Haven't gotten my Wii U yet. I'll have it as soon as Gamestop opens in the morning, though. Anyway, I've been looking online at reviews, videos, impressions, and threads all day. One thing that keeps recurring is that some guy will always say, "It's just current gen with a gimmick" or "It's just a slight improvement over 7 year old consoles".
So, why is the Wii U next gen? Is it akin to the Wii--a system with comparable power to last gen but with a flashy controller?
I say, no. Why? Look at your Xbox 360. When it launched, most of the games were just higher res versions of Xbox games. There were even a few occassions where the original Xbox game ran better than the 360 version (according to reviews of the day). That's why, when we saw video of Fight Night and other titles on the PS3, we were blown away. We just didn't believe that this kind of stuff was possible on the 360. Then, we found out that the game WAS coming to the 360 with absolutely no loss in quality. When titles like Gears of War finally shipped, the 360 had our respect. We stopped calling it "Xbox 1.5".
I think the same thing applies to the Wii U. We see games like Mass Effect, Assassins Creed, Batman Arkham City, etc. running on the Wii U and we think, "It's not a big step above the 360/PS3" or "The PS3/360 can do it better". What people seem to be forgetting is that these titles represent the culmination of six or seven years of learning to optimize the current gen consoles. In many regards, these are the pinnacle of the gen. The best of the best. The absolute best of this gen is just the Wii U's starting point. The true potential has yet to be revealed.
That's how I see it, anyway.
*Edit* had to edit the thread because people seem to just be reading the title and not the OP.
Once again, I'll say that I know generations are defined by the time period and not graphical power. It goes without saying.
Companies were releasing hardware that was several times more powerful than the Gameboy color years before the GBC was released. The GBC was still from a later gen. I get that. I'm the guy that's posted several times about what goes with which gen!
I guess I should have been clearer in the OP. I am specifically talking asking if you think the Wii U is 7th gen technology released in an 8th gen time frame or if it is a satisfying leap, technologically, over what is already available.