I... don't think I can keep up with this thread, lol... But I DID skim through all the pages I missed and will add the following:
People compared Wii U's launch games to PS3/XBox360 late life games, and said "wow, the Wii U sucks, it's barely better", but now when we compare Wii U's 2nd year games to PS4/XBox1 launch games "wow, that's not fair, PS4/Xbox1 are new and will see massive improvements"? o_O
I didn't even notice the Pikmin 3 vs SM3DW misread, hahaha...
The PS4/XBox1 are not going to see the type of graphical growth the PS3/XBox360 did, that's just not going to happen. As I mentioned, there will be improvements, but they will be more optimization than major overhauls like we saw from the launch of the PS3/XBox360. Anyone who thinks otherwise is neglecting the fact that developers have been releasing PC games for well over a DECADE, and are therefore highly familiar with the x86 architecture. Late PS4/Xbox1 games will look better, but only just so.
The Wii U will see advancements in a different way. PPC architecture isn't new either, but Nintendo themselves is new to HD development. 3rd party ports have clearly been afterthoughts, and though they have a few improvements here and there, I can confidently say there hasn't been much effort because there's proven sales history that proper development time and money by a 3rd party will see losses on Nintendo's consoles. This will naturally see 3rd party's not even come close to attempting to push the system, nor even ensure their game does anything else other than run playable.
The only developer, therefore, to push the Wii U's hardware is Nintendo. And while they're learning fast, they're new to HD development, so I think we'll see a decent improvement on Wii U exclusives (we're already seeing this from Pikmin 3 to SM3DW, and with Bayonetta 2 and 'X') in which Nintendo is directly involved. The real kicker is going to be the Zelda U reveal at E3. How fast have they caught up with HD development? Will Zelda U be artistic like Skyward Sword to make full use of the system's power yet hide all its shortcomings? Or will Zelda U be technical, and utilize the vast graphics technology available in modern GPUs compared to their admittedly underpowered Wii?
E3 is going to be a big deal with Zelda U, because Zelda may just close that gap even further, or show Nintendo needs another console to finally understand HD development (and its high cost/longer development time). Either way, I look forward to what the Wii U will do, because it may be less powerful than the PS4/XBox1, but Bayonetta 2 and 'X' have me believing the Wii U is NOT "underpowered", and is wholly capable of giving a non-PC gamer the "wow" factor in graphics. SM3DW already achieves this, but only to those without blinders on, which is essentially people I directly show the game to on my system, on my TV, and then without me even asking, they mention how much better the game looks than they "thought" (thanks to media and "hardcore gamers").