Wii U Firmware Update: Off-TV Play for Wii Games and More

Monday, September 30th, 2013

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Nintendo Wii U I Deluxe Edition

Nintendo has released a gigantic firmware update for the Wii U today, as users who once played Wii games on their Wii U’s via Wii-mode can now play their games away from their TVs and into their Gamepads. So if there’s that favorite Wii game that you always wanted to play away from the TV–be it Xenoblade Chronicles, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, or the original Monster Hunter Tri— this update will make for an essential gaming experience.

This new update, Version 4.0.0U, will allow video and sound output to the Wii U Gamepad when it is in Wii-mode. Users now have the freedom to play their Wii games on either the TV, the Gamepad, or both if they choose. Furthermore, the update allows the Gamepad to support Dolby Pro Logic Surround Sound when playing Wii Software. Other new updates for the Gamepad allows users to plug in keyboards or headsets through the Gamepad USB ports to chat with friends more conveniently. Wii games cannot be controlled with a Gamepad and still require use of the Wiimote and Nunchuck.

While that alone sounds great, there’s much more. There is a Spotpass feature to allow updates for recommended software and demos. There is also an option to automatically receive updates for recommended software through the “Internet” setting. Default setting is for one hour but can be adjusted within Power Settings. Users have the option to use Nintendo Network ID on non-Nintendo hardware, such as smartphones or computers, can view other players’ Miiverse profile upon sending or receiving chat requests, and has an added Friend List icon on the Wii U menu for easier access to the Friends List feature.

In addition, when using the Internet Browser to watch videos, pressing the R and L Buttons on the Gamepad will skip video playback forwards and backwards, and holding down each shoulder button will help speed up the video footage. Usernames and passwords can be saved for websites that require logging in, and they can be deleted from the Internet Browser settings. The Internet Browser can now be launched while playing games to upload screenshots and view PDF files (though they cannot be saved, and can be displayed incorrectly depending on size). Website developers now have access to tools that allow themselves to set user agents and enable developer tools.

Also, users can finally select sound options through cable outputs such as “TV”, “HDMI cable”, “non-HDMI cable”, or both cables. Other improvements have been made to upgrade stability and user experience.

What an update. For those of you who are itching to fire up your Wii games and project them on your Gamepads, tell us what it’s like when you try it out. Also, for those of you who are planning to use your keyboards and headsets for Miiverse chats, definitely tell us how it’s like on the comment below.


About Andy Na

Andy was a member at Operation Rainfall since the beginning of its campaigning days. Though something of a troublemaker at the time, he now contributes to Operation Rainfall and shares his love for all things gaming and the visual arts. His favorite games include Xenoblade Chronicles, Kid Icarus Uprising, and No More Heroes. Andy currently holds a Bachelors degree in Cinema, which he uses to pursue filmmaking.

  • HPN

    Good short term, backwards thinking solution. Rehash the old instead of new IPs. It’s good for stockholders and the majority of users who just want the same old crap, and it aligns with the rest of their short term goals, i.e. incoming wave of HD remakes. But this will do nothing for their market share, or for the third party publishers fleeing the sinking ship.

    • MegaMan.EXE

      You, sir, must have not seen the trailer for Monolith Soft’s “X”. No new IPs my ass. (Yes, I am putting a lot of hope and faith into just one game).

      Back onto the topic: the updates are pretty nice, but a lot of it should have beenavailable on the wii u’s release.

    • Jeremy Poindexter

      …? Why so serious? This is just a firmware update, not a major game announcement or huge hardware redesign. Anything that enhances the Wii U’s value is a good thing. Besides it’s not like Nintendo’s hardware division is being pulled away from working on Zelda U or whatever new IP Miyamoto’s working on. Not sure this is THAT interesting to get super excited (or disappointed) over anyway. Although I might try playing Skyward Sword on the GamePad screen just for kicks!

    • HPN

      PS4 and Xbox One are launching and this is the response. And like I said, it aligns with their remake, rehash, repeat strategy. It underlines it. I would love to see new first party IP’s. Will I? LOL, no chance in hell. I bought my Wii U for Monster Hunter and Bayonetta. I didn’t expect that those would pretty much be the only games I’d buy the Wii U for. Shame, considering all the great end of cycle Wii titles, Wii will not be seeing the same. I’d be surprised as hell if there were any third party games on the Wii U even 5 years into its lifecycle.

    • Kroisos

      In what world does a firmware update align with remakes? It neither aligns nor fails to align. It has nothing to do with remakes. You sound like someone who has made up his mind and then not only twists the evidence to support himself, but twists non-evidence into being evidence that supports himself. You say that Nintendo pursues re-everything as its strategy, without offering any evidence or reason why we should accept what you are saying. Well, I can think of 101 wonderful reasons to believe that Nintendo still pursues new IP, and I can point to 1 BILLION dollars of sales in TWO days for Grand Theft Auto FIVE as not only proof that everyone relies on sequels, but that it makes very good business sense to.

      People want sequels, and they want new IP. I’m starting to think that they want, say, 70% of games to be familiar brands that they are comfortable with, and 50% to be new experiences they haven’t had before, so when developers hit on a ratio of 60/40, gamers will complain both about their favorite franchises not seeing enough games, and not having enough new titles.

    • Thomas Johnson

      Solution? Stockholders? Market share? 3rd party publishers? This is a firmware update, not a business strategy.

  • multibottler0cket

    Ooohhhh, that’s what I’m downloading right now. Sounds cool!

  • James Best

    Cool. I’ll probably try it out later today after the Nintendo Direct.

  • dbclick

    How about the ability to (at the very least) emulate a classic controller through the GamePad buttons (for games like Xenoblade, Brawl, etc.)?

    Other GamePad control scenarios present themselves as well: Emulate a Wii Remote held sideways on the GamePad (with accelerometer intact for games like NSMBW).
    Emulate a Wii Remote held vertical + Nunchuck with GamePad butons and simulate the pointer data with touchscreen or gyroscope (would work for games that use the Wii Remote as a pointer without depth/rotation, like Ivy the Kiwi?).

    You could also enable customizable bindings for different games, including bindings for particular types of “waggle” on the Wii remote (for example, binding “shake the Nunchuck” and “Shake the remote” to buttons for Twilight Princess). This could make nearly all Wii games playable on the GamePad by itself, and would work wonders for existing Wii Virtual Console games. You could community-source bindings for specific games if desired.

    This obviously wouldn’t work for 100% of games, but would be sufficient for many of them without the huge crutch of having to hold a Wii Remote/Nunchuck and prop up the GamePad.

    Although some credit is due for Nintendo at least having the foresight of having a “Sensor Bar” (IR LEDs on either side of the front-facing camera), built into the GamePad so at least you can play on the GamePad with the Wii Remote without the actual Sensor Bar.