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Nintendo Wii U Virtual Console, Performance Improvements Coming This Spring

Published on January 23, 2013
by Bonnie Cha

Today, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announced a slew of upcoming enhancements and new game titles for its Wii U gaming console.

Responding to consumer requests, Nintendo will provide two significant system updates that will help speed up the time it takes to launch software and return to the Wii U menu. The updates will be delivered in two stages: One in spring, and the next in summer.


Shortly after the spring update, Nintendo will launch a Virtual Console for the Wii U that will allow users to play classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super NES games.

Only a select number of NES and Super NES games will be available at first. Iwata said the games are being rewritten for the Wii U system, so it’s not possible to offer the entire collection at launch. Eventually, the game selection will include Game Boy Advance titles, and users will be able to save game progress and play right on the Wii U GamePad.

NES games will cost between $4.99 and $5.99, while Super NES games will fall in the $7.99 to $8.99 range. Discounted rates ($1 for NES titles and $1.50 for Super NES games) will be available for those who already purchased the Wii versions of the Virtual Console games.

Nintendo will also offer one game for 30 cents each month through July to celebrate the launch the Virtual Console for Wii U and the 30th anniversary of Nintendo’s Family Computer. Games include Balloon Fight, Kirby’s Adventure, Super Metroid and Donkey Kong.

As for new games for the Wii U, Iwata revealed that an HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is scheduled for this fall, along with a new Zelda game. A 3-D Mario and a Mario Kart racing game are also on tap, with more details coming at the E3 trade show in June. Other games on the schedule include one centering on the Yoshi character, Wii Party and a role-playing game from Monolith Soft.

In his presentation, Iwata apologized for the absence of any new Wii U titles for the months of January and February, but said that offering high-quality games was more important.


“Nintendo takes seriously its responsibility to offer a steady stream of new titles in the very early days of a new platform to establish a good lineup of software,” Iwata said. “On the other hand, we also firmly believe we have to offer quality experiences when we release new titles. Based on our software development schedules at the end of last year, we concluded we should spend a little more time to satisfy to our Nintendo standard of quality.”

The Nintendo Wii U launched in November, and the company has sold more than 890,000 units, according to NPD. Despite this, older competing consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation are still doing well, so game selection will be key for Nintendo.

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