The Wii U virtual console is not just a ROM dump
One of biggest complaints we get here at Wii U Daily in both the comments and emails are people asking why the entirety of the Wii virtual console, as well as Gamecube games aren’t instantly available on the Wii U virtual console. Many people believe because the game is already made, it’s a simple rom dump for Nintendo to get the game functioning on the Wii U. There’s actually a detailed process that must be done in order to get a game ready for Wii U virtual console.
- The game must run properly on the TV and GamePad simultaneously without any lag. Even PC emulators fail to run roms of SNES games at 100%.
- Miiverse implementation for each game must be completed.
- Community for each game must be completed.
Because of this process third party partners appear to be a bit more selective of what games are released on the virtual console at first. Many of you have been asking why Capcom won’t port some of its more popular Mega Man titles and this is likely why. While Mega Man was the first Capcom title released on the Wii U virtual console, Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts followed quickly after, most likely because of how popular the title is with hardcore retro gamers.
Another issue with the current version of the Wii U virtual console is that it takes up equal space with other offerings in the Nintendo eShop. Instead of being a separate category like it was on the Wii, Nintendo has chosen to feature these games alongside their own retail games, indie downloadable titles and demos. It’s a terrible way to present the eShop, as now virtual console titles are competing with new games.
Because of this organization scheme, Nintendo will likely continue the trickle releases we’ve seen for the past few months. They don’t want to release 20+ virtual console games and have them all fill up the Nintendo eShop front page, so two or three a week are released in order to appease the masses. If Nintendo actually separated the eShop accordingly, this would be less of a problem.
The lack of adoption for the Wii U also leads to slower virtual console releases. There is less of an audience than the Wii had, so third party virtual console supporters who maybe didn’t make much from the Wii last-gen will not be as eager to support the Wii U virtual console this generation. Nintendo itself has less incentive to release these titles any faster or with any more frequency, since the current install base is seeking the most popular Nintendo titles.
That’s why we’ve seen core releases such as Super Metroid, the original Mario trilogy on NES, F-Zero and Kirby games. They’re some of Nintendo’s strongest first party franchises from days past. That’s why Earthbound is finally coming to the Wii U virtual console, as fans spoke loudly and Nintendo finally listened, securing the licensing to re-release the game.
How can it be fixed?
Nintendo should address all of these problems before the Wii U begins to pick up pace. Their Wii U virtual console release schedule should be more robust, but it should also be divided up as the Wii virtual console was separate from WiiWare releases. New games shouldn’t have to compete with old games and vice versa, as it will lead to problems down the road.
Currently Wii U virtual console releases aren’t searchable by their release console, either. Before Gamecube games are added to the roster of Wii U virtual console titles, this is something that should be mandatory. If I feel the need to play Majora’s Mask and want to see what other Nintendo 64 titles are available, I should be presented with a clear list, very similar to how the Wii virtual console operated.
In some regards, the Wii U virtual console has been a step down from what was available on the Wii. As the Wii U is supposed to be the successor for the Wii, this feels wrong and is definitely something Nintendo should correct. Hopefully these problems will be addressed soon so that the Wii U virtual console can begin to take off and we’ll continue to see quality indie game releases on Wii U.