The negative sentiment towards the Wii U from certain parts of the
industry may never cease, but this time around, Digital Foundary’s
analysts are able to back up their claims due to the recent discoveries
that show the exact build of the Wii U’s GPU.
While there are still some mysteries in the customly built chip, what
we needed to know for it’s maximum capabilities is now understood. Hop inside
to see exactly what the conclusion is that leads them to state rather
plainly the Wii U isn’t next-gen.
It was ballpark speculation at the time based on what we
had eyeballed at the event, but the final GPU is indeed a close match to
the 4650/4670, albeit with a deficit in the number of texture-mapping
units and a lower clock speed – 550MHz. AMD’s RV770 hardware is well
documented so with these numbers we can now, categorically, finally rule
out any next-gen pretensions for the Wii U – the GCN hardware in
Durango and Orbis is in a completely different league.
All of which may lead some to wonder quite why many of the Wii U
ports disappoint – especially Black Ops 2, which appears to have been
derived from the Xbox 360 version, running more slowly even at the same
880×720 sub-hd resolution
While there’s still room for plenty of debate about the Wii U
hardware, the core fundamentals are now in place and effectively we have
something approaching a full spec. It took an extraordinary effort to
get this far and you may be wondering quite why it took a reverse
engineering specialist using ultra-magnification photography to get this
information, when we already know the equivalent data for Durango and
Orbis. The answer is fairly straightforward – leaks tend to derive from
development kit and SDK documentation and, as we understand it, this
crucial information simply wasn’t available in Nintendo’s papers, with
developers essentially left to their own devices to figure out the
performance level of the hardware.
While I would argue a generation of gaming systems is based on the existence of a new system in that generation versus the direct hardware comparisons, you still have to wonder if the Wii U is going to see future third party support at all if the other systems truly bury it. While I feel the market is crashing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people will move to the more affordable Wii U development cycle. What are your thoughts?