- 1 Group Members
- 2 Project Statement
- 3 Aspects of the Wii to be explored
- 4 PLAYABILITY
- 5 GRAPHICS
- 6 Sensor Accuracy
- 7 "Who Wants to Play?"
- 8 Cross Platform Games
- 9 Wii's Optical Disc Drive (ODD)
- 10 Conclusion
- 11 References
- 12 Presentation
- 13 TA Comments
- Shane Dignum
- Stella Gabrail
- Nicholas Hutcheon
- Frederic Langlois
- Danisha Punja
For the term project we have chosen to study the technological flaws and attributes of the latest technology in video gaming, the Nintendo Wii. Although on the outside this system may seem flawless, our mission is to reveal the flaws that the untrained eye fails to see and compare them with the positive aspects of the system. Within our project we will analyze some of the technicalities related to the gaming system such as glitches and graphics. We will also investigate the new age compatibilities of the system such as sensor activated gaming. These analysis will be preceded by a final statement regarding whether or not it's downfalls outweigh the positive aspects of the system.
Aspects of the Wii to be explored
- Graphics vs. Playability
- Sensor Accuracy
- The Impact of Sensors On The Gaming Industry
- Cross Platform Games on the Wii, Are They Good?
- Wii's Optical Disc Drive
The Wii wins gamers’ hearts with its playability that goes along with its movement-based gaming that redefines individuals gaming experience. The Wii allows gamers to interact in a physical manner that defies previous consoles productivity. Instead of sitting in one place all day and just using a basic controller and letting your thumbs do all the work, the Wii incorporates a healthy lifestyle by being physically active in fully utilizing the whole gaming experience (Nintendo.com, 2007). The Wii does this by the creation of the Wii Remote (Wiimote)
The Wiimote is just like an ordinary remote control that can be strapped to a player’s hand. It has good sensing abilities that provide a lot of room for player movement and is fully compatible with other Wii accessories like the Nunchuk, the classic controller, and the Zapper (Chan, 2006). The Wiimote is more versatile than X-box and play station’s controllers in responding to a variety of scenarios that are present in motion-based games.
Nintendo Wii Accessories
It’s a 21-in-1 Nintendo Wii accessory set, covering the sport tools such as Golf Club, Tennis racket, Baseball Bat, and billiards
In reviewing the Wii’s gaming capabilities, it is not as powerful as the Playstation 3 in comparison with graphics and other multimedia capabilities; however, what it lacks in this division is compensated by its simplicity, its capacity to play quality games with decent graphics and good game play, and the fact that almost everyone can afford it.
The Nintendo Wii is the first console that allows the gamer to immerse themselves in hours and hours of near real-life gaming experience.
Did you know that? (Interesting facts about The Wii’s playability)
- More active forms of gaming (playing the Wii) tend to increase energy expenditure to a level which could help lose weight (TechShout.com, 2007).
- Regular use of playing The Wii could help people lose up to 12.25kg/year (TechShout.com, 2007)
- Motion sensor-controlled consoles such as the Wii can make a positive impact on an individual’s heart-rate (TechShout.com, 2007).
- Nintendo also released The Wii Fit, which is a video game developed by Nintendo for the immense popular Wii Console. It is approved by the doctors association and provides a healthy lifestyle for individuals of all different ages (Nintendo.com 2007).
- It includes games that incorporate Aerobic Exercises, Yoga Poses, Muscle Conditioning and Balance Stability.
When Nintendo introduced the Wii at half of the prices of its competitors, Microsoft’s X-BOX 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3, many critics were quick to pass judgment of the Wii stating that the drop in prices will be evident in cheap graphics and poor playability. But contrary to popular belief that cheap means inferior quality, the Nintendo Wii definitely lives up to the reputation in giving the ultimate gaming experience to any user. However in terms of graphics and other multimedia capabilities it’s safe to make the assumption that the Wii doesn’t have the same capabilities of its competitors.
The Wii only outputs a signal of 480p, which is basically DVD quality (Dilger, 2006). That means you are seeing better than what a normal TV can handle, but not as good as a high definition TV. The Wii comes with composite cables. These are the red, white and yellow cables that most VHS units come with. Unfortunately, if you have a high definition TV, a composite cable can only carry a signal meant for a regular TV. That means you won't even see DVD quality graphics from the Wii. You will only be able to see basic TV level graphics. However you could opt to buy a component or S-Video style connector for your high definition TV, to be able to see the full DVD quality level. As for the hardware, well-known video company ATI is behind the graphics card built for the Wii. Although the company has quite an impressive pedigree (the Xbox 360 uses a custom ATI GPU), the “Hollywood” isn’t likely to be their greatest accomplishment (Sid 2006). Hollywood is the name of the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) used in Nintendo's Wii video game console. The card is clocked at 243 MHz, meaning it’s a slug compared to the Xbox 360’s dual 500 MHz 90 nm chips (Casamassina, 2008).
In direct comparison with the PS3 and X-Box 360, The Wii doesn’t demonstrate the same power in video and in the graphic processor Unit. The difference in graphics can easily be seen in the different genre of video games. In NFL’s Madden 2009, the biggest difference can be seen in relations to the texture and lighting of the game. The PS3 has an in-depth textual analysis of each player, whereas the Wii’s versions on Madden 09, the players are seen as cartoony block like figures.
The pictures below are taken from the game Call of Duty. The comparison is between X-box 360 and the Nintendo Wii.
Graphics and Playability
It is believed that the drop in prices would be evident in cheap graphics and poor playability. But the fact of the matter is that the Wii has definitely lived up to the reputation of giving the ultimate gaming experience to any user. Although the graphics are not up to par with its competitors, Microsoft’s X-box 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3, the Wii wins gamers hearts with its unique playability that defies previous consoles productivity.
The unique feature that makes Nintendo Wii different from all other video games is the Sensor technology. It’s a new way to ‘get into the game’ (according the computerpoweruser.com article). This technology comprises of the Sensor Bar which go hand in hand with the Controllers. The controllers include the Wii Remote (WiiMote), Nunchuk and the Classic Controller. All these use Motion-sensing Technology, limited force feedback capabilities and Bluetooth to give a practical play for the users. And it doesn’t really matter what hand the user wants to use because that is also incorporated with the Wii.
In order for the system to work effectively, it is essential to test for positioning and sensitivity of the sensor bar relative to the TV and Remote which is controlled by the infrared light in the Remote. It senses the remote from up to 10 feet away and can accommodate up to 4 remotes at once.
It can be used as a racket, a steering wheel, a Baseball bat or even a Golf Stick. This Remote has inbuilt speakers and the Motion-sensing technology that nudges with the movements the user makes or when the user hits something on the screen.
This Nunchuk also has Motion-Sensing technology and works with the Wii Remote. It adds more action to the game when two hands are required.
Motion-Plus Accuracy Accessory
For better Motion Accuracy, Nintendo has now created a Motion-Plus Accuracy Accessory which can be attached to the end of the Wii Remote. It is combined with an accelerator and sensor bar making the players movement more accurate (
What Goes Wrong?!
A New technology brings new issues for the users.
-For Wii to function properly there needs to be an Optimal Environment. Besides the regulations about placing everything in order, Users have to check for other infrared light sources (candles, sunlight, fireplace and stoves) as they cause disturbance with the game. Together with that is the watch for other Radio Frequency that cause hindrance too.
-When buying an external remote control, Users have to make sure that they are in sync with the sensor bar. If this is not done, Wii does not recognize the remote and the players.
-Wii Remote's infra red system is not accurate enough to match the player's movement. A new accessory has been implemented to eliminate this problem but this just means extra costs.
"Who Wants to Play?"
Nintendo targets a much broader demographic with its Nintendo Wii gaming system. Unlike Sony's Playstation 3 and Microsoft's XBOX 360 which are mostly targeted at an older teenage/adult age group, the Wii is enjoyed by youngsters, adults and even seniors alike. One major reason for this large demographic is its rating of “E” meaning for many of its games. Unlike other gaming systems that have been notorious for having much too violence and being talked of negatively by concerned parents, the Nintendo Wii provides games suitable for the whole family to enjoy. Furthermore, it provides an array of games which require much physical activity. Games such as Wii Fit which consists of various athletic activities such as yoga, skiing and running encourage a healthier life style and target not only teenage gamers but adult fitness enthusiast also.
The simplistic, wireless and motion sensitive design of the Wii controller makes it easy for users of all age groups to use compared to most other consoles. The Nintendo Wii is being found in sites of all sorts. The Wii is bringing people together in nursing homes, cruise ships, co-ed theme parties, even Wii Bowling leagues exist.(O’Brien, 2007) For example, in the UK the Wii is being brought into seniors homes in order to increase physical and social health for the elderly. There is research to support the claim that the Wii will result in remarkable benefits for the elderly.(Cunliffe, 2008)
- In January of 2007, Nintendo made an online news channel accessible through their Wii game console. By use of the Opera browser, users of the Wii will be able to access articles provided by The Associated Press. This is in addition to the news already accessible to users such as weather forecasts, photo sharing, messenger and online shopping for games. (Maxcer, 2007) These added features may trigger different consumers and offers additional perks to purchasers of the Wii. The Associated Press is available in seven different languages which further broadens the target market. (The Associated Press, 2008) The many channels available on the Wii provide various age groups with entertainment other than gaming. For example, the Everybody Votes Channel enables users to answer questions and participate in national and worldwide opinion polls. Users can even guess what the results of the poll will be and come back and check the results to see how right they were. A drawback to these options is that most of them require a broadband internet connection which could mean more costs to the consumer in order to enjoy a greater variety of uses for the console. (Nintendo, 2008)
After research conducted by the US Natural Resources Defense Council the Nintendo Wii out shines all other gaming consoles in respect to the environment. It would cost someone in the US only $15 a year to run the Wii in on mode all the time and a measly $3 if the owner were to switch it off when he/she was not using it. On the other hand, the Sony Playstation 3 costs around $134 a year to have it on all the time and the xbox 360 $100. (Hattersley,2008)
Health and Medicine
In one case, a 16 year old boy was involved in a car crash and experienced severe neck and brain injuries. Wesley Battles right side was completely paralyzed; surprisingly the key to his marvellous recovery was the wii. His recovery has lead to a stream of experiments trying to prove that the Wii should be used in other cases like Wesley’s. So far, the study has found that of the seven subjects, two went from severe to moderate condition, six demonstrated improved memory, some even increased their social skills playing bowling and tennis. Researchers believe that this can be beneficial not only for trauma victims but also stroke victims and aid in rapid recovery.(Dontaelli, 2008)
Cross Platform Games
Although the Nintendo Wii has done very well since it’s release in 2006, there is a demographic that has been hesitant to cross over to the wand swinging action of the latest Nintendo console; expericed and dedicated console gamers. The Playstation and Xbox fanatics who have been honing their button mashing skills, mastering mind boggling command combinations and learning obscure aspects of games such as “Madden NFL” and “Call of Duty” to get an edge over the competition. Although the Wii does offer these titles, it is in the way it does so that has fans split down the middle…
One of the major downsides of the Nintendo Wii is graphics, it does not generate high definition graphics like it’s two next-gen competitors. With all the development efforts going towards the motion sensing controllers, and a relatively low price tag, the Wii can’t have it all. A Wii is essentially a beefed up Gamecube (Caron, 2007), and the graphics in some games can be even worse than some Gamecube titles. With the growing affordability of high definition televisions, graphics are becoming more and more important to gamers.
Another major detractor of cross platform gaming on the Wii, besides the fact that they don’t look as good, is that they were poorly ported. Porting is when a game designed on one system is simply adapted to another. A lot of games coming out on Wii we’re designed on Xbox 360, and were unable to maintain playability when ported to the radical style of controlling and weaker engine of the Wii. This leaves the games feeling slightly "off", and can often be very frustrating.
The aspect of the Wii that has made it so popular; playability is also what drives some gamers away. The beauty of the Wii is that anybody can play it and have fun. Toddlers, teens, adults with no gaming experience and seniors alike can all enjoy the Wii together. EA Sports titles such as Madden and FIFA have added “All-Play” to their titles, “The idea with the All-Play games is to take a familiar brand, like Madden and make them "fun, stimulating, easy" Moore said, pointing out how All-Play Madden doesn't have "graphic intensity" but does give gamers a simple experience”(Crecente, 2008). Most Wii games in fact, are very simple to pick up, just follow the onscreen instructions, swing the controller and you’re playing. This is the major detractor for experienced gamers, who often take pride in their abilities on a traditional game controller, on which some games can take weeks to get a hang of.
Wii's Optical Disc Drive (ODD)
The Nintendo Wii's Optical Disc Drive (ODD) was one of the main reasons for the original price of the Wii to be so much lower than the Playstation 3 or the Xbox 360. The Wii's ODD has some positive characteristics, but is not nearly as advanced as the Blueray disc reader in the Playstation 3 or the reader used in the Xbox 360. Unlike other ODD the Wii's ODD reads the disc form the outer rim inwards towards the center. The Wii's ODD also has a maximum read speed of DVDX6, which is six times the regular speed of a DVD. The ODD used in the Wii also has the ability to read three different types of game discs. It can support the old 8cm Gamecube discs which have 1.5GB of storage on the disc. As well it can read 12cm Wii discs which can be single layered, with 4.7GB, and dual layered, with 8.51GB. The entire console is automatically started when one of these three discs are inserted into the Wii. In 2007 an upgrade was released that allows the Wii to play DVD videos.
Reported Problems with ODD
There have been a number of problems reported concerning the Optical Disc Drive in the Wii. The most common problem is disc read errors in the dual layered discs. The disc read errors will cause the Wii to make a loud buzzing noise and may also scratch the disc. This problem is mostly cause by the Wii being exposed to large amounts of dust or cigarette smoke. The problem can be fixed by cleaning the dust or smoke off of the ODD lens. Nintendo has offered to clean any Wii ODD lens for free.
After evaluation and analysis of the many unique and new age characteristics of the Nintendo Wii, we believe that the the benefits far out way the flaws of the console. We have explored how the new age sensor technology puts the Wii in a class of its own, no other gaming console has ventured into the area of sensor gaming before. Furthermore, we discovered that the Wii is suitable for the whole family due to the lack of violence in its games. Since its recent launching the Wii has even served a purpose in the field of medicine, proved itself to be environmentally friendly and even increase physical activity! Although graphics may not be up to par in most cases, and cross-platform games and disc drives have downsides to them,the benefits far out weigh these flaws. The nintendo Wii is a favourable technology and the purchase of a Wii game console would be money well spent.
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1) Good Job! The references are supposed to be the information sources you are going to use, like books or web sites. [Fatemeh]
2) Thanks for making the modifications in the References section. You will be the last group of my lab groups who will present their project on Nov 26th, it will be around 5:00pm. [Fatemeh]