Nintendo claims Wii U and next-gen won't have 'drastic' disparity

Although Wii caught attention with an innovative control mechanic, it could not compete graphically with the PS3 or Xbox 360. Many of the generation's top titles never found a Wii release, and Wii U's limited specs risk of creating a similar gulf between it and Sony and Microsoft's next-generation consoles. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata doesn't feel that will be a problem, since the next generation will offer a smaller graphical leap than the prior one.

"We cannot promise that the Wii U will never be excluded from multiplatform software for eternity, but we can at least assure you that the Wii U will not have such a big difference as the Wii had in comparison to how, on other platforms, developers could expect very different graphic capabilities of generating HD-applicable high-resolution graphics," Iwata said.

"Other companies might launch a next-generation console with more power, 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," Iwata said in a shareholders Q&A.

He says that the company will "make the most of the performance of the Wii U to keep up with technological innovations and not to make the system out-of-date soon." But, he notes that the Wii U centers around a console and the special tablet controller, which prevents them from making the two devices too expensive. "If we were including both a video game console and a handheld device, if we were not careful about how luxurious both of them were, we could end up having to offer the price of the two hardware systems combined, which would not be an acceptable price for the consumers," he said. "We had to design it by balancing the performance and the costs."