It's safe to say that last year's Wii U E3 debut left us with more questions than we had answers. It was clear that Nintendo has once again stepped back from the technological arms race that had cost its competitors billions in losses, and was focusing on controller-driven concept games that it felt had a greater chance of mainstream success. However, at the same time, the console was being released seven years after the debut of Xbox 360, so surely it had to reflect the generational leaps in technology we've seen since then? The demos suggested otherwise and, one year later, the evidence suggests that not a great deal has changed.Of course, as we've demonstrated, tech specs don't really matter so much to Nintendo - a sentiment it is quite happy to put on the record. Its world-class development teams have the uncanny ability to create games that look as good as they play even on less accomplished kit, and the opportunities afforded by any modern processing hardware are immense.Traditionally, the success of Nintendo's consoles has been entirely proportional to the quality of its own games and even its less successful systems like GameCube have turned a profit. By developing to the strengths of its own hardware, the company's dev teams have an uncanny ability to defy the technological limits of the host architecture. Combined with its unique take on game design, Nintendo games are quite like any other.However, the reality is that the picture is very much different for third-party publishers - and it is here that the Wii U appears to remain on shaky ground. E3 2012 demonstrated clearly that the current-gen HD era is coming to a close and, to remain relevant to third parties once Durango and Orbis appear, we really needed to see a significant step beyond what was revealed last year. But Nintendo's E3 showing effectively confirms that there is no unambiguous, generational leap in raw processing power here compared to the current HD consoles, and prior claims that the machine hosts twice the power of the Xbox 360 clearly ring hollow."Wii U is bound to deliver some great Nintendo games but in a time of transition, has the current-gen focus on the tech limited its shelf-life with third party publishers?"
Many of Nintendo's wares - including Wii Fit U and Nintendo Land - appear to be fairly basic visually with 720p rendering resolution and no anti-aliasing. The latter uses the second screen quite extensively though, which may explain this.
Instead, the assets released by Nintendo in particular are notable in how "lo-fi" they are: its own screenshots confirm that some of its most simplistic titles are running at basic 720p resolution with no kind of anti-aliasing whatsoever, just like its demos were a year ago. A closer look at the showcase titles Nintendo debuted at its E3 press conference also shows a puzzling lack of consistency in performance that we wouldn't expect to see in a console based on mature tech less than six months out from release, which we can only explain by the idea that the second screen is imposing more of a drain than we might have otherwise thought.The company's spiritual successor to pack-in title Wii Sports - Nintendo Land - is an interesting example of this inconsistency. In theory this is "home territory" where Nintendo should revel in what it does best. While the concepts and charm are there, the trademark 60Hz update is inconsistent to say the least in certain areas - puzzling for such a visually sparse title.To illustrate, here's the first analysis video we've put together. Direct feed is the premium from events like E3, but typical internet footage tops out at 30 frames per second, making analysis on smoother games impossible. Thankfully, HD broadcast footage retains full temporal resolution, and owing to the blanket coverage of the invaluable Spike TV, we can see the full fluidity of titles aspiring to 60Hz - and we can bring them to you on this page too.
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