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Why the Wii U Might be Getting more 3rd Party Support than you Think

Our first community opinion piece is here. Ricard Julianti, will now be penning articles for Playeressence  every now and then. Check out Ricard’s first piece here! It’s really good, a must read to be honest. 

Hey everyone, Ricard Julianti here. You may have seen me posting on the site in recent months, providing my own thoughts on the topics provided. So when Furious Francis asked if I would be interested in writing some opinion articles for PlayerEssence, I jumped at the opportunity.

I try to stay well-informed on all aspects of the industry, soaking up news on any of the “Big 3” and their dealings. I probably have the strongest opinions on Nintendo at the moment and most of my articles will reflect that; but once more information is released about what Sony and Microsoft are doing, I’m sure I’ll have thoughts I’d like to share as well. I’m pretty excited to be working with Furious Francis to provide news and facts about the industry and hopefully, I am well received.

If you aren’t a fan of lengthy articles, these might not be for you but I hope you give them a shot regardless. Anyway, on with the show…

Ever since Sony released some details on the PS4 and its specs, people have been wondering, “Will the Wii U even be able to run multiplatform games, or will we have another Wii on our hands?” It is certainly a valid question and one that begs asking.

To start, we have to realize that Nintendo isn’t planning on making a 7-10 year console, that just isn’t what they do. Their hand was forced a bit with the Wii due to technology, what they wanted to accomplish with the Wii U probably wasn’t quite “there” back in 2011. My guess is that streaming to the second screen with very little delay was giving them troubles and there is no way it would have worked as well as it does now. The Wii U is likely going to be a 5-7 year console and I don’t see that as a bad thing. By the time third-party developers really start to utilize the power in the PS4 past the point of what the Wii U can do, it will be on its way out. Also, long life-cycles lead to more sequels and bored gamers. Just look at Dead Space 3, plenty of hype behind it yet gamers just didn’t really seem to care anymore and it hasn’t met sales expectations.

Over time, diminishing returns on graphics will force developers to come up with something new to innovate other than making games as photorealistic as possible. As this picture shows, rendering more polygons doesn’t really have the same effect as it used to.

 

Sure you can probably tell the difference between the last two images, but a different art style or clever texturing can make that difference negligible. If you sit just a couple of feet further from the image, you will hardly be able to see the details you could up close which brings me to my next point. The human eye has a hard time distinguishing between 1080p and 720p.

If you have perfect eyesight and have a 50” tv, the full benefit of 1080p is noticeable if you are sitting 6-7.5 feet away. Any farther and it starts to become less and less apparent. The smaller the screen size, the closer you have to sit in order to tell the difference as this chart shows: http://s3.carltonbale.com/resolution_chart.html

 

The average person has their tv 5 or more feet away from the couch they sit at unless their screen is quite small, not to mention the amount of people who don’t have perfect eyesight to begin with. Nintendo knows this which is why they are aiming for 720p at 60fps.

Native 1080p also creates an issue for developer budgets. The higher resolution artwork takes more power to render and more time to write the code properly so problems don’t arise. These things lead to a higher budget, even before you add in marketing. Of course companies are going to try to promote their games, leading to an even bigger budget. Western developers have been struggling for the better part of a year (or longer) with high budget games. They pour all of this money into a beautiful game, promote it like crazy and when the game ends up failing to meet expectations, the studio might be forced to close because they don’t have any money left.

It isn’t just Western studios either, pretty much any studio that tries to appeal to “Western” audiences by being bombastic and visually stunning has problems moving units. Square Enix in particular has been hit hard by this.  It isn’t a sustainable strategy and with development costs increasing 10% or more for the next generation, we will see even more studios shut down if things don’t change.

So what does all of this mean for the Wii U? As developers see that putting out increasingly high budget games doesn’t turn a profit, they will try to scale things back a little to try to stay alive. With the way photorealism makes a budget balloon, smaller third parties won’t be able to afford to compete visually and will likely opt for either a different art style or a lower resolution at a higher frame rate as well. Games with different art styles other than “photorealistic” could even take over as the market leaders rather than “Realistic War Shooter 18”.

Next-gen engines are extremely scalable, with the ability to be used on everything from the most expensive gaming PC you can put together to smartphones and tablets. Even the AI is scalable in games, so while enemies on the Wii U might be “dumber” than those on the PS4, they will still be more advanced than what we currently have. The visual disparity between games on the Wii U versus the PS4 will be much like the difference between a PC game running on “Very high/Ultra” vs “Medium” and maybe even “High” settings. Lower resolution and less “frill effects” such as the number of particles, shadows, and reflections, but at a higher framerate (if the developer optimizes correctly) plus the unique gameplay elements the Gamepad brings to the table.

Look at these images comparing the different settings in Crysis 3.

http://www.gamereactor.eu/media/26/crysis3minimista_702601b.jpg
http://www.gamereactor.eu/media/26/crysis3minimista_702611b.jpg

 Compared to “Very High”, does “Medium” have less in the way of draw distance, lighting/shadows and general resolution? Sure, but is the game virtually unplayable? No. You could even argue that the “Low” setting is still a gorgeous game that you would be willing to play if your PC wasn’t able to do more.

When it comes down to it, even if you own more than one next-gen system, you likely won’t double dip on any games. If you only see one version of the game running, you will never even know what the others are doing so why does it really matter if one has more particle effects and better reflections? You enjoy the game because it is fun to play, not because it has twice as many particles on the screen at once.

Nintendo already has more developers on board than developers that are not supporting the Wii U.  Crytek, Capcom, Ubisoft, TT Games, WB, Square Enix, Criterion, Atlus, Namco Bandai, Sega, Platinum and Indie devs popping up left and right; versus EA (minus Criterion), Deep Silver, Epic (UE3 support only), and CD Projekt RED.

We won’t really know what is and is not coming to the Wii U from third parties until E3 is said and done. Nintendo will come out swinging, showing off just what the Wii U can do, and it will impress, that much is for sure. Once people start to realize there is more to the system, third parties will support it more and more. They would be foolish to ignore a system with a larger install base than the PS4/720 combined.

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Author: RicardJulianti (11 Posts)


23 Responses to Why the Wii U Might be Getting more 3rd Party Support than you Think

  1. Sleepyhun says:

    Finally. Someone who understands. They always called me stupid when i said i cant see a difference. And even more when i told them that skyward sword only looked ugly on large hd tvs.

  2. Sid says:

    Excelente article, it seems that there are more people that thinks that the true in gaming is in how fun its the game and no in how realistic it looks. Greetings from Argentina to the owner of this article and to the community.

  3. 598gh says:

    where I live all the people r sony drones (Saudi Arabia) they won't believe anything about this article but I do cuz I love games not companies thats why I love Nitendo

  4. donzaloog says:

    Great article. I also agree that devs will realize that it’s too expensive to develop on the Ps4/720 and will put more support on Wii U.

    I think Nintendo knew exactly what they were doing by making the Wii U as powerful as it is. They were aiming to go forward from this gen but also keep the development cost low.

  5. Ogya says:

    A well written piece Ricard. Nice work.

    The distractors will surely have something to say just because they didn't read it properly or their minds have already been made and they can't see sense :).

  6. Troy says:

    Dropped by from your link on NL.

    Great opinion piece, you laid the facts out nicely.

    Bookmarked :)

  7. venomjamaica says:

    Very great article…. I have reposted this to my GAMEHEAD page on facebook. I have been saying this to all my gaming colleague for a long time. It's great to see a professional writing the exact same thing.

    I am very excited for e3…. I know that NINTENDO will surprise alot of us. Again great article friend.

  8. jesgrad07 says:

    To those that don't like to read lengthy articles get Natural Reader…It is free all you do is copy and paste the article in and the computer reads it and you just listen.

    Congrats Richard. I enjoyed the article. This is basically what I have been thinking. Just looking at the Crysis 3 screens on very high, high, medium and low setting… people really squabble over the difference?

    • Alex says:

      I honestly can not tell the difference between those four.

      • RicardJulianti says:

        Exactly.

        If you zoom in on the image and pay attention to the shadowing on the left building and the sun beams, you can see it a bit also the DoF on the gun….but really there isn't that much difference. That's 1080p vs 720p for ya.

  9. sergio111293 says:

    Very nice article.
    The law of Diminishing Returns explains it all. We've reached a point in technology where having more stuff like more polygons won't make much of a difference.
    Just because the Wii U versions of multiplats won't look the best, that doesn't mean that they will look bad. If they don't rush the Wii U version, it'll still look great, unless you're one of those nitpickers that must point out every tiny flaw(i.e. annoying).
    3rd-Party Exclusives & Cross-over games are a sure way to get people to buy your system, Nintendo just has to keep at it and it could become the next Super Nintendo. (;

  10. Silver says:

    This article is really awesome, and I'll be looking forward to more of Ricard Julianti's posts! I like the visual representation involved in the article. I was actually shocked to see the the lack of difference between 6000, and 60000. The negligible difference between that, and the whole 1080p fiasco. Makes you realize it's just all hype propagated by companies to try and sell their "newest" system. I say don't give in to the hype.

    • Furious Francis says:

      Yeah, Ricard is a talented writer, he just needed a platform. Im looking forward to his posts as well

    • RicardJulianti says:

      -8GB of super fast [and high latency] GDDR5! (by the way, it is unified so the whole system uses it, not just the GPU).
      -8 core CPU! (that is basically 2 tablet CPU's merged together, with long pipelines)
      -4MB of cache! (shared between each core of the CPU. Wii U: 3MB between 3 cores, PS4: 4MB between 8 cores)
      -OS that records the last 15 minutes of play and has sharing functions! (That all chews into the RAM….where do you think the OS is kept? The 15 minutes of HD video?)
      -1080p! (at 30fps. Wii U: 720p at 60fps)

      Hype is called hype for a reason.

  11. ck1x says:

    This is not only a great read but he provides visual facts to show that he knows what he’s talking about. The evolution of graphics are stagnating and its not so easy to impress people as it was back when the 360 & PS3 both launched. Yes higher spec machines will put out sharper and more detailed images, but like the article shows its not really a worlds apart kind of difference though. Keep up these kind of articles, its really great to read intellectual written pieces that provide a sense of reality and logic in this age of chasing specs…

  12. ei8bit says:

    Great Read Ricard. Looking forward for your next article. I agree what everything you said, I always thought that the next gen is not really a big leap to this gen. Some people may not see the difference in 720p as oppose to 1080p. Also with popping out bad news like Triple A developers closure, I'm not a bit worried of Wii U's Future. In fact, I believed it will be brighter. It's always about business, Wii U right now maybe struggling on 3rd parties support, instead making/porting it on Wii U, they choose the PS3 and XBOX360 which has a many consumers right now. Nintendo announce cross-over to other companies like recently Atlus, I'm sure E3 will have many announcement to these cross-over thing. Looking forward to E3 2013.

    • RicardJulianti says:

      To me it seems like Nintendo is giving a lot of attention to the 3DS right now in order to clear space for E3. If they make most of their big 3DS announcements early, that leaves more room for a Wii U blowout. They do need to get with the program and announce dates for Pikmin and W101 though.

      With the investor meeting next week, they will have to give something….another 3 month drought would be unacceptable. I mean, Game & Wario and W101 are both listed as "Coming Soon" on the eShop I believe. I know that W101 is…..man I want that game.

      I forgot to mention it in my article, but Iwata said in the Nintendo Direct that they will be sharing "information on the efforts of our third party publishers on Wii U"….which clearly means non-crossover, non-Nintendo published games. I am so pumped for E3 it's ridiculous.

  13. Ryan says:

    Awesome article! I'm not a tech guru but I know my way around the motherboard…People,(gamers) need to read and comprehend this article. I have always loved Nintendo that being said I'm a fan of games not consoles but Nintendo understands the symbiotics between both perfectly…Good job author of whom your name I do not know.

  14. AaronB says:

    Well said; I'm looking forward to more of your stuff in the future. Everything seems to be pointing towards this E3 being one of the best and most important ones ever. I'm going to need to free up that entire week to just keep up with the coverage.

  15. corniliuss says:

    good article. Very good.

  16. Furious Francis says:

    Wow, what a great article! I agree with everything said!

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