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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why The Relative Power of the Wii U Isn't A Big Deal

A quick look at the differences between the Wii U's specs and the PS4's specs shows something that's been hinted at for a while: The Wii U is going to be way behind the next generation of hardware. Even just the processor and RAM tells the story:

Wii U's CPU: Three cores
PS4's CPU: Eight cores

Wii U's RAM: 2 GB (1 GB usable for games)
PS4's RAM: 8 GB (almost all of it usable by games)

So this means the Wii U is doomed, right? Well, slow your roll. It certainly means that the Wii U isn't going to get the hot third-party releases as the console's life span rolls on, but that doesn't necessarily mean a gloom-and-doom outlook for the system in general.

In the past, we've talked about how Nintendo doesn't need the third parties as much as, say, Microsoft does. That only tells part of the story, though.

Sony has some great franchises. Let's list their most popular ones as well as what genre they belong to.
  • God of War: Action/Adventure
  • Gran Turismo: Racing Sim
  • InFamous: Action/Adventure
  • Jak and Daxter: Action/Adventure/Platformer
  • KillZone: Action/Shooter
  • Little Big Planet: Platformer/Builder
  • PlayStation All-Stars: Fighting
  • Ratchet and Clank: Action/Adventure/Platformer
  • Resistance: Action/Shooter
  • Sly Cooper: Action/Adventure/Stealth/Platformer
  • Twisted Metal: Battle Racing
  • Uncharted: Action/Adventure
  • WipEout: Speed Racing
I'm sure you see a bit of a pattern. They have a lot of action/adventure franchises and a few racing franchises under their belt. There's not a lot of diversity.

Before I get angry commenters, I want to stress: Sony makes games other than these. They have other minor franchises. And yes, these are almost all really good franchises. I personally like almost all of them. The point has nothing to do with the quality, but rather that their main draws aren't very diverse.

Compare this to Nintendo's main franchises:
  • Animal Crossing: Social Sim
  • Brain Age: Brain Training
  • Fire Emblem: Tactical RPG
  • FZero: Speed Racing
  • Kirby: Platformer
  • Mario: Platformer
  • Mario Kart: Cartoon Racing
  • Mario Party: Party Game
  • Metroid: Action/Adventure
  • Pikmin: Strategy
  • Pokemon: RPG-Lite
  • Punch-Out: Boxing
  • Smash Bros: Fighting
  • Zelda: Action/Adventure
Not only does Nintendo make all of their own games in-house, they have a diverse roster. You personally may hate Mario and Zelda games, but there's bound to be one or two of those franchises that you love.

That's where Nintendo gets you. Somewhere along the way, they'll rope you in to one of those crazy franchises despite your better judgment. You'll be like, "I know Animal Crossing is silly and that Tom Nook is a slavedriver, and yet..." Next thing you know, you're down a K-hole of catching fish, digging up fossils and rearranging your house from which is there is no escape.

That's why the power of Nintendo's system isn't as huge of a deal as it should be. Nintendo's systems only need to be powerful enough to handle their own franchises. If a Nintendo system can't play the latest Duty Honor: Hero's Call of Medal, it's not that big of a deal, since other systems have a bigger problem: They can't play Mario.