Wii 2 and the Next Generation

Well by now you’ve already heard the rumors and leaks about the upcoming new Nintendo console. It’s kind of hard not to, especially considering bullshit Wii 2 rumors were being considered news at the time. Of course since Nintendo themselves have not yet announced the console, nothing can be confirmed or denied but it has gotten a lot of people talking.

Unfortunately, some people think this is Nintendo getting a drop on the “next generation” of consoles and wondering how long before we see the next XBox or PlayStation and it’s here that we hit a bit of a snag. Chances are, it’s still going to be a few years before we see Microsoft or Sony’s new console. They have stated repeatedly in the past that they wanted the 360 and PS3 to be ten year consoles. Will the “Wii 2” scare them into releasing a new system? Probably not. Let’s face facts here, from the perspective of processing power, the Wii was a last gen console. Rumors about the “Wii 2” claim it will be around the 360 in terms of power. Possibly a little more powerful, maybe a little less. The point is that the “Wii 2” is not a “next gen” console.

Now some people believe that the only reason we aren’t seeing a new XBox or PS3 yet is because of the recession. While this probably is a factor, it is most certainly not the only reason why we haven’t seen one. Let me ask you this question: what is a next gen console? Where do we go from here?

Despite what angry PC gamers will tell you, graphics really can’t get much better than what we have now. We are already borderline photo-realistic in our visuals. Yes we could add more power and things could look a bit better, but not enough to justify making a whole new console for it. More importantly, who the heck could take advantage of the increase in graphical capabilities? As it is few companies can take full advantage of the consoles we have and those that do are large companies with massive budgets and incredibly long development cycles for their games. We’re already at the point where if a game fails, it can destroy a company due to the sheer amount of time and money poured into it. I have a hard time believing we can really make games look much better without collapsing the industry.

Our graphics ALREADY look like THIS!

So what is the next upgrade if it isn’t graphics? Motion control? Well we already have that on PS3 and 360 with the recently released Move and Kinect. What about 3D visuals? Well few people actually own 3D TVs, there are still too many formats, and I think most people are going to wait until we can have glasses free 3D on a larger scale. More importantly, the PS3 and 360 are also already supporting 3D in some games.

So, where do we go from here? Well in a few more years we might actually see enough technological advancements to actually upgrade the visuals and add universal 3D support. But I still feel this is a few years off at the very least.

However, there are two things worth noting: First of all, the PS3 has been hacked. It’s been hacked hard. At this point it is now impossible to make a game un-pirateable and Sony’s servers have been compromised repeatedly. In all honesty, it would be in Sony’s best interest to release a PS4 as fast as possible. Unfortunately, everything I just said still holds true. They have nowhere to go from here. There’s actually a chance that they may bet it all on their new portable and slowly abandon the PS3. Unfortunately for them, I don’t see that working out.

On the other hand, the “Wii 2” is going to be about as powerful as the PS3 and 360, correct? If there is any decent upgrade to it’s motion controls, then it’s basically going to have the equivalent of a Move (with presumably a better button layout). There’s a good chance the “Wii 2” won’t be far from a PS3 with a Move and as such we may see some multi-platform Move support! But, again, speculation and wishful thinking on my part.

Am I excited to see what Nintendo has up their sleeve? Who isn’t! Would I like to see this sorry excuse for a console generation end? Yes, please. However, let’s be realistic with our expectations.

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2 Comments on “Wii 2 and the Next Generation”

  1. Fatpie42 Says:

    Graphics have gone as far as they can go? That’s a sad thought, but I very much doubt it’s accurate.

    That being said, it’s not always about the graphics, but what you do with them. The Metroid Prime games are pretty old now, yet the wonderful artwork meant that their re-release in “Metroid Prime Trilogy” didn’t feel like a way of selling Metroid Prime III twice.

    Let’s not forget that when Doom was released, the ability to make 3D environments seemed limited. In Doom the 3D was mostly an illusion, with monsters that were always staring straight at you no matter where you were (because they were only 2D really). Since then many programs have been designed for both games and CGI effects in TV and movies that make 3D graphics much easier to program. When the current gen becomes last gen, these techniques will also have developed. They will have to.

    Still, I rather doubt that Nintendo will decide to stay behind the graphical capability of their competitors in their next-gen contribution. Just because a machine is capable of certain level of graphics, doesn’t mean that every game has to use them. In fact, the based company to pioneer different levels of graphics would be Nintendo.

    I can imagine them releasing a short, but special, ultra-high graphics game just to show that the machine could handle it. Then I can imagine them releasing most other games at something closer to current gen specs. (Perhaps even slightly lower spec?) There’d probably be an update to Wii Fit and Wii Sports with much improved controls and graphics. Also they’d no doubt have something new up their sleeves. However, if they were to call it “Wii 2” we can be pretty sure that motion control will still be central.

    The result would be a machine that can comfortably port all the games from the other consoles. (Perhaps including classics like the Portal games that Wii owners had missed out on in previous years.) But at the same time Nintendo would be clearly showing 3rd party companies that games don’t all have to be at top spec. (Nintendo might even release a number of launch games intended for controllers rather than motion control, so that 3rd party companies don’t feel like anything they release of Wii HAS to be motion controlled. – Preferably the new controllers are two-handed though. That’s one great improvement with the Wii and nunchuck set-up.)

    Of course, Nintendo could work at the highest graphical level on their major titles. A Mario game, a Zelda game and *fingers crossed* a Metroid game.

    It could work really well….

    • GEL Says:

      As I said, I think we’ve reached the limit FOR NOW. We’re already AT near photo realistic graphics, the next step would BE photo realism.

      Now mind you there’s more to it than just that. We also need the power to handle many photo realistic objects on screen and support 3D with said graphics. But I think we still need to wait a few years before such a thing becomes financially viable on all accounts. Not just in terms of console cost but game development cost.

      What I’m saying is that Nintendo’s new console will continue to compete with the 360 and PS3 and we shouldn’t expect the next big visual leap until 2015 or so. Again, companies can barely take advantage of what we have now.

      Also, yes, what you say it true. It’s not as much about the power but how you USE it. I’ve seen amazing looking games even on the DS! But the point is that this would not cause a PS4 to happen.

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