Wii U Virtual Console now live on the eShop

The first of Nintendo's planned Wii U firmware updates went live just yesterday, bringing a much needed speed boost to software load times. And in that short time since, Nintendo's also made its retro-gaming Virtual Console portal available to users, effectively bypassing the need to boot into the Wii emulator for access. The downside to this new, belated convenience is that users will have to re-download any previously purchased Virtual Console titles, though that additional cost is relatively low at $1.00- $1.50 for NES and SNES games, respectively. Unfortunately, you'll still have to wait a bit longer for those beloved Game Boy Advance and N64 classics to make their way to the VC, as Nintendo plans to include those games sometime "in the future." Still, with band-aid number one out of the way for the ailing console and a host of tried-and-true classics now easily accessible, Wii U owners have a little something to tide them over until that late summer Pikmin 3 launch.

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MAJOR WII U UPDATE ADDS NEW SERVICES AND FEATURES, FASTER PERFORMANCE

Virtual Console and Wii U Panorama View Also Set to Launch

REDMOND, Wash., April 26, 2013 – The next major system update for Nintendo's Wii U home console after launch is now available for download. The update delivers a host of new services and enhanced features, such as improved stability and performance, as well as faster load times when switching between applications. The update also lays the groundwork for the imminent launch of the Wii U Virtual Console service. Wii U owners also will soon see the launch of Wii U Panorama View.

"Wii U continues to grow and evolve with new features that make it a better experience for everyone," said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's president and COO. "Now owners can navigate to their favorite games and services even faster, or play some of their favorite classic games."

Here's what the system update delivers:

• 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.

As previously announced, additional features are scheduled to be rolled out a short time after the update goes live. Wii U owners can soon expect to find:

Virtual Console

A library of quality classic games is planned for the Virtual Console on Wii U, with favorites such as Balloon Fight, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Excitebike, F-Zero, Ice Climber, Kirby's Adventure, Kirby Super Star, Mario Bros., Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario World, Super Metroid and Yoshi on the way soon. Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64 games are scheduled to be added in the future.

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.

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.

Remember that Wii U features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visit http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu.

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Wii U Virtual Console now live on the eShop