Nintendo is releasing the successor to the Wii this holiday season. Outside of that fact, and the console featuring a tablet controller, nearly every other piece of information is surrounded by rumors and speculation, even down to the console's name.
One of the burning questions about the Wii U asks how powerful the console is. Considering its early release date relative to the Xbox 720/PS4 and that the Wii had far lesser muscle than its competition, will the Wii U qualify as next-gen or will it be a late competitor to the current-gen systems?
If we follow the trend of rumors about the Wii U's power, it's been decreasing with each successive rumor, so much so that today's latest insider report from GamesIndustry International has the system even weaker than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
In January, an inside source claimed the Wii U was less powerful than Nintendo had originally claimed but was twice as powerful as the Xbox 360. Last week, Darksiders II Game Director Marvin Donald provided an update by describing the Wii U as "on par" with the current consoles. Today, an inside source claims that the Wii U "is not up to the same level as the PS3 or the 360." Another source from GamesIndustry, this one apparently from a major developer, reiterates:
"It doesn't produce graphics as well as the PS3 or the 360. There aren't as many shaders, it's not as capable. Sure, some things are better, mostly as a result of it being a more modern design. But overall the Wii U just can't quite keep up."
Note the downward trend.
If anything, the latest reports offer credence to what Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto said about the Wii U after E3 last year, that it wouldn't really outperform the PS3 and Xbox 360.
If the Wii U does prove to be only as strong - from a technical standpoint - as six-seven year old consoles that we already have, then again, Nintendo will be relying on innovation. In this case, that innovation is the tablet controller and whatever new online infrastructure it offers.
While Epic Games VP Mark Rein believes the Wii U will succeed, industry analyst Michael Pachter believes that the low-powered console will "Dreamcast itself." Seeing how Nintendo's profits fell below expectations last year and that their executives had to take salary cuts, a lot is riding on the release of the Wii U.
Launching a console which may become obsolete a year or two later by more powerful PlayStation and Xbox consoles has us curious as to what will be revealed at E3 this summer when Nintendo answers all of our questions with the full unveiling of the Wii U.
Today's Nintendo rumors also include a potential November 18th release date for the Wii U.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.
Source: GamesIndustry International