Is The Wii U Next Gen or Not?

The debate continues as we try to settle on whether or not the Wii U is next-gen or not.

The debate has been raging on for a while now, is Nintendo’s new console, the Wii U, a next-gen system or not? Visit any gaming site where the community is active and you’ll find arguments supporting both sides – one saying it is, the other saying it isn’t. Well, a very specific question needs to be answered in order to reach a conclusion on the matter: What constitutes a next-generation system?

There are a few definitions that people give when trying to explain the next generation of video game consoles. Some proclaim that the system must have a leap in graphics and power. Others say that it is simply the next product in succession. Still others say that the next-generation of devices must be released around the same time in order to be considered part of that group. Well, let’s look at a few official definitions of the word “generation.”

  • defines generation as:
    • A stage or period of sequential technological development and innovation.
    • A class of objects derived from a preceding class: a new generation of computers.
    • A stage of technological development distinct from but based upon another stage: a new generation of computers.
  • Merriam-Webster defines a generation as:
    • A type or class of objects usually developed from an earlier type <first of the … new generation of powerful supersonic fighters — Kenneth Koyen>
  • defines a generation (from the World English Dictionary) as:
    •  Belonging to a specified stage of development in manufacture,usually implying improvement: a second-generation computer
    • and next-generation as: The next stage of development or version of a product, service, or technology

Keep those definitions in mind as we continue.

Wikipedia lists video game console generations from the First Generation with Magnavox’s Odyssey to the Eighth Generation with Nintendo’s Wii U. Should one consider that a legitimate assessment? Or should it be dismissed as an inaccurate assumption that a regular Joe with a computer edited on the site?

Still, even with that, many industry leaders and game companies tend to leave out the Wii U when talking about the next generation of gaming. Why? What prevents the Wii U from being included as a next-generation system? Many devs have said it has the power to run games at a level above that of the other currently available systems. So where does the roadblock come in?

Yet, another question that should be asked is, when does the next-gen stop being next-gen? When does a console just simply become the current gen? At one time, the PS3 and Xbox 360 were considered next-gen. Obviously now they’re not. When did that transition come? Now that the Wii U is out, is it no longer a nex-gen system? Should it be included with the current generation of machines?

When it is all said and done, I think we will actually never have an answer that all sides are satisfied with. Could we compromise and call the Wii U a current, next-gen system?

I have posed many questions throughout this article, but I think the most important should be this: Does it really matter? How much would it hurt us if we simply didn’t care about an intangible and indefinable category that brands something as “next-gen”?

When we let developers just make games and stop caring about whether or not something is next generation, then maybe we can appreciate a system for what it offers. We don’t all have to like every system out there. You’re not evil if you only own one system. But can we drop the debate?

I know, I’m asking for way too much from the gaming community. These debates will always happen as fanboys continue to war on, taking up arms as soldiers in their crusade to prove which system is better. All of this, based on unfounded ideas from their extremist consumer loyalty.

So, it’s your time to sound off: Do you feel the Wii U is a next-gen system? Why or why not? Do you care? If you do, why do you care? Let us know in the comments below!