The last stop of our unique review of the hardware that gave life to the seventh generation of consoles is one of the most successful systems in the history of the medium, we are talking about Nintendo Wii (or simply the Wii), a revolutionary machine Thanks to its strong philosophy and a unique control scheme, it was able to condition both the medium and the company that developed it.
We came to the Wii with which Nintendo opted to appeal to the casual public through of an easy to understand and announce control system, with shapes reminiscent of elements to which their future users were familiar (controller similar to a television remote, internal menu divided into “channels”, marketing focused on an experience family, etc.) and a hardware based entirely on its previous console, which facilitated the backward compatibility between both.
In the words of the company itself, the idea of creating a console with a modest software with simple control was nurtured by the development of Nintendo DS. Replicating the success of the laptop in desktop in 2004 did not seem like a simple task, but the project was in gestation since the end of 2001 after the launch of GC.
However, the main processing unit was Broadway, a 32-bit CPU developed by IBM from Geeko, which was the main processing unit of GameCube. Geeko was based on the IBM PPC750CXe, the processor used by devices such as Apple’s iMac in the early 2000s. Broadway was more efficient than its predecessor and had better frequencies, which gave developers more freedom to perform certain actions on Wii that were not possible in GC.
This situation was repeated with the graphics processor, developed by the old ATI and of that there is not much information, beyond that it was based on the GameCube. But, as we have already indicated, the most significant change was in the memory.
GameCube had a memory, relatively limited for the time, of 24 MB SRAM that left little space for developers to work, that ended up using as virtual memory the extra 16 MB ARAM that the console used for its audio driver Wii included an additional 64MB of VRAM that solved this problem and opened new frontiers for the small Nintendo console in the form of more careful effects and better behavior in more open titles.
The different changes were aimed at improving the tools of developers favoring the creation of more polished video games for the system as early as possible. This, together with its sales success, favored the creation of a small indie ecosystem, similar to that of Microsoft with Xbox 360 and its Arcade.
Some studios chose to hire other equipment to adapt their productions with results very debatable in numerous occasions, to fact that helped to build some antipathy towards the machine between sectors of public and that unchained with a plummeting of launchings of third companies in his last years. Not in vain, it was a console fifteen times less powerful than its competition at the time (In gross terms).
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