Skip to main content

Wii U graphics chip based on last-gen Radeons, will support DirectX 10.1

Image used with permission by copyright holder

For all the promise of the Wii U and its unique features, Nintendo‘s E3 press conference reveal was more confusing than anything else. Introduced by way of the WiiPad tablet controller thingy, the words “new console” never actually came up until late in the presentation, when Electronic Arts boss John Riccitiello took to the stage to talk about third-party support. The Wii U is indeed a new console, and a fairly powerful one if reports are accurate.

The full set of specs have yet to be released, but a few details have slipped out. IBM confirmed in a press release last week that the console will be powered by a multi-core processor built on the same technology that powered the Jeopardy-winning artificial intelligence Watson. Now, Engadget has learned that the console’s visuals will be powered by a custom Radeon GPU.

The chip is apparently built on Radeon’s last-gen technology, seen in the company’s Radeon 4xxx line of video adapters. While those cards have since been updated in the 5xxx line, note that this is still more powerful than the visual processing power of either the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 consoles. The Wii U chip will be capable of delivering DirectX 10.1-level eye candy.

Get your weekly teardown of the tech behind PC gaming
Check your inbox!

This should be good for Nintendo through 2012 and probably 2013 as well, but sooner or later Microsoft and Sony are going to fire back with new console offerings. Sony may have a 10-year plan for the PS3, but that doesn’t mean something won’t come along to kick the console down to PS2-level pricing. As for Microsoft, a new console announcement is almost a foregone conclusion for sometime next year. The Xbox 360 is still a powerful device (just look at what it does with Skyrim) and the Xbox Live community is, without a doubt, the most active online gaming community out there, but the aging console, first released in 2005, isn’t going to be able to keep pace for too much longer.

The last thing Nintendo needs is to find itself in another situation where its own product lags behind the competition. The Wii was immediately popular with a much wider audience than most game publishers and console makers were used to at the time, but the years that followed have shown that the casual games aren’t enough on their own to sustain a home gaming platform. This is probably due at least in part to the rise in popularity of mobile devices as gaming destinations; why clear a space in front of your TV for Wii Play when you can just pull out your tablet and fling some Angry Birds?

With the Wii U announcement, Nintendo has officially launched the eighth console generation. Microsoft kicked off the seventh back in 2005, and is arguably the strongest player on the market right now. Will Nintendo be able to follow the lead and repeat that success? Only time will tell.

[image via Inside Games]

Editors' Recommendations

Adam Rosenberg
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Previously, Adam worked in the games press as a freelance writer and critic for a range of outlets, including Digital Trends…
No Rest for the Wicked is a cruel and beautiful action game
One of the king's advisors enters the frame in No Rest for the Wicked.

No Rest for the Wicked has a lot going for it. The upcoming action game already has me charmed me with its distinct sense of style. There's just one thing that's yet to win me over, and that's its sometimes cruel gameplay.

First teased by publisher Private Division at The Game Awards 2023, No Rest for the Wicked is wildly different from what the studio has made before. (The game spent six years in development at Ori and the Blind Forest developer Moon Studios, which has faced reports of misconduct.) This isometric action game influenced by The Legend of Zelda and Dark Souls sports a painterly art style that doesn’t look like any other game I’ve played before, and this small taste of its fantasy world offered up lore that was intriguing, but not overwhelming.

Read more
Indie poker hit Balatro gets delisted from storefronts after sudden rating change
A list of Jokers appear in Balatro.

Balatro, a poker roguelike that has become a surprise hit after being released last month, will get delisted in some regions after a sudden rating change that claimed the game encouraged gambling.

"This is not an issue with the stores themselves, however, a reaction to an overnight change to Balatro's age rating from 3+ to 18+ by a ratings board without any advance warning, due to a mistaken belief that the game 'contains prominent gambling imagery and material that instructs about gambling,'" publisher Playstack explained in a message on X. "Balatro does not allow or encourage gambling -- and we fundamentally believe the ratings decision is unfounded. Balatro was developed by someone who is staunchly anti-gambling, and painstaking care has been taken to ensure that the game does not feature gambling of any kind."

Read more
How to find quetzalcoatl talon in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
Cloud about to fight a monster in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.

There's a lot to take in during the opening hours of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. Not only do you have an entire cast of characters to play as right away, but a fast hub world to explore. One thing you'll get very familiar with right away is collecting resources for crafting items. These things are littered all over the world, begging to be collected. However, there are rare parts out there, such as the Quetzalcoatl Talon, that you can only get from one specific source. If you're trying to finish the "Where the Wind Blows" side quest specifically, you'll need this fiend's claw to complete it, so let's hunt it down.
Where to find the Quetzalcoatl Talon

The Quetzalcoatl Talon will drop only from, you guessed it, a Quetzalcoatl. Finding this beast first requires you to do some of Chadly's legwork, specifically scanning four Lifestream Crystals in the region. Once that's done, he will chime in and inform you that he's located the beast in question and start the "Classified Intel: Winged Lacertillian of Yore" objective.

Read more