Nintendo Wii U To Launch Virtual Console Service This Spring

Classic Nintendo library to be added to next-generation console.

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Legendary video game Nintendo (PINK: NTDOY) is launching its Virtual Console for its newly minted next-generation gaming hardware, the Wii U.

Designed to run popular Nintendo titles of yore, including classic releases from the “Super Mario Bros.” or “The Legend of Zelda” franchises, the Nintendo Virtual Console is basically an emulator for outmoded software to mimic the original hardware on which it was meant to run.

At a press conference held in New York City Thursday morning, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said the feature will be installed on all Wii Us come springtime through an update users will have to download to their home consoles.

Redesigned to be compatible specifically with the Wii U’s hardware and unique touch-screen controller known as the “GamePad,” the Virtual Console will come with a handful of titles from the original 1983 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and its next-generation counterpart, 1990’s Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), although Iwata added that the company hopes to add titles from its series of Game Boy mobile consoles as well. The games will also be compatible with the Miiverse, a social network Nintendo developed for its latest console.

Nintendo offered a similar virtual console feature with the original Wii console, and the company noted that any NES and SNES Virtual Console games will cost the same ($4.99-$5.99 and $7.99-$8.99, respectively) on the Wii U. Despite the cross-compatibility of many Wii games with Nintendo’s new console, the company is making users pay a smaller fee ($1 for NES games and $1.50 for SNES titles) than the Nintendo store retail price to download virtual console games they already own on the original Wii.

Along with the virtual console, Nintendo said that it is planning to add video on-demand services for the Wii U across Europe. Iwata also promised that the spring update will include several software updates to improve the long load-times and an improved Wii U menu -- two features that were harshly received by critics when the console first launched.

"We are going to improve it," said Iwata. "In two stages. One in spring, and again summer."

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