Their findings? The Wii is more akin to a "GameCube 1.5" thanks to a lack of flexibility afforded for key graphics operations. For those of you familiar with NVIDIA, the devs compare the Wii's graphical horsepower to the GeForce2 series GPU. That said, the Wii isn't a total slouch; with ingeniuity, it is theoretically possible to reproduce some of the programmable shader effects typical on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC rigs for the Wii's older, fixed-function graphics hardware... to a certain degree.
So while Microsoft's Bach wasn't totally full of hot air by discounting the graphical performance of the Wii compared to the original Xbox console, that shouldn't stop developers from being able to take advantage of what the Wii can offer. They'll just need the conviction, and know-how, and budget, etc...
"The Wii's GPU has fixed functions for vertex, lighting, and pixel operations," said the source "All 'programmable shaders' means is that the code you write for the shader gets run on the vertex and pixel hardware of the GPU. This is how it works on the high-end ATI and Nvidia GPU parts. The Wii is an older fixed function design where you have lots of operations but the pipelines are not programmable in the sense of downloading shader code to run [on them]."
"A dev support guy from Nintendo said that the Wii chipset is 'Gamecube 1.5 with some added memory,'" our second source told us. "I figure if they say that, it must be true."
"Almost all the shader effects on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 can be reproduced on the Wii by re-implementing them with the fixed function hardware of the Wii's GPU. Most games just port the effect over. A few teams have gone as far as making a shader-to-Wii conversion tool. It reads the shader code and generates the fixed function code necessary to achieve the same result. Keep in mind that the Wii's GPU is not as fast or feature rich as the Xbox 360 or PS3, but that doesn't mean you can't get very close results."