Newsweek's gaming blog teamed up with a hardware review web site to analyze the Nintendo Wii's hardware capabilities and found it has made few strides since the Gamecube.
Beyond3D.com, which undertook the technical investigation, noted that Nintendo constantly downplayed the importance of system technical specifications. Nintendo has cast its product as virtually immune from such measurements by focusing attention on the extent to which the gaming experience depends on its software quality and its patented control scheme.
The analysis says Nintendo released scarce details on what kind of hardware really powers the Wii. It says the system "has no notable increases in programmability" with respect to its graphics processing unit - which in this case also houses the southbridge and audio processing. It is clocked 50 percent faster but employs the same memory and similar architecture.
The analysis concludes, in essence:
"To summarize, while the PS3 and the Xbox 360 are both at least an order of magnitude faster than their predecessors, the Wii has the processing power of one-and-a-half GameCubes with no noteworthy increases in functionality."
The report further says, "Developers have even told us that the transition guide (for GameCube developers moving to the Wii) is 10 pages long and contains only very minor changes."
While few gamers suspected the Wii was on par with the PS3 or 360 on a technical level, the decidedly limited technology of the Wii raises the question of its longevity when the prices of competing consoles will presumably fall - or if they release their own unique control schemes.