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Some Truth to Wii as GameCube 1.5? 519

Newsweek's N'Gai tackles the allegation that the Wii is a glorified GameCube. He specifically looked at recent comments by Microsoft's Robbie Bach saying that 'the video graphics on it aren't very strong; the box itself is kind of underpowered; it doesn't play DVDs; there are a lot of down-line components [that] aren't actually that interesting. ... They don't have the graphics horsepower that even Xbox 1 had. So it makes sort of the comparison set a little bit difficult.' LevelUp spoke with a pair of technical experts at third party publishers and learned that, essentially, Bach's comments about horsepower are accurate. However, "the 'Gamecube 1.5' moniker, while accurate, doesn't mean that gamers won't see graphical improvements on the Wii. 'There are three main differences which will result in graphics improvements. One, the increased memory clock speed, from 162 megahertz to 243 megahertz, means that it is easier to do enough pixels for 480p mode versus 480i. Two, the enhanced memory size of the Wii gives much more room for image-related operations such as anti-aliasing, motion blur, etc. The performance to these memory systems from the graphics chip is also improved. So full-screen effects and increased texture usage seem likely as a result.'"
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Some Truth to Wii as GameCube 1.5?

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  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:07AM (#19082275) Homepage Journal

    of the most intriguing things I read was a comment from a Nintendo engineer who said something to the effect of: "We saw a trend that if we gave people X, people wanted X + Y, you give them that and then they still want more.
    In Sony's case it's even worst. Since the beginning of the PS3 marketing they kept throwing fake pre-rendered videos at us (Killzone 2 anyone?). then once it's out their console can't even match their fake videos.

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Informative)

    by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @11:40AM (#19084043) Homepage Journal

    It still pisses me off that it's so blurry and indisticint in some games and it makes them much less pleasant [...] Zelda has graphically been a big disappointment and is very murky and instinct in places, it's murky color pallet doesn't help. The gameplay is okay, but it's not always easy to navigate the world or identify potential points of interest because of the low fidelity

    You need to get a component video cable.

    If you have one, I can only assume that your TV is badly calibrated--did you go through Zelda's calibration screen?

    On my HDTV, Zelda is beautiful--even the twilit world, which looks like TRON at sunset. I don't have any trouble spotting (and collecting) insects either.

  • Re:Smells like BS (Score:3, Informative)

    by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:17PM (#19084749)
    "Isn't the Wii graphically more powerful than either the Xbox or the PS2?"

    The GameCube itself is more powerful than the PS2 and the games published for it have been on par with the Xbox. Even if the Wii truly is a "GameCube 1.5," it shouldn't take more than a slight nudge to outperform the older two consoles.
  • Re:I'm surprised.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chosen Reject ( 842143 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:38PM (#19085193)
    You are right that it is not a zero-sum game. However, MS has sold 9.64 million Xbox 360s, compared to Nintendo selling 6.92 million Wiis. Looking at life span, the Wii is 6 months old, the Xbox360 is 18 months old. That means the Wii has sold an average of 1.15 million Wiis each month, compared to the Xbox360 selling an average of 0.54 million per month. That is to say, over the life of the console, the Wii is selling more than twice as many consoles as the Xbox360. Granted, the first few months are always higher in sales, so the Wii's numbers are skewed slightly higher relative to the Xbox360, but in order for the Wii to fall to an average of 0.54 million per month, they would have to sell only 2.72 million units in the next 12 months. That's equal to their current monthly average over the course of two months. IOW, the Xbox360's sales are weak, comparatively.
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <> on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:45PM (#19085363) Homepage
    Umm... my Wii can connect to the 'net. Even with WPA2. Games that use it haven't come out yet, but it's quite possible to make online games with the Wii.
  • Re:Gamecube1.5 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:58PM (#19085655) Homepage
    What do you think SIXAXIS is, if not an attempt to steal Wii's thunder with a motion sensitive controller?

    But you know what? It actually isn't that easy to throw something together like the Wiimote, to write the software libraries so developers can make the most use of the input, to tune those first-party games so that the controller feels as natural as possible.

    Sony chose to spend their development time integrating the Cell while Nintendo decided to spend their development time on the controller. That was the bed Sony made, and now they must lie in it. They had your idea, to try to hack something together quick-like to try to "stillborn" the wii, and the best they could do was acceleration detection only in a two-handed controller, which is only used to good effect in games like Flow.

    So how well did this strategy work for Sony? How many Wii sales do you think were lost? Is it clear that the Wiimote is an integral part of the console, while it is the SIXAXIS that is the gimmick? And do you really think that rushing off to make a full-fledged wiimote ripoff so it's ready by the end of the year would have even the slightest chance of making the Wii "stillborn" when it's already sold several times more than the PS3 and is likely to be even further ahead by christmas 07?
  • The Neo Geo was very expensive; it used (IIRC) basically the same technology as arcade games
    A lot of consoles were stripped-down version of the same company's arcade boards. It goes all the way back to Vs. Unisystem, the arcade version of NES. Sega's Genesis was a modified System 16, and its Dreamcast was just a NAOMI with less RAM. Sony licensed the original PlayStation architecture for use in the Capcom ZN series and Konami System 573 boards. Nintendo's Triforce arcade board is a GameCube with more RAM, but not overclocked like Wii.
  • by BoberFett ( 127537 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:40PM (#19088817)
    What you're referring to is the []Uncanny Valley.
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:45PM (#19088901) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, Zelda: TP, stylistically, is one of my favorite games. The fact that it isn't HD doesn't really bother me (and I do have an HDTV) because it feels like they really were able to do exactly what they wanted to. It's not supposed to be photoreaslitic, if it was, it wouldn't have been as good of a game. The twilight realm was so incredibly beautiful, I was sad that I couldn't go back there after I got through about 1/3rd of the game.
  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:03PM (#19092431) Journal
    The PowerPC Processing Elements in the XBox360 and PS3 are very similar, and are not developments of IBM's PPC4xx or 6xx series. They're SMT in-order cores that run at 3.2GHz and support two threads.

    Cell: "It's a PPC4xx controller keeping 8 single-pipeline cores (6 integer, 2 FP/Integer) full of properly-scheduled instructions. "

    Your Cell information is so incorrect that I feel sorry for anyone that has read it and now believes it is true.

    The Cell is a PowerPC Processing Element (i.e., 1/3rd of an XBox360 CPU) coupled to 8 (7 active in the PS3) SPEs on a very fast and wide ring bus. Each SPE has two pipelines, and each pipeline operates on 128-bit vectors, i.e., each SPE is a dual-issue in-order SIMD processor with 256KB of local memory.

    "It has FP, which is more than can be said for the PPC400-series (and all but two of the specialized cores in the PS3)"

    Cell's PPE has a standard PowerPC FPU unit, and a VMX128 unit capable of 25.6GFLOPS (single precision). All 8 SPEs of course can also do 25.6GFLOPS (single precision) each. These are at the Cell's 3.2GHz clock rate in the PS3.

    I was wondering if you got your information from Wikipedia, but you didn't. Wikipedia's article is also massively incorrect though (indeed it is now less correct than it was a few months ago, weird).

    The 750CX derivative processor in the Wii is about as powerful as a 1.5GHz PPE, i.e., the Wii has about half the standard CPU processing power as a PS3 (although the PPE will get better use due to being able to run two threads, and the SPEs are icing on the top for physics and similar). The Gecko CPU in the Gamecube had special media instructions that may have been SIMD-like, and as the Wii is backwardly compatible, I assume the Wii's CPU has these in it as well.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein