The trouble with Nintendo’s “soft” announcement of the Wii U is that it raises more questions than it answers, and gamers aren’t exactly known for being a patient bunch.
The Wii was an immediate and obvious revolution. We all needed some time to wrap our heads around the implications of the technology. Touch screens, however, are not a new development in gaming, and so the desire for specifics is more immediate and visceral. Here are just a few questions (and the half-answers Nintendo has given).
What kind of power are we really looking at here?
Ubisoft has gushed about how the Wii U will allow them to easily develop for all three major consoles at the same time, but what does that mean exactly?
There are specs floating around the interwebs of what’s supposed to be a development console for Wii U, but how many of those details will survive into the final product remains to be seen.
Reggie Fils-Aime keeps throwing around the phrase 1080p, but the 360 and PS3 both run 720p at best, relying on upconversion for 1080p output. Is Reggie claiming true 1080p graphics or just more of the HD same?
Problematically, the gameplay flashed in the Wii U introductory video of Darksiders, Assassin’s Creed, and more wasn’t captured on a Wii U, but was running on the PS3 and 360.
I don’t think it’s a bait-and-switch, but it does smack a bit of desperation. “Graphics don’t matter” has been Nintendo’s mantra, but that’s not the impression I get from their marketing.
How is online going to work?
I never figured out Friend’s Codes. It was too much of a hassle. I’m not a huge fan of online multiplayer, but since you can sell the Wii to everybody in a family, gamer or not, it would have been nice to get online and play tennis with my mom, or race with my cousins. Too bad Friend Codes turned a simple, easy to use console into a nightmare of random character strings and annoying sub-menus.
Nintendo has to know they need a comprehensive, built-in, easy-to-use online network. My grandmother needs to not only be able to pick up the Wii U and play immediately, but she also needs to be able to connect to her family effortlessly.
An Ubisoft rep has made some claims about the online capabilities of the Wii U, with comments indicating a network akin to Xbox Live or PSN, but Nintendo is keeping tight-lipped about their plans.
Finally, Reggie has verified that Wii U only supports Wii games and peripherals, not GameCube. Is this a cost-saving measure or a hardware limitation?
I realize the Cube will be two generations removed from the Wii U, and that this move mirrors Nintendo’s portable strategy, but it’s a bit frustrating. Some of my current favorite party games are GameCube games (PacMan Vs. for instance). losing those is a bit of a blow I’d like explained.
What would you like explained? What burning questions have risen for you about the new hardware, or about E3 announcements in general?