Wii U developers’ kits are underclocked units

Wii U Console

The arguably scandalous news that much of the footage of Wii U games that was shown at E3 was actually lifted from the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the same games caused a minor outburst among fans of all three gaming giants. Now, though, we’ve got a report that just might give us the reason why Nintendo pulled the plug on showing off actual Wii U footage.

Developers have underclocked development kits, and worked hard to deliver titles running on that hardware to demonstrate live at E3. However, due to titles not looking much better than what is currently available on Xbox 360 and the PS3, Nintendo decided late in the game to not show those titles and focus instead on tech demos. In particular, THQ stated that Darksiders II was running on development hardware and could have been shown. Also, Epic vice president Mark Rein tweeted during E3 that Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines was being made for Wii U with Unreal Engine 3, showing that Epic is bringing its tech to Wii U.

So, in other words, Nintendo kept back the “real” material from the Wii U because it doesn’t even represent the full power of the final system yet. It sounds logical to me, as they’ve still got lots of time to finalize the system’s specs.

Special thanks to Josh Dale for sending this in!

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Comments, Reactions, and General Hooliganism

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  1. Jikayaki

    This may actually explain the 50% more powerful report earlier. Power 7 based CPU and RV770 based GPU it really didn’t make sense this thing wasn’t at least four times as capable as current consoles like early rumors suggested, but if the developer kits are underclocked perhaps that explains why some developers may of stated that the console was less capable than early rumors suggested. Since these developer kits are very early units their likely Frankenstein hastily thrown together hardware that likely have far more issues than merely being underclocked. For one the exact chips likely haven’t entered production yet and likely won’t tell six months before launch.

  2. George Tirebiter

    I think sensible people already figured out we won’t be seeing the true potential of the Wii U for some time, but it’s great to hear confirmation of this so we can be sure.

    I have every faith that this system will be up to snuff, at least to a level that will let them survive in the next generation.

  3. Play4Fun

    So the Zelda tech demo was just on under-clocked un-finalized hardware?

    The lighting and pixel effects were incredible on that thing. Imagine what the final hardware will be able to do.

    • Supa64

      Remember all the tech demos of Zelda before? They all looked way worse than the finalized version of that game. Yeah. Think about that for a second.

    • George Tirebiter

      I’m having trouble interpreting your comment, but here’s what I can guess you’re saying:

      1. You still think the Wind Waker look is a fail and that every Zelda game should look like the E3 2011 video (Spaceworld 2000 before that), no exceptions. I don’t agree.

      2. You believe Twilight Princess looks worse than the Spaceworld video.

    • Supa64

      That’s not what I’m saying. At all. Look at the fucking N64 Zelda tech demo then look at OoT. Which one looks better? Even thought TP runs on a heavily modified Wind Waker engine, compare the tech demo to both WW and TP. The tech demo looks worst than both of them (moreso TP than WW but still)

      What I’m stating is that if the tech demo is running on a underclocked version of the wiiu, then the actually zelda game, if basing they’ll follow the older pattern, it will look way WAYYY better.

    • zxride64

      @ George
      You got it all wrong, he is saying that all the new game console since the 64 (except wii) had a tech demo to show off the console’s power. The zelda tech demos didn’t even look as good as the retail games released.

    • Jmaster720

      You just put awesome thoughts in my mind

    • nintendofan

      Uh!
      If graphics like that were THAT good at e3, but they were NOT even final version of the actual graphics…
      Than that has sky-rocketed the whole mystery of the Wii-U graphics to a WHOLE new level.

  4. zxride64

    Whoa, this makes me wonder how powerful the console will be.

  5. Good news and bad news

    Turning the screw on Sony and MS inch by inch, Nintendo really know how to keep the buzz going. Hopefully we’ll see some amazing games in Japan at the September conference.

    No doubt Ninty has more cards up it’s sleeve…

  6. IBM BADASS EDRAM

    THERE NOT UNDERCLOCKED THEY DIDNT GET A DEV KIT THEN UNDERCLOCK IT LOL

    its earl dev kits jst using pc parts there not final and likely dont rn at final clock speed there not underclocked lol some guy didnt come along and down clock them in the night or somthing lol

    there just not of final spec and it explains nothing the 3rd party games shown were using x30/ps3 trailers as there MLTI PLATFORM GAMES

    • Jikayaki

      They may actually be underclocked. From what I’ve heard at Neogaf the current dev kits are very unreliable. Their having heating issues that if you utilize too close to the chipsets full capabilities it freezes. They may of actually underclocked the chipsets to minimize heat. Like all early dev kits these things are Frankenstein hardware likely with any number of issues. The final chipsets for instance likely haven’t been manufactured yet and the chipset inside the current dev kits are commercial equivalents or at least as close as they could get.

  7. nottingham forest rule

    it could be a pc ati card and a cpu in a box very basic set up to be underclocked would reqire a speed to be turned down i dout that very much gamecubes early dev kits were like 300mhz not the final 485nhz some devs kept them the whole life of cube as all they did was port ps2 games

  8. SFNinja

    So then how different is the Wiiu going to be on release? Much Better or worse of what was shown. Because a few days ago a Nintendo rep stated that the Console and Controller we saw (including hardware) was the finished product already.

    • Timothy Stevens

      Much better.

  9. sharon

    please nintendo release the down town japan tech demo its fully 3dimentional via the controller and blows the tweety birdy demo away drop it on the net pleaseeeeeee…..

  10. Jmaster720

    well I guess that next e3 year the graphics will look even more awesome :D ——-

  11. nintendofan

    -n-fan: so Reggie and Iwata. What is it about the new Nintendo graphics. Is it REAALLY good than PS3 and Xbox 360.

    -Reggie: Oh yeah. It’s good. it’s reeeeaaaallly good. (sniffs) it’s so good it actually makes me cry…

    -n-fan: really? it’s that good?

    -Reggie and Iwata: shhh…

    -Iwata: You’ve seen New Mario Bros Mii and Chase Mii and Battle Mii right? Yeah… we only showed their Wii graphics at E3.

    -n-fan: wait… that was the Wii graphics.

    -Iwata: Couldn’t you tell?

    -n-fan: well, yeah. but… what about the Zelda tech demo. That was hawt right?

    -Reggie and Iwata: … …

    -n-fan: right?

    -Reggie: Yeah, hate to break it to you, but uh… that Zelda graphics is NOTHING like what the Wii U can offer.

    -n-fan: What?!

    -Iwata: The actual Wii-U graphics is like a god. That Zelda you saw is PS3-style.

    -n-fan: HEIN? Wait… are you saying that an ACTUAL Zelda graphics will be better than that? HOW BETTER?

    -Reggie and Iwata: shhh…

    AW, C’MON, NINTENDO! YOU’RE KEEPING ME IN SUSPENSE HERE!!! xD

  12. nintendofan

    -n-fan: … wait! What about all those titles we saw, like Ninja Gaiden or Tekken Wii Successor or Ghost Recon or… Killer Freaks! Yeah! Killer Freaks! We saw a walkthrough! We saw the graphics! We saw everything! That’s GOTTA be the Wii-U graphics, right?

    -Reggie and Iwata: … …

    -n-fan: (faces other 3rd party developers) RIGHT?

    -3rd party dev: … …

    -n-fan: RIGHT?!

    -Reggie, Iwata, and all 3rd party dev: shhh…