Wii Street U Google Maps Available Now On Japanese eShop

Back in December Nintendo announced that both Google Maps and the company’s Panorama View tech would be released on Japanese Wii U eShop early this year. Nintendo has now made good on that promise and launched the pair as a combined Wii U app called Wii Street U.

Wii Street U is basically a version of Google Street View that is customized to the Wii U GamePad. The app displays the Google Street View image on the GamePad screen and users can then rotate and turn the controller to view all 360 degrees of the Street View. Think of it as if the GamePad screen was a window into the Street View world.

The best news is that you don’t have to wear a ridiculous helmet-cam setup or strap one of those giant Google camera rigs to your back to use the Wii Street U app.

Anyone with a Japanese Wii U can download the app for free though the end of May, after that it will cost you. A Western release for Wii Street U has not been announced, however, I’m sure it is only a matter of time at this point.

We first saw the tech behind Wii Street U at E3 last year. At that time it was demonstrated with a prerecorded video (in lieu of the static Google Street View images) that would play on the TV and GamePad at the same time. As the video played users could use the GamePad to see objects that were “off-camera” on the TV, by pointing the GamePad in that direction.

While Wii Street U looks interesting, the real appeal here is if Nintendo pushes the tech further and puts into some kind of Pokemon Snap-type game. So far we don’t have any indication that they are actually working on developing anything like that, but it would seem to be the logical next step for the tech.

Check out the Wii Street U launch trailer below to get a good idea of how the app works.