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This article presents a direct comparison of calculated optical characteristics of polar, nonpolar, and semipolar III-nitride quantum wells. We show that the advantage of using wider quantum wells offered by nonpolar/semipolar technology is severely limited by narrower valence subband separation, thermal hole redistribution, and resulting optical gain degradation in wider wells. However, we emphasize the importance of using wider quantum wells to prevent electron leakage. We also show that gain characteristics of laser structures grown in nonpolar/semipolar orientations are less vulnerable to detrimental effect of nonradiative recombination.