To the enthusiast gamer, everything that’s not as powerful as current technology allows is “gimped”. It’s a bit like an auto enthusiast who rails that a mass market consumer minivan is a piece of crap because somewhere in the world, there are Ferraris. It’s true that the minivan is no Ferrari, so the enthusiast has a point – but he’s also missing the point that the minivan’s job is not to be a Ferrari. And in some ways, it’s better… like cargo capacity, fuel efficiency, etc.
It’s hard for me even with this news to see the Wii U’s hardware as “Nintendo cheeps out on j00 suckers”. Because Nintendo’s goal was not to make a $500 console that was way more powerful than PS3 and Xbox 360 plus included an iPad. Again, their self-chosen path and problem is that they deal with the mass market. A $300 console (the base model) sounds like their absolute upper limit for MSRP, to not scare away the authentic mainstream audience. Within that price, their concept for the system included an expensive to develop, and not cheap to produce touch screen / motion sensing interface device.
Nintendo doesn’t seem to have “gimped” on anything within the price range they had to remain within, considering the total components that make up the system. If the Xbox 360 had ha a cheaper CPU, it could have had more ram, for example. But there were specific priorities and they were followed. Wii U was designed with specific priorities and this is what we got.
The joke with the FUD being spread is that you still have ports like Assassin’s Creed 3 at launch, made in a rush, that effectively look and run about like the PS3 version of the same game. If people stopped and thought for a moment, they’d see that clearly, something in Nintendo’s design strategy for the console is working. Otherwise that game would not exist on Wii U and if it did, never with that kind of port parity.
I would add that the most questionable thing in the entire matter in my opinion is Nintendo’s very obvious entreaties to 3rd parties about Wii U being friendly towards them from a development and power standpoint. Obviously, working on the console involves some major strategic shifts and while that doesn’t mean the hardware is bad, it probably does make Nintendo’s official PR line sound like damage control. But then we have all those months and months of some 3rd parties saying the hardware is great, some griping it sucks, etc etc. Opinions, woohah!