Fake Wii U Footage: Bait and Switch

Fake Wii U Footage: Bait and Switch

When Nintendo showed off a few of the third party titles coming to the Wii U in 2012, you probably noticed some familiar faces in the trailer. Said faces are more familiar than you think: All the footage used in the video came from PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game.

When GameTrailers asked Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime outright whether or not the Wii U’s third party reel utilized footage from competitors, Fils-Aime was open about the matter. “Absolutely,” he said, “because we’re talking a year away from when this system’s going to launch.”

GameTrailers then asked Fils-Aime if third party games will look as impressive on the Wii U as they do on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. “In terms of how good it looks it’s going to be driven by what the individual developers do,” Fils-Aime answered. “It’s going to be 1080p, it’s going to be high definition. You’re going to see games that take full advantage of a system that has the latest technology and can push out some incredible graphics.”

The latter half of Fils-Aime’s answer to Keighley is pretty typical of any company attempting to sell a game system that’s still miles away from release, but the first half of the response is direct and honest–admirably so. Nintendo was asked, “Did you use the other guys’ footage for your presentation?” and Nintendo simply came back with “Yeah, we did. What else were we supposed to do, really?”

Was it a good idea for Nintendo to use the competition’s footage to show off the Wii U? Not really; it’s just not the wisest move to show off your new system using video from games on systems that are five, six years old. If you want your audience to associate your new product with words like “new!” and “revolutionary!” that’s not the way to do it. We want to see what the Wii U is capable of, graphics-wise; we already know what the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 can do.

But general internet opinion aired via message boards and story comment threads holds that Nintendo somehow acted sneakily by showing off PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 footage instead of real Wii U video. There’s nothing sneaky about it, however: When Nintendo was asked if it had used its competitors’ video, it shrugged and said, “Yeah, we did.” Pretty straightforward.

Admittedly, Nintendo’s Wii U presentation did incite some confusion as to what the company’s new hardware is actually capable of, and showing off PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 footage hasn’t done anything to clear up said confusion. As for the criticism about Nintendo being sneaky, however? Largely invalid.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.


  1. Honestly I don’t really believe it was underhanded or even unwise. Consider the fact that few games for the system are completed, and the suggestion that companies were likely kept in the dark about it only until recently, they had to show off that they were in fact getting 3rd party support.

    I think the footage was designed as proof of what the system will deliver as far as developers, and less of what the system is capable of. Any game in development for the Wii U I imagine would look pretty poor in such early stages.

    Next E3 will be when the system will really shine. This E3 was just a taste.

  2. When the Xbox 360 was announced, they showed mocked up game footage running from two mac computers. Same thing with the PS3.

    How is this any different?

    You can’t show games running for real on a console when the console isn’t going to be released for 18 months.

  3. What Nintendo did was very definitely unwise.
    Why? Because they’re not even done finalizing the hardware. That means they’re still so early in its development process that most developers don’t even know what kind of target renders they can produce for the system yet, whether they end up being far better looking, exactly the same or worse.

    So @axisofweevils, those “mocked up” games for 360 and PS3 are very different because they’re common (and well-known/accepted) practice for showcasing the power of upcoming hardware. Using footage of games as developed on rival consoles doesn’t showcase said hardware; it only shows uncertainty from third party developers as to the visual quality of games they can produce on the system.

    To think that this whole issue could have been avoided by taking the 3DS route from E3 2010 and simply announcing titles of established PS3/360 franchises and adding “they’ll look even better”. Nintendo would have been lauded for it and wouldn’t have had to answer so many hostile questions on the subject.

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