Wedbush declares Wii U "two years late"

Analysts say Nintendo has conceded advantage to competitors

Nintendo's Wii U is arriving on the market at least two years late, according to influential analyst firm Wedbush Morgan.

In a note to investors, authored by Michael Pachter, Edward Woo and Nick McKay, the company pointed out that Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 footage was used to demonstrate third-party Wii U games - likely evidence that the system's high definition visuals will not surpass those of the current consoles.

"We think that Wii U is arriving two years late, given that the other HD consoles already have peripherals for movement," said the firm.

"As Nintendo did not provide any specifics around the new console's power or pricing (Nintendo used PS3 and Xbox 360 game footage in the Wii U presentation), we are assuming that the Wii U is unlikely to provide greater power than the current HD consoles," continued the report.

"If that is the case, we believe Nintendo has conceded a tremendous first mover advantage to Microsoft and Sony, which launched Kinect and Move control schemes, respectively, in late 2010."

The new tablet controller also failed to impress, largely due to it's role in multiplayer gaming.

"We were also disappointed by the recent announcement that each console can support only one of the new controllers, with the controllers for additional players coming from the original Wii."

The report also notes that the Wii U announcement "lost some impact" as a result of the limited information available about the new product. So far Nintendo has refused to offer detail on the console's performance, such as the type of graphic chip or more details on the IBM CPU.

Details of the PlayStation Vita received a better reception, with Wedbush calling Sony "smart to focus on power and core" but warning that success was dependent on strong launch games and the service provided to American 3G users by telecommunications partner AT&T.

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Latest comments (36)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
So they are just making assumptions based on incomplete data and calling it a day? Must be great to be an analyst.

Further, why didn't they use the Zelda demo, Japanese garden demo or the street scene demo as a measure of the graphical capabilities instead of simply basing their opinion from recorded footage of the other consoles?

Also, did it not occur to them that maybe the reason they didn't release any GPU info yet is because the GPU isn't final?
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James Poole Managing Director, Sarcastic Hedgehog Ltd9 years ago
I'm yet to read any analyst report that turns out to be anywhere accurate a year later. If they think the success of Nintendo is based on its graphical power one has to wonder what Wedbush thought about the original Wii.
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Lewis Brown Snr Sourcer/Recruiter, Electronic Arts9 years ago
I have to agree that Im yet to be convinced...whats the point of releasing a unit on par or slightly better than whats already available? And using footage from your competitors? really?
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments9 years ago
"And using footage from your competitors? really?"

The games in question weren't in a recordable state on WiiU AFAIK. Unless they actually claim another platform's footage as being theirs, I don't see what the issue here is.
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Ricky Hodgson Studying BA (Hons) Computer Games and Visual Effects, Anglia Ruskin University9 years ago
Wii U is completely... completely confusing me.

I just don't get it.
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Tony Johns9 years ago
And these are the same analyst's that once said that the Wii will fail to outsell the PS3 and XBox360 back in 2006?

Wait until the console is released and a year after when SONY and Microsoft release their new consoles for the next gen BEFORE making any conclusions.

Sometimes I have been reminded of what I have known in my old Psychology class, you can't make any conclusions until the dust has settled and the results are in.

These people are just making up conclusions before the information is even clear.
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If the game industry was based on assumption then its safe to say that most people would say this product would fail but lets face it Nintendo wont let us down.
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Lewis Brown Snr Sourcer/Recruiter, Electronic Arts9 years ago
@Neil Its not an Issue, I dont think they did anything wrong. I just dont think it really gives of the impression they are pushing the envelope. I know the reasons why, but it doesnt seem commercially desirable to show content produced by your competiton in your presentation.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Lewis Brown on 13th June 2011 4:55pm

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Art C. Jones Writer / Blogger 9 years ago
"...we are assuming that the Wii U is..."

I wondered where my Jump to Conclusions mat had gone.

Pachter must have borrowed it.

Hey Michael can you send it back to me?
This afternoon I was hoping to wildly guess about the future with little hope of being right.

Man being an analyst must be a good gig.
It's the only job you can have where people will publish your assumptions instead of telling you to go back and get some facts before you start talking ;).
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Taylan Kay Game Designer / Programmer / Marketer 9 years ago
Jumping to conclusions is in the job description of being an analyst. If the conclusion was readily available, you wouldn't need analysts.

Also, it's little different than corporate execs jumping to conclusions about the future prospects of a new peripheral. Sometimes they are right and become a success story, sometimes they are wrong and success leaves the building as quickly as it came (remember Sega the console maker?). In the case of Wii U, I'm still not sure what to make of it, and I'm having a real hard time as a gamer seeing what new experience it offers me.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 9 years ago
I wonder what method Wedbush Morgan and/or Pachter use to make their predictions. I like to go to set up a paddling pool in the garden, write some wild and fact-less nonsense on the bottom of some rubber duckies, drop them into the pool and come back five minutes later with a hook to see what's happening in the future of the gaming industry. Using these powerful methods of prediction, I have discovered that Sony and United Biscuits will be joining forces to make the PS4 (with an edible controller) and Rovio will next year buy majority shares in Nintendo.

I am available for contract work if Wedbush or any other analytics company is interested.
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Lewis Brown Snr Sourcer/Recruiter, Electronic Arts9 years ago
Will the controllers come in different flavours?...I think this could be a winner
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago

As I keep saying, respected or not (and pardon my French, but NO one earns my respect in regards to writing ABOUT games if they don't fucking PLAY them on a regular basis - otherwise, respected or not, you're just a lousy Karnak with a floppy disk), some of these industry analysts are total killjoys of the lowest order.

This sort of BS is no better than reading "Well, my friend says that game sucks/is going to suck, so I think it does, too!" posts on GameFaqs when a game hasn't even been released (or has only been out for a few hours).

+10 Russell for hitting the nail on the head, btw.

As I also noted here and elsewhere, them more open-minded you were, the MORE the Wii U part of the conference made PERFECT sense. Shit, I wish I could make games, as I had a FLOOD of ideas just watching that part of the presentation. My own analysis (as someone who's actually been PLAYING games since 1972, or 1968 if you count failing at pinball while standing on a milk crate at Coney Island) would have been a lot more positive because I CAN see the Wii U as a viable platform in the future, period.

As for the notion that the Wii U NEEDS to surpass the PS3 and 360 in terms of graphics... er... never mind. If you can't get past that point and make it a huge negative deal, you're fighting an uphill battle in terms of understanding it's LESS about power and more about what a developer can do with what's under the hood on any platform.
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Kieren Bloomfield Software Engineer, EA Sports9 years ago
I can't help but think that people have really missed the point of the Wii U. It all comes down to what's included in the box at retail. Sure Sony and Microsoft have Move and Kinect but they weren't part of the original console offering. Not everyone has them. Take a look down the Xbox 360 aisle at you game store and count the number of purple kinect boxes. Hmmm, not many games for it there and the same goes for Move. Everyone on a Wii has a wii remote and everyone on a Wii U will have the tablet. This means you have a bigger audience and more opportunities for inventive games.

The same argument holds true for anyone saying, but I'll be able to link my PS Vita to my PS3 or my iPad to whatever. Only a few people will have both devices and be willing to hook them together. Let alone thinking of the cost of that.

When the Wii launched is was little more powerful than the previous generation, I don't think of the Wii U as being particularly underpowered.

I still have my reservations based on software support, but there's nothing wrong with the hardware.
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Rod Franklin Business Development, CiRCLE9 years ago
Nintendo was the only console developer (of the 3) with room to grow (beyond motion). The others adopted motion technology, Nintendo went full HD, and then some with the tablet. Nintendo was brilliant in allowing players to recycle peripherals and save money, consumers don't have to go out and buy new for home co-op/versus.

As you know... this tablet gives players a way to enjoy their console titles more often (regardless of the tv), and that will more than likely increase playing time. On that note, there is a chance that consumers will complete games more often and seek new purchases on a more frequent basis.
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Josef Brett Animator 9 years ago
Stop giving Pachter column inches please. I don't want to be disrespectful, but what he says is generally rubbish.
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Adam Campbell Studying Games Technology, City University London9 years ago
After countless "Wii HD" predictions that never came true, I'm not surprised to see Pachter say this.

He appears to have missed the point entirely, yet again. There was no need for Wii-U two years ago, this is Nintendo going after another market, or should I say both now they think they can do.

I think the Wii served it's purpose perfectly and stole the market, now Wii-U will be their next step. That said, I think the branding and marketing should be a lot better than this Wii-U initiative.
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Craig Bamford Writer/Consultant 9 years ago
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Pachter was the one who thought that the Wii would be a miserable failure, and that the PS3 would be the breakout success of the generation, wasn't he?

I can't imagine why anybody would take him seriously in that light. He certainly doesn't seem to have the credibility to "assume" anything. We honestly don't know how Nintendo will use the Wii U—but the one thing that we can assume with any odd Nintendo controller choice is that they'll have first-party releases that do remarkable, industry-changing things with it.

That was the case with the SNES, the N64, the DS, and the Wii. Why on earth wouldn't it be the case with the Wii U?
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University9 years ago
Whatever your thoughts on Wii U, you can't deny Nintendo have generated plenty of interest in the device. Hopefully this negative reception will be proved wrong over time. Nintendo do make some bizarre decisions, and not everything they touch turns to gold, but given their enormous cash reserves, recent record, the brand strength of Nintendo, DS, and Wii, not to mention the brand strength of their classic IPs and their ability to create new mass market IPs, AND the fact they have some of the finest developing minds in their first party studios... It takes a very brave, or foolish mindset to bet against them succeeding, even in this competitive market.

For me the question isn't whether or not the Wii U and 3DS will succeed in terms of selling tens of millions of units and turning in healthy profits, but the real questions I think we should be asking are whether or not they can expand on their predecessors success, and whether or not they can provide a healthy, compelling market for third party software. Not to mention, it remains to be seen how two dedicated gaming systems will fare in an age of increasingly popular convergent devices that allow ever more avenues for accessing and playing games. Given Nintendo's ability to adapt and innovate in the last decade, (even as they cemented their classic brands) and disrupt the graphical arms race that threatened to throw them out of the home console space, I have some confidence in them, but they do have some formidable challenges ahead of them. The industry is a more vibrant and exciting place with a successful Nintendo around, so I for one hope they're successful for a long while yet.
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Dave Knudson Sr. Technology Manager, Electronic Arts9 years ago
These guys could use a bit of a history lesson. Typically pricing and detailed specs are provided in fairly close proximity to launch (e.g. E3/Summer before a Holiday launch that same year).

Additionally harping on the use of 360/PS3 footage? It might seem bad, but there have been "artist's renditions" and other such things used for other pre-release platforms in the least at the very early stages.

Also, not sure what the hangup is on being "more powerful". From a power standpoint what matters is how much work is it to get to a level of fidelity that's acceptable/enjoyable for the target audience. A lot of the early console chatter is about Platform A being x times faster than Platform B, with no consideration of how many man hours it would actually take to make that advantage a reality.
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Tony Johns9 years ago
I would have liked it better if they named it, the Super Wii...

Like they did from the original NES to the Super NES.

I know it would be like History repeating for the older gamers but the newer and casual gamers will feel right at home with the Super Wii.

But the WiiU is not too bad.

Next 5 years they will be talking about the WiiMii

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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 9 years ago
Dave, I think the number of hours or, more correctly, the number of years of experience it takes to bring gameplay and graphics up to a certain level is the key point here. The question is, has Nintendo designed it with enough of a performance edge over the Xbox 360 and PS3 that developers can get the same quality out of the Wii U after a year's work as they did with five or six years on the other two consoles. If so, the games will start out at parity rather than the Wii U looking inferior, and will eventually progress to being better on the Wii U than other consoles.

If not, they'll end up with games that look and play a bit worse on the Wii U. That might not be a big deal if they're not really targeting the core gamer with this one, as with the Wii, but if they are...
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Curt, Vigil Games has stated they managed to get Darksiders 2 fully up and running on Wii U in just 5 weeks. And the hardware isn't even final yet. If that's indicative of how quickly developers can grasp the intricacies of the console, the visual aspects will be quickly realized.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game9 years ago
A light hearted look at the Pachtman's predictions, (warning this article contains language some may find offensive, if you don't like the c word, think twice about opening;) )
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 9 years ago
How do these industry analysts get there jobs. They dont play video games yet they talk as if they knew so much about them.

The whole thing about using PS3 and Xbox footage is driving me nuts. I think the WiiU can output those graphics no problem. Complete SPECS were not offered but then again, they have a chance to bump them up before the console gets out the door. Its a good move providing Sony and Microsoft announced they are developing new consoles.

And they forget. The proprietary optical disc media has as much storage space as a single layer blue ray disc, unless it supports multi layer data storage. It has the ability to use external USB drives, making it easier to handle data then having an internal drive. It has 3 graphics processors, 1 more than Xbox. The XBOX has lower Specs than the PS3 the WiiU has defenetly more than an Xbox. And this analyst says the WiiU is not capable of outputting graphics on par with either system??? What an imbecil.

The other thing I want to point out. Is the controller can in fact be use for multiplayer games. Games like super smash bros., Super mari Bros Mii, little big planet and games that use one screen to do multiplayer will work fine streaming gameplay media on multiple controllers. And maybe a few RPG's that dont use so many sophisticated graphics can handle multiple screen out puts in games like pokemon and stuff.

But multiplayer is no differant then a PS3 or Xbox, however the touch screen can add features to multiplayer in creative ways. It just adds more featurs that can be used on a game. imagine playing a game like ghost reacon or call of duty, multiplayer online. The screen is able to point out the position of you and your friends on a battle field and you can issue commands on the touch screen while controlling the action and shooting on the big screen. You can issue an airstrike in any part of the map, while still doing other things elsewere.

I dont think the console is ment as a hub to streem gamplay to multiple players. and to me thats ok. its like having a PS3 streem from one console to multiple high defenition screens. Who the hell is gonna have 4 hi definition screens to play multiplayer from a single console in their living room anyway??? And I think people are missing the point to what the contoller is all about. i think its made to enhance the single player expirience, because the Wii enhanced multiplayer expiriences and this is nintendos way of blending the two.

I also think the WiiMote will be part of Nintendo and have the same relationship to the Touch screen controller in the same manner the Dual Shock and Move are related to each other.

I dont know you guys but Im excited about this console. I do hate the bulkiness of the controller. But the features it adds to games is a nice trade off. plus it has a standard set of buttons and analog sticks.

These analysts and share holders are stupid. they know nothing about gaming yet, they think because they invest in gaming companies they know about gaming.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 14th June 2011 1:19pm

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Mike Wells Writer 9 years ago
Firstly - Wedbush are investment analysts not industry analysts; there's a big difference in what they do, what they know, who they do it for and why. Secondly - the guy's entitled to his opinion, but that's what it is: "opinion" - which his clients can take or leave (as can anyone else). Chances are those same clients are getting opinions from multiple sources then making up their own minds (or at least they should be). Waiting for "facts" doesn't come into it (it's too late for investors by the time that happens - they want an edge - and then what you're doing is market research). No point getting worked up about it - if his track record is that bad it will ultimately affect whether people listen to him.
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Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer 9 years ago
I found it funny that these analysts can "analyse" the market with limited data and claim something is a failure before they know anything real about them.

The thing is Nintendo didn't announce any specs for Wii either. What happened then? So does that mean if they don't announce something it is a failure? Also if they bother to watch the conference closely, they have Twilight Princess HD footage and there is a show case Japanese garden footage for the console. Why are they not basing on those but pin pointing on others?

No sufficient data and not paying attention to what really happened at the conference and casually commenting as analysis. I think it is quite easy money for them.
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Kenneth Mcmorran 3D/Environment Artist 9 years ago
The problem is everyone keeps saying the Wii U will be next gen but it wont, it will no doubt be technologically inferior to the rival next gen consoles but thats how it is with Nintendo, they focus on promoting new game play experiences rather than clock speeds and poly counts but they failed to promote anything at E3 this year. They turned up with another gimmicky peripheral that is entirely reliant on situational play. All of a sudden they decide that gamers do actually care about graphics and show some ambiguous footage of zelda and a bird like the graphics were uber when in actual fact they were nothing more than whats possible today on pc. The analysts were right, nobody was impressed by the Nintendo stepping up to the plate 2 years too late.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Kenneth, the PS2 was behind the GC and Xbox but that didn't seem to matter then. Why is it an issue now?

And the situation with Wii was simply that the art assets and game engines could not be easily shared between the HD consoles and Wii. Shaders and online infrastructure where also a big deal. This time the resolution, shader architecture, game engines, art assets, etc....between Wii U and the PS4 and Next X can all be shared or will be compatible.
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Kenneth Mcmorran 3D/Environment Artist 9 years ago
Im not saying it does matter, people buy games/consoles for all different reasons hence the point I made about Nintendo's success with finding a market not reliant of graphical prowess. But, Nintendo explained that their next gen hardware would be designed to take into consideration a wider spectrum of gamers. I take from that they are referring to the disgruntled core gamers of the last 2 Nintendo generations. Technologically Nintendo chose to distance themselves from the 360 and PS3, Nintendo chose to ignore technological trends in favour of revolutionary gameplay. Now that bubble has burst and a new bubble has begun to expand, multi media platforms. Its still early days and Nintendo will no doubt look at the dreadful feedback and re-assess their position but early indicators show nothing more than a company riding on the success of a dwindling peripheral boom. MS and Sony proved peripheral experiences can be imitated and made better so why bother basing you new tech on yet another peripheral?
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
A controller, whether it's a Dual Shock, a Wii remote, an MS Sidewinder for PC or a Wii U tablet is simply the direct connection between the gamer and game. The Wii U controller is a hybrid of dual analog game pads and the dual screen set up of the DS. This doesn't require gamers to buy a console and then buy a separate peripheral. A peripheral by the very nature of the word is something that is not part of the fundamental default experience and given that the Wii U table is not a peripheral.

Nintendo isn't basing the console on a peripheral, it's basing the console on input experiences. It takes all the greatest facets of successful peripherals and makes them part of the default experience. The Wii U tablet has the same LED lighting array as the Wii's sensor bar mean it is capable of acting as a Wii Sensor Bar. If the forward facing camera is equipped properly, it could theoretically enable Kinect like experiences. Combine that with a Wii remote and you have Move. So it's all the best of all worlds from the most accepted game pad design in dual analogs to gesture tracking and body tracking (potentially) in one default unit.

So the scope of input has been widened dramatically while keeping it all accessible right out of the box.
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Kenneth Mcmorran 3D/Environment Artist 9 years ago
A peripheral by definition is anything that works with a device but is not part of it, whether you want to label a peripheral as something that ships with a console or is bought later makes no difference.

"Nintendo isn't basing the console on a peripheral, it's basing the console on input experiences."

Where do these input experiences come from? If im not mistaken its the peripheral/controller, sorry...but they are exactly the same thing. In this case the Wii U tablet was the sole technological focus of Nintendo's E3 show, if that isnt demonstrating your intention to base the next Wii experience on a controller/peripheral experience then I really do not see how they could have made it any clearer.

" it could theoretically enable Kinect like experiences...Combine that with a Wii remote and you have Move"

In other words it will be offering motion sensitive controls that are already being offered by current gen peripherals (Kinect) but 2 years later when the U actually ships. This is exactly what I am talking about, sorry Nintendo dont tell me your developing your next gen console with a wider variety of gamers in mind If you cant substantiate it with any evidence whatsoever. The point is they should never have made a next gen presentation because lets face it they dont have anything next gen.
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Stefan Pettersson Specialist Consultant, Fat Tuna9 years ago
Wii U looks perfectly... uninteresting. Like the Wii did before it. I seriously doubt Nintendo will be able to repeat the success of Wii. They for sure won't be able to attract the hardcore gaming audience this time either.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Kenneth, it only does....everything.

Last gen, this gen and next gen.
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Nathan Hiemenz9 years ago
I think this article is trying to point out that the only thing "new" the U brings to the table is the touchscreen, which they predict isn't as compelling as motion gaming.

Somehow I got far more excited about the prospect of the Vita connecting to the PS3 than of the entirety of the Wii U. As was pointed out elsewhere, the Vita comes out before the Wii U, meaning that the U will literally be following in Sony's footsteps. Granted, the Sony solution will be about twice as expensive, but it really does means that Nintendo won't have a single original item in its new system.
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Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer 9 years ago
Wii did outsell all the "interesting" console in the end didn't it? The thing is people need to look at Nintendo's approach to games - it is about the experience and making a profit. GameCube finished the race last but it was extremely profitable. Wii was a profitable console right from the start as compared to 360 and PS3, which are more expensive and debut with a loss for each console sold. Nintendo upgrading to HD is not just because they want to please gamers but because the technology is now mature enough to produce those graphics without causing gamers an arm and a leg. HD TVs are now also cheap and been incorporated in most households. Nintendo doesn't get involved in the tech race because their pockets are not as deep as conglomerations like Microsoft and Sony so they reinvent existing technologies to provide different experience.

Wii and Wii U are both examples of that. Whether certain analyst or personality like it or not, it is Nintendo's way of business and at the end of the day, there are only a handful of analyst and not all of them represent the mass consumers. DS and Wii are excellent examples.
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