While the Wii U does technically already have support for the Wii’s Virtual Console service, it is only available through the built-in menu that emulates the Wii itself. As a result, the obvious idea of including support to play classic titles on the GamePad controller’s screen has not been implemented. Only Wii Remotes and Classic Controllers can be used. The Wii U itself, despite offering original downloadable titles via its eShop service, does not have its own Virtual Console service, either.
This week though, Nintendo representatives have let fly the fact that this will be addressed at some point. When a Kotaku writer contacted the company about the possibility of GamePad screen support, as well as a Wii U Virtual Console a la the 3DS, the response read, “We do not have any specifics to share at this time. However, we are moving ahead with development of Virtual Console for Wii U, and we plan to make it so you can play it on the Wii U GamePad alone.”
No further details, including an estimated launch date or what types of games will be available for the Wii U Virtual Console, were given. Still, it is reassuring to know that Nintendo is working on a feature that seemed to be a no-brainer to many gamers. At the same time, it’s unfortunate that they didn’t think ahead of time enough to make it an out-of-the-box feature for those who have bought the Wii U during the system’s launch window.
There are still many questions this brings up. Will players be able to use their previously bought Wii Virtual Console games for GamePad play at no extra cost, or will Nintendo require a separate purchase for the added functionality? (NES games available on both the Wii and the 3DS require separate purchases.) Will Nintendo start adding more games to the service, which has had its new releases slow down to almost a non-existent rate over the years? And will Nintendo consider adding more recent consoles to the service, such as the Gamecube or even the Wii?
Time will tell. Until then, we will keep you updated on more Nintendo and Wii U news as it drops.