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Wii U: Brain Over Brawn?

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Does size matter? When it comes to the ability to beat your enemy to death with a games console then yes. An Xbox thrown from a height could kill a man, whilst the GameCube with its convenient handle was always more of a close combat weapon.

In terms of the technological power, in the long running console wars the book is still open. The Wii, Game Boy and PlayStation all outsold their more powerful rivals but then again the aforementioned and underpowered GameCube was left trailing behind.

Where does this leave the Wii U? It launches this weekend in the UK as the most powerful console available but will be no doubt out gunned by its rivals over the next two years.

Nintendo are banking on repeating the Wii's surprise success with another unconventional controller. Although the Wii U is significantly more powerful than its predecessor the big development money has gone into a controller with a built in 6.2" touch screen.

If we assume power isn't everything then what is? Well the obvious answer is the games. Without that killer game, be it Sonic The Hedgehog on Mega Drive or Tetris on the Game Boy, you've got a flop on your hands.

With that in mind it logically follows that it must be the technologies ability to realise the game that matters. Sonic's crisp colours and fast pace were only truly possible with the advent of 16-bit gaming, whilst the Game Boy's superior battery life and lower price made it the perfect vehicle for the simple but additive puzzler Tetris.

Nintendo Dogs without a touch screen would have been as pointless as Wii Sports without the motion controller. It's not about how powerful the technology is but how well suited it is to making the games your customers want.

Even when a console does have lots of power under the hood it should come with a warning that much of it may never be used to enhance your gaming experience.

The Sega Saturn was notoriously difficult to develop due to its unusual internal structure. The PS3's almighty Cell Processer is said to have found itself unloved and underused due to the complexity of accessing its power.

The Wii U appears to have a fairly straightforward design that may not be exciting but will be appreciated buy developers and consumers alike if it reduces costs.

Nintendo choice to come to market first with a modest power increase may seem wiser when the 'PS4' and 'Xbox 720' launch and developers have to come to terms with the significantly newer technology.

So what is Nintendo's strategy? I would view the Wii U is part two of a three-part trilogy. The first instalment, the Wii, used its low price and motion controllers to attract casual and new gamers and placing the Nintendo brand in millions of homes

The Wii U now sees the trilogy hit puberty, with more power and a more conventional control system allowing for greater compatibility with mature titles. Between that standard array of control buttons lurks the touchscreen that is Nintendo's trump card

They've understood the battle for the television is a part of domestic life and offered a solution. The inbuilt screen can be used to continue playing your game when the rest of the family wants to watch the telly.

The controller also acts as a television remote allowing you to control you personal video recorder via the touch screen. Also there has been little fanfare for the fact it can browse Internet making it a tablet device as well.

Finally its dual screen game play is second nature to the 100 Million DS and 3DS users allowing Nintendo to tap into it huge handheld gaming following.

Add this to its compatibility with the Wii's accessories and back catalogue that have an installed base of millions it is a console that is growing up with the family its predecessor so successful attracted.

Nintendo didn't have the money or the commercial reach to battle Microsoft and Sony head on and so had to find a new audience and groom them. As Michael Plant sharply observes the Wii U's key title is Nintendo Land which subtly introduces new users to those key titles that have built the kind of loyalty that saved the GameCube from totally ignominy.

The Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Brothers, Metriod Prime, Kirby, Animal Crossing, Star Fox, Donkey Kong, Pikmin, Yoshi, F-Zero, Wii Sports, Wii Fit and of course the Mario 2D, 3D and Party series will all arrive at a steady rate.

So although I don't doubt that the Wii U will not sell as many units as the Wii, I will suggest it won't be gathering dust. When the Wii 3 comes Nintendo will have raised a generation with their design ethos of gameplay over graphics, brain over brawn.

The power is merely a means to an end, how you use that power and at what price it comes at is the difference between the successful and an unsuccessful console, just ask Sega.