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Friday, November 30, 2012


Ok, so the Nintendo Wii-U has just been released in Australia. Will I be buying one? You betcha, but not until there's a 'must have' game available and I'm employed and earning money again.

But what I'm more interested in is what the competition - Sony and Microsoft - are doing. As far as I'm aware, very little, if anything, has been said about their next consoles. It would seem Nintendo will have free reign for a while.

Part of me likes to think that the others are holding back, waiting to see how Ninty's new console will fare before they make their own moves. After all, when the Nintendo Wii was released, showing the appeal of motion control, Sony and Microsoft both then decided to bring motion controls to their current consoles. If you were to ask each company why they would bring out a motion control scheme during the mid-life of their consoles rather than saving it for their next one, they'd probably say some kind of PR fluff like 'We believe motion control is the next step in producing entertaining and immersive gameplay experiences.' when in reality they probably mean 'We underestimated how successful Nintendo would be with their motion control and we are kicking ourselves for not following suit ealier. We have developed these motion control systems now as a hasty means of playing catch-up and getting our hands on the money and success we did not want our competitor to have.'

Speaking of which, Ninty seems to have always been the trend setter with video game controller design. The button layout of a PlayStation controller is more or less identical to a SNES controller, then both Sony and Sega (remember Sega and how they used to produce consoles?) added analogue sticks to their controllers once the N64 came into play. I think Nintendo may have also introduced the rumble feedback feature to controllers (but this is pure assumption on my part, I may be wrong) and then there's the aforementioned motion control.

However one thing that may be a concern is the fact that the Wii-U hardware does not support DirectX 11, which will make the console incompatible with games using the upcoming Unreal Engine 4. As I understand it, the current version - Unreal Engine 3 - has been used in well over 100 different games and this next engine is likely to be just as popular. It may not affect those games made directly by Nintendo, but may have an impact on third party support further on in the console's life cycle. Time will tell.

Apologies for the long gap between blog posts - I've been busy with my engineering studies. I haven't forgotten about my readers (all ten of you), so I hope you can forgive me for these occasional lulls.