Nintendo's Wii U has "major issue" with capability

Dean Takahashi discusses issues with the Wii U's tablet controller

Nintendo's E3 2012 press conference left many unsatisfied with its content, with many people citing the software as a disappointment. However, to GamesBeat's Dean Takahashi, limitations with the tablet controller are the most disappointing aspect to him.

"They have a major issue with the capability of the Wii U console where it has a single processor but it has to drive multiple displays," said Takahashi. "A single graphics chip inside the console has to drive the big screen, the main game screen, but it also has to provide the imagery for the tablet controller, the game pad. And yet the system itself isn't that powerful."

"Nintendo only showed games with one game pad controller and the TV," he noted. "Most games out there, if you're in a social setting, you want two controllers. Nintendo didn't show any games that do that. They admitted in a Q&A that the games are going to run slower if you have two game pads and playing on a main display. That's a fairly big issue for them."

Currently, Nintendo is trying to push the capabilities of the system in an "asymmetric" sense, but Takahashi isn't completely bullish on that. "They made a good case that you can play with one controller and multiple Wii controllers, what they call asymmetric gaming where one person is looking at the small tablet screen and trying to deploy zombies while the people playing with the controllers were all on the main screen," said Takahashi. "You come up with very creative, different kinds of games where it's one against four, or one person going online. They tried to justify and turn into an advantage this major weakness of the Wii U, but I think a lot of people saw this as a weakness."

"The games themselves were creative. They tried to do something like Wii Sports with NintendoLand, which has mini-games in it that explore the capabilities of the tablet and the touch screen. But there wasn't an obvious blockbuster within those games. They may have had a good one in ZombieU, but in the demos it didn't necessarily play that well. Nintendo came up as a pretty big disappointment at E3," he concluded.

Read the full interview on [a]list.

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Latest comments (16)

I don't agree with this at all. The specs I have seen for the WiiU are very powerful, and this could only be an issue if you were rendering a complex, different, 3D view for both the controller & screen at once. And that wouldn't normally make sense - as you play on one at a time.

Most of the time the controller screen is displaying a much simpler image (map, buttons, HUD) - or its displaying the same image (which takes no extra CPU).

As for two WiiU controllers at once - again, it depends on what you are doing with them. Sure - if each player is doing something completely different (even playing a different game!) - then its going to chew CPU & GPU. But how many consoles currently let multiple people play different games at once? Zero.

It would be pretty cool if two people could play two different VirtualConsole titles at once on two controllers.

All that needs to happen is the refresh rate for each controller halves from 60fps to 30fps. Everything else stays exactly the same, including 60hz on the main screen. Doesn't seem like a big deal to me.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
This is rather silly. His problem is that adding a second GamePad would reduce the frame rate from 60 to 30 fps?

Further to that, does he not realize that if each GamePad had individual rendering capabilities that the costs would increase by a large margin?

Does he have a problem with AMD and nVidia's single GPU multi-monitor implementation too?

What does he feel regarding the DS and 3DS using a single GPU to render multiple screens?

Does he not realize that regardless of how many GPU's you have in operation that any extra load upon them can affect frame rates? That's just a basic law of rendering. Developers will push a GPU, regardless of how powerful it is, such that adding any additional load can affect frame rates.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 7 years ago
Not a fan of the headline for this guys, suggests that there are facts in this article rather than opinion.

As mentioned by other, I fully disagree with this fella. His attitude suggests major problems with the console but it's more like the character of the Wii U that will shape shape some development. What he COULD have said is that the Wii U is incredibly ambitious for the price point.
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Show all comments (16)
Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 7 years ago
The hardware specification does not matter.
What matters is the entertainment experience.
And Nintendo will have this bolted. On that we can utterly rely.
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve7 years ago
So again we get to hear a sensationalist headline designed for nothing other than to grab attention, and it's done just that.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd7 years ago
IndustryGamers-sourced article has "misleading headline".
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 7 years ago
I think current generation graphics are satisfactory. Can they be better? Of course... Do they need to be better... no.

Honestly Graphics now a days are good enough that if the WiiU has anything over current generation graphic potential, that should be enough. Costs are an issue to me.

I was playing my playstation 3 using a standard definition TV just until a year ago, when i got my first HD TV cause prices came down. I expirienced, uncharted, metal gear Solid 4 and Assasins Creed all in STANDARD DEFINITION. I still enjoyed them just as much.

Right now, what i look for in games is just great game design. If the game is fun and the graphics can be pushed as far as they have in games like Uncharted and the Last of us or Heavy Rain... then thats enough for me.

Im not paying 300$ to purchase a VITA so it can act as a second screen controller. I think Nintendos solution is the best and most cost effective. providing they get the price right. You get everything right out of the box. Just like the Wii had motion control out of the box and you didnt need to pay an extra 150$ to have it.
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Oh, huge surprise. Guess what. Nintendo under-specs its new console in order to make more money on hardware. That's news, isn't it ?! <_<
The words "single core" and "drive multiple displays" don't get along very well together.
For those pushing the "entertainment" experience over performance... that's right, until performance limits the experience.
If you design yet another "family" device, intended to play the game on both TV and multiple tablets, low-performance specs are a design bug. You should have known you needed more power in order to offer exactly "that" kind of experience.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd7 years ago
Emanuele you're really abusing quotation marks. The Wii U is plenty powerful enough to run two displays. It's not going to be particularly often that there are full 3D visuals running on both the TV and the controller at the same time. That's not the point of an augmented display. It's a decent chunk more powerful than current generation hardware (comparable to the Wii vs Xbox gap). No, it won't be as powerful as the PS4 and Xbox 720, but it will scale down their games well, and be much much much cheaper to make games for than those platforms, which may push development costs well past what studios can handle (current generation HD development is already arguably over that border).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 30th June 2012 2:04am

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
Emanuele, I think you have some facts incorrect. The Wii U's GPU is multi-core in the form of unified shader units just like all modern PC based GPU's since late 2006.

Takahashi was complaining that the Wii U doesn't have multiple GPU's to power the console and tablet.

Though Takahashi was referring to the GPU, it should also be noted that the CPU is also multi-core.
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange7 years ago
That dude clearly doesn't know what he's talking about. It's not compulsory to use two Wii U controllers or even dual screen for that matter. Nintendo designed the system so that developers can have different options on how they can use the system to suit their game's needs.

Not every game will use the controller to render full screen display, most will use it for secondary user interface functions. Heck not every game will support game streaming to dedicate display entirely to the controller. Nintendo has already stated that if devs are going to use two Wii U controllers, the most they could do is 30 frames/sec which isn't even too bad given it will have every bells and whistles with the graphics but in 30fps.

It's not a deal breaker but it shows the system's limitation which makes it sound weak to people not familiar with the technicalities that goes through streaming "lag free".It's a minor gripe really but graphics whores makes a lot of noise about it. The Wii U is more powerful than most people's estimations. You can't do this kind of thing faithfully with smart glass or, the PS3-Vita cost-effectively.

If developers are to utilize this feature(multiple Wii U gamepads) it will be for multiplayer with each user having their private screens (full gameplay display) and the TV not displaying anything or possibly just player stats like scoreboards for everyone to see, or instant replays during kills in one-on-ones. /gg
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Jamie Knight International Editor in Chief, Playnation7 years ago
fail troll is fail
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@ Jim Webb
Exactly Jim, most probably such a device should have had 2 GPU's in order to keep the experience "smooth" with multiple displays.

If the majority of games will not use the feature... to me this piece of hardware is worthless. If you take off the little "quid" they introduced with the WiiU, compared to other consoles, by creating games not fully exploiting it, they've already lost.
Again, if you introduce a nice "design feature", a feature that differentiates you from competitors, you should have planned full support for it, and have developers use it "en masse". (like the Wiimote... you couldn't make a game without it - and that was a win)

I can see some people here are happy to drop from 60 FPS to 30 FPS for the sake of what ?! Surely of being Nintendo fans. :)
That said, don't ask yourselves if you can live with 30 FPS games but why Nintendo didn't include a second GPU to their system, and you will probably come to the same answer.
(hint: they'd lose those $10/$15 apiece...and they don't want to)
It was that easy: limit the number of pads to, say 2 gamepads + TV and include a second GPU. At least you could have 1v1 matches and guests watching TV as spectators. THAT was great, IMO.
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Are you referring to me ?! Why don't you argument anything - and maybe make a game or two - before calling others trolls !?
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers7 years ago
Read the description - it's pretty implicit this is Dean's opinion (he's also done some major exposes on hardware in the past - he knows what he's talking about). Because there weren't any games shown using the two screens simultaneously, there's still plenty of questions surrounding that.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
Emanuele, if dropping the screen refresh rate from 60 fps to 30 fps is all that that happens when going from 1 GamePad to 2 GamePads, then bravo to Nintendo.

A second GPU would create the need for more cooling, more power, a redesign of the RAM path, a larger chassis and more. Not worth it.

Most games today run at 30 fps anyway so I don't get your hang up that they must ensure everything always runs 60 fps...even if that means redesigning much of the system and increasing costs to do so.

If it were a drop from 30 fps to 15 fps, you'd have a case. But it's a drop from 60 fps (which few games run at anyway) to 30 fps (the majority of games already).

So what you really should be taking away from this is the fact they are targeting to have every game run at 60 fps to start with.
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