Ars Technica review: Nintendo Wii

“With the Xbox 360 and the PS3, the primary focus is graphical prowess,” Ben Kuchera reports for Ars Technica. “In many cases these new games feel a lot like old games with a new coat of paint. One might begin to wonder if we are going to see the same basic gaming concepts over and over, simply with better graphics as time goes on?”

Kuchera reports, “Nintendo is saying no; they are dropping out of the graphics race. Fact is, the Wii is not very powerful in relation to its two competitors. Where it can fight back is innovation; instead of a normal controller, you interact with the game via a remote control-like device that many simply call the ‘Wiimote.’ In-game movements are based on, well, real-life movement—and one or two buttons. This control scheme is designed to be intuitive and to really immerse you in what you’re doing.”

Kuchera reports, “You’re going to have to learn a whole new way to think about games. When it comes to the Wii, we’re all newbies, and while that may make some hardcore gamers uncomfortable, it’s a revelation for new gamers who finally have something they can pick up and figure out instead of feeling like they couldn’t compete without years of practice. The graphics are underwhelming, sure, but that Wiimote is a brand new way to play your games.”

“While I’ve played some great games this year, I don’t know if I’ve had as much fun with any of them as I do with the Wii. It was hard to keep from smiling as I played. It makes me feel like a kid again, and if you’re a kid, you’ll be entranced. This may be that magical system that’s going to interest your non-gamer parents, girlfriend, or wife—people who never thought they could pick up and control a video game,” Kuchera reports. “The Wiimote has nearly unlimited potential, and while we’ve seen some novel uses of it so far, I can’t wait to see what talented developers will come up with in the next few years.”

Full, very comprehensive as usual from Ars, review here.
Not Apple-related, but may be interesting to some MDN readers. We’re following the story of Nintendo’s Wii for pretty obvious reasons.

Related articles:
Nintendo sells over 600,000 Wii consoles at launch – November 20, 2006
PC Magazine Editor’s Choice: Nintendo Wii is ‘fun, engaging, wildly innovative’ – November 14, 2006
5 must-have Nintendo Wii launch games – October 09, 2006
Nintendo’s Wii on Toys ‘R’ Us hot holiday list – September 26, 2006
Nintendo to launch Wii in Japan on December 2nd, priced around US$200 – September 14, 2006
IBM ships first microchips for Nintendo Wii – September 10, 2006
Can Nintendo’s Wii end up number one in market share? – July 18, 2006
Nintendo Wii wins E3 ‘Best of Show’ award – June 01, 2006
Nintendo’s Wii steals show at Electronic Entertainment Expo – May 12, 2006


  1. So Microshaft’s J Allard is looking at his second responsibility beyond Zune being seen as the inferior product.

    Why doesn’t everyone who is any good at that company go and set up new companies, come up with genuinely new ideas and leave MS to drown in it’s swamp of its own making? Beats me.

  2. PS3 = same games as PS1, PS2, PSP but with nicer (mid-range nVidia) graphics. Agenda: Sony want to get Blu-ray player in homes.

    xbox = same games as PC, boring. Agenda: Microsoft want to get media center in homes.

    Wii = fun. Agenda: Nintento wants games to be focus of its ‘games console’

    All my colleagues (30-somethings) are buying Nintendo Wii this holiday. None of them gives a rats ass about ‘better graphics’.

  3. Quote from the Ars Technica Wii Review:

    “The Wii is white and shiny, and the face is clean. We’ve said this about Nintendo products before, and we’ll probably say it again: they almost feel like Apple products. This is design that people are going to enjoy just for its size and ease of use.”

    Maybe it is not only MDN who think Nintendo’s story needs to be watched “for pretty obvious reasons”.


  4. Does anyone know the price on the system by itself? I’ve only found it bundled with a bunch of other stuff and it was shockingly high then. I thought I heard that it was going to be priced way below the 360 and PS3. Thanks in advance

  5. @Jonny Canuck: Actually its not known if the Broadway is a G5 or a G4/3. Gekko (the Gamecube CPU) was a G3.

    Until people start pulling Wiis apart and analysing/hacking them most of the details of the internals are rumor right now.

  6. I am wrong.

    Wii has wireless networking (unlike cheaper model of PS3).

    Wii has better graphics than first gen xbox. Many people confuse “not as good as PS3 and 360 graphics” with “same as last gen” because they are fanbois. Wii’s CPU and GPU are approximately twice as powerful as GameCube, which had some fine looking games (e.g. best version of Resident Evil 4).

    Wii has solid state memory rather than hard drive; which is a ‘latest techology’ that neither PS3 or 360 have.

  7. The smart move on Nintendo’s part is that improved specs are in essence not that hard to offer – you just have to build them in and then increase the price as a result. It doesn’t make the games substantially any better – merely less annoying. If they can take enough share now (which it appears they are doing) they can move on to advanced graphics down the line when it’s cheaper by which time the playstations and xbox’s of the world will be struggling to add real innovation. Nintendo are doing what apple did with OS X and starting afresh but giving themselves a real solid base to build upon for years to come.

  8. Seems to me I read something about someone making a game controller out of the latest gen Powerbook/iBook and Macbook/Pro Sudden Motion Sensor technology. Wonder what became of that, not that I’m gonna go waving my 15″ Powerbook around like an idiot, just saying it was an interesting concept.

  9. I would say that it is a gutsy move by Nintendo. A bit Apple-like. And hopefully right. Innovation, not just upgrading and moving on in the old track. First thinking, finding the (hopefully) RIGHT angle and then have the guts to move against the mainstream. I wish them all the best!

  10. I’m a 42 year old guy for whatever that matters. I was at a friends and he had the Wii system.

    My initial comment was ‘Don’t make me do anything where I have to expend energy’

    An hour later, after bowling, baseball and golf – I beat him in boxing to become ‘king of the world.’

    I had a blast and didn’t expect that at all (I’m hard to impress)

    Anyway – my “kids” will get a new console for Christmas.

  11. Guys, if you want a Wii, find out when shipments are, then go to Costco ~1 hr before opening.

    No kids, plus the need of a membership card keeps the filthy masses away. I only has to wait 30 min on launch day for mine.

  12. North American sales so far:

    Sony Playstation 3: 145,000 (despite Sony’s hopes of shipping 400,000)

    Nintendo Wii: 600,000


    Microsoft Xbox 360: average of 246,000 per month since launch

    Sony Playstation 2: averages 473,000 per month in same period as Xbox 360 above.

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