Wii U Virtual Console, Panorama View launches in EU, Japan tomorrow [update: NA VC live]

Update 2: The Virtual Console is live in North America now.

Update 1: Nintendo of America reiterates the Virtual Console and Panorama View are rolling out "a short time" after the 3.0 system update, which is live now.

The Virtual Console proper looks to be lining up a worldwide launch on Wii U tomorrow, with the retro cavalcade confirmed for arrival in Europe and Japan on April 27. While we know the eight games initial confirmed for the Virtual Console launch in North America, we're still waiting on an ETA - we'll update this post as soon as we know.

Europe's initial Virtual Console launch largely mirrors North America's: Donkey Kong. Jr, Excitebike, Ice Climbers, Punch Out, F-Zero, and Super Mario World appear in both line-ups. Europe, however, doesn't get Kirby's Adventure and Balloon Fight - that may be to do with the criticism Nintendo received for releasing the slower 50Hz version of Balloon Fight in the region earlier this year. In the two games' European stead is Mario's Super Picross.

In contrast, Japan's starting line-up is beefy. It features Ice Climbers, Spelunker, Excitebike, Xevious, Downtown Nekketsu March: Let's Go to the Great Athletic Meet, Balloon Fight, F-Zero, Super Mario World, Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts, Mother 2, Kirby's Adventure, Mario's Super Picross, Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu, and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem.

Finally, Nintendo also confirmed the Panorama View app arrives in Europe and Japan tomorrow, with both regions getting four starting videos to enjoy in 360° on the GamePad.
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MAJOR Wii U UPDATE FEATURES NEW SERVICES & FASTER PERFORMANCE

Virtual Console and Wii U Panorama View Also Set to Launch

26th April, 2013 – The next major system update for Nintendo's Wii U home console is now available for download. The update delivers a host of 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 which allows Wii U owners to relive some of their favourite games from classic home consoles, as well as the launch of Wii U Panorama View.

Below is an overview of what the system update delivers:

Addition of Standby Functions Feature
This feature enables data for purchased software, system updates and software updates to be downloaded and installed automatically even after the console has been turned off.
Updates to Miiverse
Controls using the Wii Remote, the Wii U Pro Controller, and the Classic Controller are now supported.
The input screen for handwritten posts is now also displayed on the TV.
The input screen for handwritten posts now features an undo/redo button.
Updates to the Internet Browser
Controls using the Wii Remote and the Wii U Pro Controller are now supported.
It is now possible to switch search engines when performing a keyword search.
It is now possible to navigate to the start page from bookmarks.
Update to Nintendo eShop
When purchasing downloadable software, any available updates for that software will be downloaded at the same time.
Updates to Download Management
It is now possible to reorder downloads.
Newly purchased downloadable software will automatically install once the download completes.
Updates to Parental Controls
The "Viewing Distributed Videos" restriction has been changed to "Entertainment Excluding Games". A screen requiring parental consent will be displayed before the first use of any non-game software (including video-viewing software) or other new service.
Enabled Direct Opening of Wii Menu
When the Wii U logo is displayed after turning on the console, holding down the B Button on the Wii U GamePad will open the Wii Menu directly. (If no default user has been selected on the console, the user-selection screen will be displayed, and a user must be selected.)
Updates to System Settings
Under Data Management, two USB storage devices can now be connected to move and/or copy data. You can move and/or copy data between the system memory and a USB storage device or between two USB storage devices. (Up to two USB storage devices can be connected when moving, copying or deleting data. In all other cases, only one USB storage device can be used at a time.)
Under Data Management, you can now move, copy or delete data for a selection of software titles.
The TV option now includes the option to adjust the screen size of the display on the TV. (This replaces the similar options previously available within Miiverse, Nintendo eShop, and the Internet Browser, which have now been removed.)
The "Auto Power-Down" option has been renamed to "Power Settings", which now includes both the auto power-down setting and the new standby functions feature.
Improvements to System Stability and Convenience
Improvements have been made to system stability and convenience for greater user enjoyment.
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.
On 27th April additional features are scheduled to be released including:

Virtual Console

A library of quality classic games from NES and Super Nintendo are scheduled for the Virtual Console service on Wii U, with favourites such as Super Mario World, Excitebike, Mario's Super Picross, F-Zero, Ice Climber, Donkey Kong Jr. and Punch-Out!! available at launch*. Many other gaming classics such as Pac Man, Super Metroid and games from the Mega Man, Street Fighter and Super Mario Bros. series will be available soon, while popular Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64 games will also 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, customisable controls, Miiverse community support and the ability to instantly save game progress. NES games will cost €4.99/£3.49 while Super NES games will cost €7.99/£5.49. 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 €/£0.99 for NES games and €/£ 1.49 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 exciting 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. Four individual video tours are offered for €1.99/£1.79 each on the Nintendo eShop. An interactive preview is also available for download allowing you to taste the different experiences of the individual tours for free.

For further details:
Nintendo website http://www.nintendo.co.uk
Nintendo Support website http://support.nintendo.co.uk
Wii U website http://wiiu.co.uk
Nintendo UK on Twitter https://twitter.com/nintendouk
Wii U on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WiiU.co.uk

- ENDS –

In order to perform a System Update the Wii U console needs to be connected to the Internet. Due to the amount of new features and applications included, the System Update may take an extended amount of time when performed during the initial setup (for some users it could take an hour or more to download and install, for those who have completed the initial setup this time will be reduced to approximately 20 minutes). During this time the Wii U console must not be turned off. Please visit our Wii U Support website for more details on the System Update process.

*
Title Platform Available on Price Point Further Info Contact
Super Mario World™
(Nintendo) Wii U
(Virtual Console) Nintendo eShop from 27/4/13 €7.99
(£5.49) pr@nintendo.co.uk
Nintendo PR
Game Description: Mario and Luigi's first Super NES escapade took them into a new land with new characters, new abilities and much more – becoming an all-time best-seller. In Super Mario World the plumber brothers come to Dinosaur Land, meet their new lovable companion Yoshi and do battle with Bowser and his minions across dozens of fiendishly designed levels packed with secrets. As well as riding Yoshi and slurping up enemies, you can also take to the skies with the aid of the new Cape Feather – and soar into a world of adventure!

This is the US version of the game.
Ice Climber™
(Nintendo) Wii U
(Virtual Console) Nintendo eShop from 27/4/13 €4.99
(£3.49) pr@nintendo.co.uk
Nintendo PR
Game Description: Conquer treacherous peaks, leap across icy chasms and swat snow-dwelling beasts – solo or with a friend – in this NES classic. Use your hammer to bash blocks and to defend yourself from the wildlife as you head towards the summit. Make it through all eight floors to reach the bonus stage and grab as many vegetables as you can before hitching a lift on a friendly condor. In two player mode, either work together to reach the mountain top or compete to see who can get the glory first!

This is the US version of the game.
Mario's Super Picross™
(Nintendo) Wii U
(Virtual Console) Nintendo eShop from 27/4/13 €7.99
(£5.49) pr@nintendo.co.uk
Nintendo PR
Game Description: This Super Nintendo version of the popular 'picture crossword' game was originally released only in Japan, and features hundreds of relaxing yet challenging brainteasers. Each Picross puzzle consists of a numbered grid of tiles which reveal a picture when correctly chiselled away. In Mario's main mode, a wrong move means losing time. However, in the more difficult Wario mode, mistakes are not shown, so be careful. Also, a friend can help by joining in with a second controller.
This is the Japanese version of the game.
Donkey Kong Jr.
(Nintendo) Wii U
(Virtual Console) Nintendo eShop from 27/4/13 €4.99
(£3.49) pr@nintendo.co.uk
Nintendo PR
Game Description: Donkey Kong has finally been captured by Mario! In this unique role-reversal platformer, you play as DK's son, Junior, and must save dad from Mario's clutches. Swing and climb your way across vines and chains to grab the keys that unlock Donkey Kong's cage, avoiding nasty critters like Snapjaws and Nitpickers. It's a game all about speed and high scores - so get swinging and rack up those points - but don't forget to rescue DK!

This is the US version of the game.
Excitebike™
(Nintendo) Wii U
(Virtual Console) Nintendo eShop from 27/4/13 €4.99
(£3.49) pr@nintendo.co.uk
Nintendo PR
Game Description: The original Excitebike combines high-octane thrills and hair-raising stunts in a masterpiece of simple yet effective design from the early days of the NES. Speed solo across perilous obstacle courses or face off against rival bikes in white-knuckle races against the clock. Speed and stability are key, as you must keep your bike level on the landings, to avoid eating dirt. You can also create – and then race on – your own tracks in the Design Mode.

This is the US version of the game.
Punch-Out!!™
(Nintendo) Wii U
(Virtual Console) Nintendo eShop from 27/4/13 €4.99
(£3.49) pr@nintendo.co.uk
Nintendo PR
Game Description: What rookie boxer Little Mac lacks in size, he makes up for in determination. And with trainer Doc Louis by his side, Little Mac is ready to win big! NES classic Punch-Out!! pits your pint-sized pugilist against such diverse rivals as the fragile-jawed Frenchman Glass Joe, sucker-punching Russian Soda Popinski and the Hollywood heavyweight Super Macho Man. Use jabs, body blows, hooks and uppercuts to discover your opponent's weak spot and make the knockout blow. Also, look out for an appearance by Mario as the referee!

This is the US version of the game.
F-ZERO™
(Nintendo) Wii U
(Virtual Console) Nintendo eShop from 27/4/13 €7.99
(£5.49) pr@nintendo.co.uk
Nintendo PR
Game Description: In the year 2560, the greatest racing competition is the F-ZERO championship. Pilots from across the galaxy risk their lives in a high-speed battle of turbo-charged hovercraft. Taking full advantage of the Super NES's 'Mode 7™' effect, F-ZERO redefined racing games with its smooth, fast graphics and thrilling gameplay. It also featured one of the most famous soundtracks in video games, and introduced players to the likes of Captain Falcon and Samurai Goroh.

This is the US version of the game.

About Nintendo
The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Wii U™ and Wii™ home consoles, Nintendo 3DS™ and Nintendo DS™ family of portable systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System™, Nintendo has sold more than 4 billion video games and more than 651 million hardware units globally, including the current-generation Wii U, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi™ and Nintendo DSi XL™, as well as the Game Boy™, Game Boy Advance™, Super NES™, Nintendo 64™ and Nintendo GameCube™ systems. It has also created industry icons that have become well-known, household names such as Mario™, Donkey Kong™, Metroid™, Zelda™ and Pokémon™. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of Europe, based in Grossostheim, Germany, was established in 1990 and serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in Europe.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.