It was E3 2011 when Nintendo revealed the Wii U. Alert viewers of Nintendo's keynote may recall that the actual Wii U console was never actually shown until after the conference was over. The focus was the the controller, and the console and its hardware wasn't important. That sentiment rings true again today, as multiple developers have come forward to say that the Wii U will not match the Xbox 360 or PS3 in terms of power.
Games Industry has the story, reporting that multiple anonymous sources are saying the Wii U can't match the now 6-year-old generation of consoles. One such source provided the following quote:
"There aren't as many shaders, it's not as capable. Sure, some things are better, mostly as a result of it being a more modern design. But overall the Wii U just can't quite keep up."
Nintendo, similarly to how they marketed the original Wii, is banking on their new controller's design and how it will contribute to innovative gameplay. The sacrifice paid for a piece of expensive tablet technology like the Wii U controller is a cheaper and less graphically impressive console.
The question then is not only how the Wii U will compete against Sony and Microsoft's next gen consoles, but how it will compete against the current generation. What if a price drop before the holiday season made current generation consoles with motion devices cheaper than the Wii U? These are all questions both developers and consumers have to consider before investing in Nintendo's console.
Of course, it's still much too early to declare Nintendo at risk of losing a war that has yet to begin. We've only just begun hearing launch rumors, and it's likely we won't know their launch lineup until E3 2012 or later. By then we should have a much better handle on Nintendo's prospects. But as with most Nintendo console decisions in the past 10 years, you have to wonder.