Nintendo’s consoles aren’t known for raw performance, and the upcoming Wii U won’t change that. But Akihiro Suzuki, developer of the popular–and graphically intense–Dynasty Warriors, has already started to complain about what he considers an underpowered CPU:
“One of the weaknesses of the Wii U compared to PS3 and Xbox 360 is the CPU power is a little bit less. So for games in the Warriors series, including Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi, when you have a lot of enemies coming at you at once, the performance tends to be affected because of the CPU… Dealing with that is a challenge.”
Although the exact specifications of the IBM-made CPU remain a mystery for those outside of Kyoto, it’s known that it has 3 Power PC cores and was known to be relatively less powerful than the Wii U’s custom AMD 7 series GPU. It’s entirely possible that the Wii U could have better graphics, but worse performance. Suzuki is speaking from experience: his team has been developing a Dynasty Warriors game that will launch alongside the Wii U on November 18.
Of course, the Wii U is a new console and developers will probably require some time to get used to the system and its developer tools. Optimizations that work well on one console architecture can doom performance on another. But it’s still not a great sign for Nintendo that its third-party developers are already calling the Wii U’s processor a “challenge.”