Firmware updates are part and parcel of the console experience, and Nintendo’s latest Wii U update has just gone live and is available for download. The Wii U update improves the system’s overall performance, including enhanced stability (e.g. no crashes) and faster between-app load times, and also paves the way for the Wii U Virtual Console service. The launch of the Wii U Virtual Console is, according to Nintendo’s statement, “imminent.”
Owners of the original Nintendo Wii are likely familiar with the Virtual Console, and the Wii U iteration isn’t all that different. A library of quality classic games is planned for the Wii U Virtual Console, including favorites such as Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Excitebike, F-Zero, Kirby’s Adventure, Mario Bros., Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario World, Super Metroid and Yoshi.
Interestingly, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64 games will be added in the future. GoldenEye, anyone?
Each game in the Wii U Virtual Console library has been developed to include off-TV play on the Wii U GamePad controller, customizable controls, Miiverse community support and the ability to instantly save game progress. NES games will cost $4.99 to $5.99, while Super NES games will cost $7.99 to $8.99. People who have already downloaded these games to their Wii System can transfer them to their Wii U consoles and play them in Wii Mode at no charge. To upgrade and take advantage of the improved Wii U features, they can purchase them at the special discount price of just $1 for NES games and $1.50 for Super NES games.
In addition to the Virtual Console, today’s Wii U firmware update prepares the system for the launch of Wii U Panorama View. Wii U Panorama View opens a window to the sights and sounds of some of the world’s most exotic destinations. Wii U owners use the GamePad controller to look in every direction to control an immersive 360-degree video guided tour as these destinations come to life from the comfort of your living room.
Imagine catching all the sights during a tour of London on a double-decker bus or exploring the streets of Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. Wii U Panorama View will be available as a free downloadable demo from the Nintendo eShop and includes a sample of different experiences the application has to offer. The full versions of each individual video tour can be purchased for $2 each.
All told, the firmware update includes the following tweaks and enhancements:
- The time required to start the Wii U console, launch built-in applications, exit software and return to the main menu, jump between applications, and jump between software and Miiverse has been reduced.
- While the Wii U logo is being displayed during the system startup, users can directly transition to the Wii Menu by holding down the B Button on the Wii U GamePad.
- Users can install games and applications from the Nintendo eShop in the background while other software is being used.
- When powering off during a download, Wii U will go into a standby mode, then power off when all downloads and installations are complete.
- Users can transfer and copy data between two USB storage devices in Data Management. This allows users the opportunity to upgrade or replace a current USB storage device that is connected to the Wii U Console.
- Users can control the priority of their downloads when downloading multiple items at once.
- Improved account selection when powering on the system now displays Nintendo Network IDs to clearly distinguish accounts.
- TV screen size output can now be adjusted in the System Settings.
- An Undo/Redo button was added to the Miiverse drawing input screen.
Additional features will be rolled out soon, Nintendo said, although which features in addition to the Virtual Console and Panorama View were not disclosed.