-mapped 3d character is very different in design from one designed to be rendered without bump-mapping. Are you going to have your artists make everything twice? Suddenly you’re not just talking about additional programming, but a huge burden of additional development time and the expense of more artists.

When developing a multiplatform for the Wii, the designer has three choices:

  1. Spend extra time making the game look good and run smoothly on both systems. The Wii version might not look as nice, but it should look comparable to other Wii titles.
  2. Develop for the PS3 or 360, and then strip out features until the game runs on the Wii. The result will be exceedingly ugly, or suffer from performance issues.
  3. Develop for the Wii, then release it “as is” for the PS3 / 360. The result will be a game which will probably look dated next to the other titles on the system.

If I were a developer then #3 would be looking pretty darn good to me right now. I would find it very funny if the lack of power on the Wii caused some developers to avoid utilizing the next-gen features of the other consoles. Will it happen? I have no idea. It should be interesting to see, though.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!


20201252 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. gedece says:

    There’s more potential player base for the Wii than for the others,and we all know that player base attracts programmers and titles. Wether Nintendo will ban some games because of content or not remains to be seen, and that is just what keeps me from saying the “Wii will win this”.

    One thing that is easily overlooked is one little thing that was designed into the Wii: it doesn’t overheat, even if you manage to play it nonstop for days. That means it’s more useable than the other two consoles, and has one less trouble, which in turn generates more fun for the user. The lack of potence is, in fact, it’s bigger advantage.

  2. wintersweet says:

    I also think there are a whole lot of new Wii owners who will never actually encounter the games on another platform, due to being a different demographic than the 360 and PS3 owners. So that may help in terms of continuing customer satisfaction with the Wii.

  3. wintersweet, thats me and my family (and the three other families and counting I’ve converted from nongamers to gamers because of the Wii)

    We arent planning on buying any other console; the Wii serves our needs from age 4 to age 64. I simply dont care what games are available on the other systems.

    Of course it also helps that the Wii plays old Gamecube games too – all of which are super cheap. So theres plenty of game action to be had. I dont think I’m missing much; my perception is that new fancy games that use the next gen graphics arent really marketed at me anyway.

    I wouldnt be surprised, Shamus, if nextgen game makers simply focused on xbox/ps and simply dropped the Wii entirely. That seems more likely to me. After all, Wii owners like myself dont care – and if we did, we would buy one of the other consoles so we too could play mega-ultra-super-fun-ball-polygons or whatever, also.

  4. Greg says:

    I’m just going to point out that one of the other many web-comics I read did a comic about this today, and you can check it out at http://www.gucomics.com

  5. Deoxy says:

    I hope to see a lot more of #3, as it would:

    -produce more games (the more there are, the better the chances that some of them won’t suck)
    -produce BETTER games (less time spent on prettier pixels = more time for the game itself)
    -support Nintendo, which has, IMO, consistently produced the best games (or consistently had the best games on its systems, however you want to look at it)
    -suggest that maybe, just MAYBE, they might consider slowing down on the insta-out-dating of graphics hardware (a common rant on this site as well, so I’ll just leave it at that)

    backwards compatibility is pretty darn spiffy, too (one of the big advantages of the PS2 in it’s heyday).

  6. Andrew Cory says:

    The one point he made which I think was fair was the comment about the Wii’s lack of CPU power leading to a lower-quality AI. As someone who doesn’t play online, I play against AIs pretty much exclusively. If the other consoles can give me opponents of more organic and human quality, my play would be greatly enhanced…

    On the other wrist: a lot of the complaints regarding Wii’s lack of Video card power go right by me. My TV can barely handle the GameCube’s output. Why do I care at all about the graphic quality beyond that?

  7. Mark says:

    While graphics are a big problem for a multi-platform game, I’d think the actual gameplay and controller scheme would be just as problematic. The Wii controller presents a very different controller scheme that would be great for some things that might be boring on another console (light saber battle?) and vice versa (Madden 07 apparently takes quite a while to get used to on the Wii). It just seems like the Wii is all around different and unlikely to attract a lot of multi-platform games, but I’m also nowhere near as connected to the gameing world as you guys, so I’ll stop now:P

  8. The problems with the graphics are almost a proper subset of the problems with the control scheme. In terms of porting games originally for other consoles, the Wii can suffer from a shortage of buttons, an overwhelming abundance of analog inputs (the Wiimote puts standard “analog” inputs to shame), and in the worst cases, will suffer from both.

    I’d lay a small amount of money that before the Wii’s run is through that there will be a game you can crash simply by throwing the remote in the air and giving it a good amount of spin.

    I would not be surprised that by 2009 the standard wisdom, won by experience, will be that you simply can’t port back and forth to the Wii for most games; there will be the world of the Wii and the world of the PS3/XBox 360, with the latter possibly even having an advantage. (The PS3 may have more raw flops than the XBox360, but I think it remains possible the XBox360 will actually prove more powerful for real games, because it has a lot more “conventional” computing power than the PS3 does, where the PS3’s spectacular Cell processing is all DSP/graphics-style power. We’ll have to see.)

  9. Alex says:

    I think wintersweet and fledgling nailed it. The Wii is simply a different animal – different controller paradigm, different technical priorities, different style in the games, different everything. It throws into sharp relief how monolithic and homogeneous the (mainstream) video game industry has become, and I think Nintendo made an absolutely brilliant move by forking away from it and doing something different. And as has been pointed out, it has already paid off.

  10. Daktylo says:

    I understand that CPU power hinders AI in games, however, the Wii’s main selling point is it’s a community system.

    Although I hate referring to anecdotal information, the case and point occurred this weekend, when my fiancee hosted a party for all our friends at her house. My buddy decided to bring his Wii with the latest Warioware “twitch”-soft. The result? 9 people playing a game and having an enormous amount of fun doing so. The AI required was minimal.

    Does the Wii need to release copycat games with the other consoles? No. In fact, I think one of the ways the GameCube worked it’s way into the bargain bin even before the Wii was released was due to this practice. Without a unique selling point, Nintendo almost went bankrupt.

    The Wii’s selling point is by retaining developers willing to focus on family/group oriented games.

  11. ngthagg says:

    The situation with Wii vs. PS3/X360 is not unique. We have had a very similar situation for a long time in handheld vs. console gaming. Handhelds have never had the same processing power, and have often had different controls (namely, lack of buttons).

    Based on this history, I think people will port games from high-end to low-end, and they will suck on the Wii, just as Shamus said. On the other hand, some developers will create exclusively for the Wii, and never port to the high-end systems.

    I’m not sure that this difference is going to be a big deal anyway. I don’t know the catalog for the Gamecube that well, but from what I know the good games are exclusive anyway. Did the Gamecube have many ports?

    ngthagg

  12. Woerlan says:

    I’ll always take playability and execution over graphics.

  13. Strangeite says:

    All I know is that I bought my son the Wii for Christmas and that I have a blast playing it, whereas before only he played console video games. All of other consoles were in his bedroom and the Wii is in our family room. My only complaint with the system is the lack of online play but I assume this is going to be corrected since it is connected via wifi. As anyone heard of any online games coming down the pike?

  14. Khizan says:

    The only thing the Wii has going for it is the control interface, which is unique and groundbreaking, yes, but it’s also limited by the console itself. There’s only so much it can do. I just don’t think it offers enough, especially with Nintendo’s absolutely abysmal record at making good games. Honestly, the only good Gamecube game that comes to mind is their Smash Bros title. Yeah, Capcom released RE:4 for the GC, but that also came out for the PS2, which is a stronger system by far, if just for the ability to play PS1 games in addition to PS2 games.

    I dislike the Wii’s role as a “community” game machine. Yes, it might be nice to get your family to play, and it might be great as a family console, but I -don’t want a family machine-. I want a machine with some solid single player action with some intelligent AI behind it. I don’t want twitchy party games like WarioWare, I don’t want to play tennis, and if I wanted to go bowling, I’d bloody well go bowling. I’m looking for things like Halo, Vice City, and Gears of War, which I don’t think the Wii is going to do nearly as well as the 360.

    And, the one thing I’m sick and tired of is the way Wii fanboys insist that the lower graphical power of the Wii will make their games better, since there’s “more focus on the gameplay than on the graphics”. Sorry, if there’s one thing that the Playstation’s million crappy titles managed to prove, it -is- possible to make a game that has both bad gameplay and bad graphics.

    The Wii, really, is just a gimmick system. It’s a last-gen system with a nifty new control scheme, and I’ll admit that can add a great deal to the system. However, all the Wii is, is a last-gen console with a next-gen controller, released by a company with an absolutely terrible track record at producing quality games.

  15. “released by a company with an absolutely terrible track record at producing quality games.”

    “Quality” != “I like it”. You’re pretty clearly using that metric, based on the games you name.

    Nintendo games are quality and have been for a very long time. That you don’t like them doesn’t make them ugly, bug-ridden, poorly controllable, or any of the other many characteristics that might make them “of poor quality”… it simply means you don’t like them. That’s fine. I can’t imagine who would love absolutely everything Nintendo produces, anyhow.

    Let’s not make “quality” mean “I like it” when we already have perfectly good words that mean that.

  16. Strangeite says:

    I don’t understand why you would be upset with the Wii’s “role as a community game machine”. If the console doesn’t suit your needs then buy a 360 or PS3. However why belittle a machine that has made many people happy by creating a new market? I have no desire to play Halo, Vice City or Gears of War, does that make my money any less desirable? I don’t play D&D online but just because I have no interest doesn’t mean that it sucks. Obviously someone enjoys it because they give WOTC their hard earned money and I applaud WOTC for creating a new revenue stream by entering into a new market. By your logic, since the PS3 and 360 utilize higher end graphics for single player combat and I don’t care for those things, are they gimmicky?

  17. Alex says:

    I don’t doubt for a minute that the Wii doesn’t deliver as good a gaming experience as the 360 or the PS3. The thing is, though, that the only people who want good gaming experiences are gamers already. What the Wii delivers is a way to draw in the non-traditional gamers with a fun experience that doesn’t require you to master a bewildering array of knobs, sticks, and buttons.

    Take my father, just for example. The last game system he had any sort of fun with was the original NES. That thing’s control scheme consisted of two buttons and a d-pad. Now look at the 360’s controller: 4 buttons on the face, 2 analog sticks, 1 d-pad, bumper AND trigger buttons, most if not all of which you’ll need to use in any given game. Yes it gives you much better control, but my dad doesn’t want better control, he wants to have a fun time without having to fight against and master the bloody INPUT DEVICE.

    So yes, the Wii probably won’t catch on with the gamer set. But guess what: It IS catching on with the non-gamer set, and I hate to break it to you, there’s a lot more of them than there are of us.

  18. Daktylo says:

    Alex,

    An excellent point about your father. The fact is, the Wii is the first system that has wholehearted support from my fiancee. Even though she knows I’m a gamer, and own just about every console out there (including the PS3), she realizes that the Wii is the only system which she will have fun playing with me. Is she a gamer? By no means. But she has a great time playing on the Wii, and if that’s the case, Nintendo can have my money.

    Remember, a couple years ago there was a friendly but competitive group game that took off which no one had anticipated before. DDR! So this has been done before.

    Anyway, what I find is the true sin of PC games lately is the ongoing effort to shun cooperative play. People talk about the death of the PC, and I believe that’s going to be a primary factor.

  19. Khizan says:

    I count the Wii as a gimmick system, because the only thing it has going for it is the control setup. The Wii is marketed and sold pretty much entirely around that. It has an extremely button-light controller, and a new control style. If you remove the Wiimote system, you’ve got an underpowered machine that can’t compete, because it doesn’t have the graphics, or the computing power, or anything else. It’s a one-trick pony.

    It’s a more accessible system, yes. It’s aimed at a large non-gamer market, yes. Is it a system that’s going to change the way games are designed? I doubt it.

    I don’t think the Wii will have some developers avoid the next-gen features of the 360/PS3, just because I think that most of the Wii games are going to be so heavily designed around the control mechanism that they wouldn’t port well anyways.

  20. Stark says:

    I’ve been married for 10 years now. I’ve been a computer/console gamer since the Atari 1200 and Colecovision. My wife, in 10 years, has never played a single game (computer or console) that I have brought into our home.

    I bought a Wii in January. I’ve since had to talk to her about limits on her gaming time! This woman had less than zero interest in any game prior to January – now she’s renting and buying titles she likes for the Wii.

    We take the console over to my folks place every Sunday night and have family Wii sports competitions. My father games but my mother never showed an interest in games my entire life – now she keeps checking the local stores for consoles so she can play during the week too.

    This is why Wii will dominate the market. It’s created gamers where there were none before. Mark my words – the Wii will go down in history with the Atari and Colecovision as pioneers in the medium while the XBox and PS2/3 will just be footnotes.

  21. Shamus says:

    “I count the Wii as a gimmick system, because the only thing it has going for it is the control setup.”

    You forgot the OTHER thing it has going for it:

    Three hundred and fifty dollars cheaper.

  22. Stark says:

    Khizan,

    You seem to be operating on the assumption that games are built for the technology – they are not. Game developers make games for one reason and only on reason – to sell. If the Wii continues to outsell the Xbox and PS3 by 3 and 4 to 1 as it did this past christams then you will see the major developers build for the Wii first and everything else second. It’s the only sound business decision to make. The game market, like all markets, is driven by demand – and so far the demand from Wii far outstrips the others.

    It will certainly affect the way games are designed as it will become fiscally unnaceptable not to write for it. Businesses cannot afford to ignore their largest potential market.

    There is precedence in technology for this – and underdog and less capable technology killing off a better technology – and it is VHS. VHS and BETA were contemporaries – BETA was by far the better technology. Better picture and sound and the tapes lasted much longer… but it was way expensive compared to VHS and VHS got adopted by the paying public because of it.

  23. Khizan, I am not surprised by your vehemence. I don’t even begrudge you your opinion; you think that nongamers are lamers so wtf diff does it make if we plebes are excited about the Wii? It’s just proof what noobs we are, right? Fair enough.

    But you are in fact so right about the Wii that you’re wrong. Because this, what you wrote, is absolutely spot-on in every possible sense:

    I count the Wii as a gimmick system, because the only thing it has going for it is the control setup. The Wii is marketed and sold pretty much entirely around that. It has an extremely button-light controller, and a new control style. If you remove the Wiimote system, you’ve got an underpowered machine that can’t compete, because it doesn’t have the graphics, or the computing power, or anything else. It’s a one-trick pony.

    Absolutely correct!

    The Wii is a one-trick pony. It’s a new trick, though. A fun one, a profitable one, and one that a lot of young dogs can learn. The old dogs, however.. well, you know what they say about teaching them new tricks.

    Still, if those old tricks are your bag, man, rock on. You got your fancy new-fangled dog collars to play them with, too, so you’re all set.

  24. Shamus, I suppose Khizan and other gamers of his mindset would retort that you get what you pay for. In terms of the PS3, you are indeed getting what you paid for (caution: somewhat racy).

  25. Stark,

    If the Wii continues to outsell the Xbox and PS3 by 3 and 4 to 1 as it did this past christams then you will see the major developers build for the Wii first and everything else second. It’s the only sound business decision to make. The game market, like all markets, is driven by demand – and so far the demand from Wii far outstrips the others.

    It occurs to me that Wii-skeptics lke Khizan might realize the above all too well, and this might explain some of their vehemence.

    Good god, is this what it’s like to be a Mac owner?

  26. J says:

    You forgot option #4, which is to develop a multi-platform game for the Wii and the PS2. With around 100 million PS2 owners still out there who won’t be upgrading until a large price drop on the PS3 or 360, this will be a popular choice.

  27. Stark says:

    FledgeOt – I can’t be bothered to type out that whole name! ;)

    Lol… probably… I’ve never been able to make myself buy a Mac. Though now that they are on Intel and I can have my cake and eat it too… I’m sorely tempted. OSX sure is pretty!

    It’s actually sort of LoTR’ish… One OS for the Elves (MacHeads), One OS for the Dwarves (Linux) and one OS for the Humans (WinDoze) with One Processor to rule them all! All hail the dark lord Intel!

    I view AMD as a Gandalf type figure… ;)

  28. Shamus says:

    I hope I’m not the only one that sees the humor in the fact that a discussion of Hecker’s comments on the Wii has spawned Yet Another Wii Debate.

    Would somebody please invoke or violate Goodwin’s law so we can put this thread out of it’s misery? :)

  29. Pixy Misa says:

    The guy who made these comments is working on Spore, which is a game that really does need a lot of CPU power. Everything in the game is generated procedurally. So in that light, I agree with him. The Wii is about as powerful as the original Xbox; probably less powerful in CPU terms and a little more powerful for graphics.

    But it’s cheap, fun, and will sell by the million.

    I’ve had an Xbox 360 for a year now, and it’s pretty good; I’ll probably end up buying all three eventually, like I did with the previous generation. I was planning to pass on the PS3 until I saw this.

  30. Dave says:

    Does that video mentioning the PS3’s interest in “WW2 Combat” count as comparing them to Nazis?

    There ya go, Shamus. Just for you. :)

  31. Khizan says:

    As a note, I don’t own any of the three consoles personally, because I can’t afford any of them. And while cost is an issue, I

    I’m very skeptical of the Wii’s ability to maintain its lead once the trick becomes old. This is in large part because I’m very skeptical of Nintendo’s ability to routinely “bring it” when it comes to games.

    Nintendo’s always been one of the more revolutionary game companies. The N64 was the first major 4 player console, and it had a few very strong titles. Goldeneye was a radical change in console FPS gaming, and, save Perfect Dark, the genre stayed rather lackluster at best on the 64. Super Mario 64 and Zelda:OoT are the first two truly 3D worlds I can think of, and yet that genre was rather lackluster for the 64.

    Nintendo, to me, has always had great ideas, but fallen short on execution. With the Wii’s one-trick nature, I think that the newness of it will eventually fade, and once that happens, it has nothing else to fall back on.

  32. Shamus says:

    Spore! I wondered why he was going on about AI. That makes sense now. I just noticed the other day that it’s been exactly a year since I wrote my post on Spore. I thought the game looked like it was around 75% complete, but here we are a year later and we still don’t have so much as a release date. They haven’t even updated the website in a year.

  33. Khizan says:

    Erm, I have no idea what happened to the first paragraph up there. It was supposed to read:

    As a note, I don’t own any of the three consoles personally, because I can’t afford any of them. And while cost is an issue, I don’t consider 400 bucks to be prohibitively expensive, because I do spend a lot of time at gaming, and I’d get 400$ worth of entertainment out of it, whereas I doubt I’d get my money’s worth out of a Wii.

  34. Jerry says:

    Hey, Stark–I think comparing Beta to VHS should be the new Godwin’s law :*)

    Beta did not have better recording times than VHS, (except possibly for a very short period of time only in PAL countries); it always lagged behind, which is likely a powerful reason why it failed. When the two were introduced, Betamax tapes could record for one hour, VHS tapes for two. That was a critical difference: one hour wasn’t enough for a movie, but two might be.

    Videotape format war: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videotape_format_war

    IT’s rarefied view of obsolescense: http://www.hoboes.com/Mimsy/?ART=177

    Jerry

  35. Bogan the Mighty says:

    Most of this has been said, but oh well. The Wii is doing well because it is fulfilling its purpose. To bring in new gamers and keep casual gamers. Seeing as how this is probably 9/10 of the market they are obviously doing better right now. People like me that would be considered the hardcore gamer is going for either the ps3 and 360. None of which I can afford, but I would prefer the ps3 myself. Even if the price was the same the Wii would still do better just by design. I don’t think we’ll see major developer changes in there systems. Games like Final Fantasy are still going to be on playstations and HALOs will still be on Xboxes. All we have is the last generation of consoles except Nintendo did a better job this time around. Actually what I do see once price jobs happen is that the Xbox and ps3 catching up in the race since the majority of its demographic can’t afford it. In the end once are next generation comes out Nintendo will probably be in the lead, but I don’t see major changes happening. That only really seems to happen when a whole new company enters the market.

  36. Hal says:

    As a gamer and a Wii owner, I thought I should add my two cents.

    The Wii is fun. I never thought I’d be playing Tennis, Golf, or Bowling games, but I found myself loving Wii Sports. I own a handful of titles for the system, and everything was a good purchase. I think a lot of the skepticism here stems from the fact that the console is still relatively new. Think about the “Must Have” games that came out for the other major consoles and when they appeared in the lifetime of that system. The Wii is still young. If the current lineup of games isn’t impressing you, chances are something good will pop up soon enough. To say that Nintendo won’t put anything worthwhile on the system strikes me as a lack of imagination.

    Me? I’m waiting for Mario Party 8 and Smash Bros. They’re both franchise games, but the others have all been so darn good.

  37. Nick says:

    Khizan, I don’t mean to flame, but what point are trying to make? That you don’t like the Wii? That you prefer the other two? I’d say you’ve nailed that point home! There’s no need to build a coffin out of it… ;)

    What does “bring it” mean? How do you fall short on execution? I guess Sega *really* screwed up then. Seriously, what are you seeing that Nintendo isn’t? I mean, keep in mind, gaming consoles and handhelds is all Nintendo does, unlike Sony and Microsoft whose console is a small part of what each company. Heck, since the NES, Nintendo has pretty much been a one-trick-pony (Actually, Nintendo is majority owner of the MLB Seatle Mariners and minor owners of the NBA Atlanta Hawks, but I digress…). You actually haven’t said anything really different than what was said against Nintendo during previous generations, yet, there they are, still a serious player in the console market.

    (As a side note, while looking something up, I found that Nintendo is actually older than Sony. Interesting)

  38. Hamish says:

    It’s interesting to note that he never actually contradicts himself.

  39. Telas says:

    I’m a Wii owner, and I’ve got an interesting analogy that may explain some of the hoopla here…

    A friend runs a martial arts studio – “JKD Concepts” style, for those curious. I worked out and worked with him for a couple of years on building up the student base, but we never really broke double-digits for more than a month at a time.

    We went to a seminar in Colorado, and saw a massive MA school, with all kinds of gear – heavy bags, Thai pads, wooden dummies, a boxing ring, etc. He asked the owner, and was told that his “aerobic kickboxing” classes paid for it all. My friend/instructor was a little taken aback – this was diluting the art, using all that knowledge and training to get college students and soccer moms into shape. More conversations ensued, and I realized that instead of fighting the other schools tooth-and-nail over the maybe 5% of the population that wants to learn martial arts, he could appeal to the 100% of the population that wants a fun way to get into shape.

    So the “Impact” class was born. Take muay Thai, simplify it a bit, add some calisthenics, and have the students actually hit the pads. Today, he has over 200 students, has expanded the school four times, and has quit his job to instruct full time. Not bad in five years.

    And every time some “serious” martial artist hears about this, he looks dismayed and disappointed, and usually mumbles something about “diluting the art”…

    Telas

  40. Yunt says:

    I’m curious where the complaints are about the PS3’s design decisions. I don’t have the link handy but early on there was a rant about the design of the Cell processor. Sony more or less demanded that certain functions be stripped out of the chip in order to come in under budget, etc. These particular functions were the kind that makes for good AI.

    They literally made the choice of graphics over gameplay.

    Nintendo has obviously gone a different route and they’re doing very well for having done so. If I had all the money in the world… blah blah blah… the killer apps for PS3 and 360 are Motorstorm and Dead Rising, respectively. And if the trend holds, I’ll be playing Dead Rising on PC before the end of next year anyway.

    The Wii is a blast to play and it’s short-circuited the “upgrade for upgrade’s sake” of the other major players in the market. My small complaints are that it doesn’t connect to my Bluetooth phone to pull down pictures, it doesn’t do more than 4 remotes even if you could afford (and find) them (and in fact even turn based games are only programmed for 4 players, 8 man bowling anyone?) and the USB doesn’t do everything it could for me.

  41. Deoxy says:

    Khizan,

    The Wii is a one-trick pony? That’s pretty good when the only other game(s) in town are both NO-trick ponies!

    Seriously… what do the PS3 and Xbox 360 have going for them? MORE GRAPHICS… um, yay? That’s been the benefit to buying a new system for, oh, I don’t know, the entire lifetime of video games.

    Microsoft and Sony spent their money making “more of the same”, while Nintendo spent their money making something new and different (and I hardly view a revolutionary input device as a “gimmick” – people thought the same thing of the mouse, too, once). Nintendo did the interesting and rewarding work, and they are being rewarded for it.

    Before you dismiss input device as a “gimick”, stop to think about how unbelievably important “user interface” is to, oh, EVERY-FREAKING-THING IN THE WORLD. Computers (of which consoles are just a specific type) is just one area where we think of it the most (as they are the easiest to change and manipulate, and because they historically have the WORST user interface, so bad that we always notice the interface exists). Vast sums of money are spent trying to get the “input devices” just right on cars, cell phones, airplanes, even household appliances.

    Even something as simple as a common door can be don “right” and “wrong” on the interface. Every time you push on a door you should pull on (or vice versa) is an example of bad interface design, a door that lacks the well-known cues that tell people, with no conscious thought on their part, what to do to open the door. A door with a handle says “PULL ME”, while a door with a large, flat area (that is noticeably different than the rest of the door) says “PUSH ME”. When the door with the handle has to be pushed or the door with the large flat place (which just happens to also be raised enough from the door that you could gt your hand under it) has to be pulled, most popl most of the time try it wrong the first time. When you push on the wrong half of a door (that is, close to the hinges), that’s a bad interface.

    Human/machine interface is massively important; Nintendo realized that, their competitors didn’t. The results speak for themselves.

  42. Tom Zunder says:

    Lot of people predict that hard core gamers will have a PS3 or a 360 *and* a Wii.
    If the Wii also has the whole and new casual gamer market then it’s sales potential is huge. I bet a lot of Wii only games are developed.

  43. Shamus, I was disappointed that when the comment count reaches 42, you didn’t invoke the Ultimate Question somehow in the flavor text.

  44. Fernmonkey says:

    Wow. That YouTube Wii/PS3 video is the most offensive thing I’ve seen all week. And not because there’s visible female flesh.

  45. Deoxy says:

    OK, I went and watched that video, and it was really quite silly. I couldn’t figure out which system they were making fun of more, since both characters were completely ridiculous.

    Apparently, it was SUPPOSED to be a Wii commercial (though I’d guess it was fan made, not official), but wow, it was dumb. If I was the easily offended type, I’d be offended.

    If I was a feminazi, I’d be rabid. Well, even more rabid than usual.

  46. Ermel says:

    Deoxy: Your point about the doors could be right out of Donald Norman’s book “The Design of Everyday Things”, which I recommend to everyone on the grounds of it being a real eye-opener.

    http://www.amazon.com/Design-Everyday-Things-Donald-Norman/dp/0385267746

    And as for one-trick ponies, I’d like to offer Paul Simon’s view:

    He’s a one-trick pony
    He either fails or he succeeds
    He gives his testimony
    Then he relaxes in the weeds
    He’s got one trick to last a lifetime
    But that’s all a pony needs

  47. Korath says:

    The Wii does one thing the other consoles cannot ever hope to achieve. The user gets a workout while playing. No more video couch potatoes. EXERCISE!!!!

  48. Relayer says:

    I don’t really think the WII’s lack of power means much.
    Look at how well the Gameboy systems have done.

    Heck, look at how amazingly successful the DS is – and the PSP has more processing power and a larger screen.

    Ultimately it’s all about the games – but even the “lowly” Gamecube was capable of some very nice looking titles such as the Resident Evil games (notably RE 4), Killer 7, the Metroid games, both Zelda games, Baten Kaitos, etc.

    Most of these titles stand toe to toe with titles on the more powerful PS2/Xbox. Maybe they don’t have ALL the technical bells & whistles, but beautiful and unique art design (Zelda WW, Killer 7) go a long way and certainly do just as much if not more for true gamers than fancy lighting and needless effects.

  49. Some Guy says:

    To Deoxy…

    The 360 and PS3 are far more powerful and this gives developers more to work with. They can create huge believable worlds and do things that just aren’t possible on the Wii. Oblivion for example just won’t happen on the Wii.

    In 2 years time developers aren’t going to be too happy when all they have to work with is a controller. It’s not so much the graphics, but the sound, processing power… all these things contribute to immersing the player into the game far more than a motion sensing controller could.

    My friend who is a casual gamer bought a Wii and hardly ever touches it now, but he absolutely loves playing Gears of War on my 360. As it stands right now, the Wii is a last gen console with shallow party games and no online gaming.

    The controller is nothing to get excited about either. It’s been done before with Eye Toy, Arcades, light guns etc. I found that I would rather use a controller when I was playing Twilight Princess. I prefer to relax when I play games, not wave my arms around.

  50. Annon says:

    There is more to the Wii than party games. Yes, bowling is fun and yes, it brings in a lot of casual gamers. Another aspect, however, is how intuitive it is to be able to “point and activate” in a game. I hate playing shooters on consoles–it took me years to become accustomed to using two joysticks to control a character, while it took me a few hours to get used to pointing a mouse around. I only buy shooters on consoles about a year after I get a new computer–IOW, when my computer has fallen so far behind the ever-accelerating rabid tech junkies and the darn thing will only work on consoles.

    It took me minutes to get used to pointing the Wiimote around in Metroid Prime. The player’s interaction with the environment is both immersive and intuitive, and I managed to play it for hours on end without getting tired. I really enjoyed my experience playing it, and if I owned a next gen system (the Wii was borrowed) it would be a Wii, in part because of that. The other parts will be because I refuse to pay $500 for a console when $250 will do and because I am getting to the point where I am damned sick of having to replace my stuff because the market demands bigger processors.

    Now with that said, some of the PS3 and 360 titles are pretty sweet. I have been spending many a post-Christmas hour ripping through guards in Assassin’s Creed (PS3 at the same friend’s house), and I will acknowledge that this would be impossible to do on the Wii. I will never put my dollars behind such a claim, however. Not the way things are going.

  51. dyrnwyn says:

    well, all the resent consoles have kind of left me feeling sad. the wii does lack power and some games don’t work effectively with the controller. and the xbox and ps3 are just the same old thing. I actually play significantly less games now then in the time of the gamecube becouse games cost way too much for what they are. mostly I float around on the Internet and read everyone elses opinion.

  52. Hipparchus says:

    Well also too, (I’m not sure if this has been mentioned), but developers already familar with the past gen’s dev. tools and graphic design won’t have to take the time to learn the new tools. They can produce better games, because they already know what their doing. As well 3rd party devs can just publish exclusively on the Wii and have:
    1. Lower production costs
    2. Lower expectations on graphic design
    3. Tool Familarity, which means Faster Development time
    4. Being on the most popular system
    Why not be on the Wii if you are a dev.? It’s great!

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>