Developers have been optimising their engines for existing platforms for six years.
Wii U visuals for games produced by third-parties will improve given time, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has told investors.
The Wii U's graphical grunt has been called into question after games such as Batman and Assassin's Creed 3 seemed to be of a lower visual quality than the versions on PS3 and Xbox 360, but Iwata says developers just need to find their feet with the new hardware.
"While existing platforms have engines that development teams have tuned and optimized for six to seven years after their respective launches, the Wii U is a new platform that has slightly different architecture and, since development teams have only just begun development on software for it, they are only at the halfway point to utilising its full potential," he said.
"Despite this fact, however, if you look at the game Assassin's Creed 3, which was recently announced or shown, you can't see much difference when you compare it with games for other companies' systems."
Wii U will be released this holiday.
Given we don't yet know what lies under the hood of the Wii U it's difficult to know exactly what will be possible, but if developers are currently only using half its full potential we should see games which comfortably outshine those on the current consoles. The only question is, how long will it take to get to this point?