Microsoft: Wii U "effectively a 360 when you think of graphical capability"

"Their Pro Controller makes a lot of sense with the platform they've built."

Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata thinks Wii U will keep graphical pace with Microsoft's next console and Sony's next console.

But that's not what Microsoft Studios' bigwig Phil Spencer thinks.

"Their Pro Controller makes a lot of sense with the platform they've built. They are building a platform that is effectively a 360 when you think of graphical capability," he told GamesIndustry International.

"Now they are really making an on-ramp for the back catalogue of games that are on 360. It is easy for those games to move over the Wii U. They've moved the buttons around, and they've made a controller that feels familiar for 360 gamers, so I get why they are putting those pieces together."

Last night, Satoru Iwata attempted to ease shareholders' fears that the Wii U would be made to look outdated by the next Xbox and PlayStation 4 - as Wii was, graphically, by Xbox 360 and PS3.

"Other companies might launch a next-generation console with more power," he said, "but we don't necessarily think that the difference between the Wii U and such console will be as drastic as what you felt it was between the Wii and the other consoles, because there will be fewer and fewer differentiators in graphics."

Pikmin 3 Wii U performance.

"Their Pro Controller makes a lot of sense with the platform they've built. They are building a platform that is effectively a 360 when you think of graphical capability."

Phil Spencer, VP, Microsoft Studios

Nintendo doesn't like to bang on about graphics, either because that's its style, or because there's not much to bang on about. The point is: we don't know. We don't know how powerful Wii U is relative to PS3 and Xbox 360. We've heard bits and pieces from developers, and there have been underwhelming demos - Batman: Arkham City - of current-generation games running on Wii U. But never anything decisive for us to declare the argument one way or the other.

Whether Wii U can keep up with the next Xbox or PlayStation 4 hasn't even been a consideration so far. Perhaps Iwata means that there won't a difference as glaring as standard definition to high definition, as there was with Wii and Xbox 360 and PS3.

Sony's already said Wii U is in "its own generation", and doesn't necessarily consider it a direct competitor. And Phil Spencer seemed to be more worried about Apple.

But Spencer was complimentary about Ubisoft Wii U game ZombiU, which he thought "played very well". "And I saw the use of another screen and how that would work," he said.

"I would have loved to see Zelda or Metroid or some of my other favourite Nintendo franchises, which I didn't see," he added.

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