Monday, January 22, 2007

A Wii Update...

The last of the next gen consoles to hit the scene, Nintendo's Wii system provided a few challenges for us when it came to high quality video assets.
The first major issue to confront us was the lack of any unifying EDTV or HDTV standard that all games conform to. The Wii itself does provide a 480p progressive output, but unbelievably not all games actually support it. Furthermore, there is no standard aspect ratio for the hardware either - some games support 16:9, others do not. So while the Xbox 360 and PS3 get by using two different support profiles (720p and 1080p), Wii requires double that: full frame and widescreen 480p calibrations, along with support for interlaced 480i and 576i - two formats I hoped never to work with again.
Still, thanks to some hands-on time with Wii thanks to a German licensee of our hardware, we were able to provide support for every single iteration of the new Nintendo machine's video output. Let's hope that over time, games developers all support 16:9 480p.

Click for full resolution 848x480 screenshot of Wii title Excite Truck, taken with Digital Foundry HD in the preferred 16:9 480p format.