News Article

Wii U GamePad Will Not Have Backward Compatibility

Posted by Orla Madden

Not just yet, anyway...

We've already argued that backwards compatibility is an important aspect when purchasing a console, and Wii U is no different.

The latest Nintendo Direct provides us with new infomation on playing previous software titles — including WiiWare and Virtual Console — and how they will not be playable on the Wii U GamePad, only on the TV in Wii Mode. For those hoping to play some conventionally controlled games — particularly those from the VC — on the new controller, this may be disappointing. Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata stated that at the present time, Nintendo can't satisfy gamer's desires to play their transferred Wii Shop catalogue on the new controller; you should keep those Wii Remotes, Nunchuks and Classic Controllers handy.

However, Iwata did mention that there are plans for a Wii U Virtual Console that will be compatible with the Wii U GamePad in the future. What do you make of this news: is it a surprise, or was it to be expected?

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User Comments (71)

19Robb92

#2

19Robb92 said:

Yeah, expected. But still kind of sad, I would have loved to play my old titles on the GamePad.

Taceus

#3

Taceus said:

A little disappointing but not unexpected. I'm happy just being able to play all my WW and VC on it.

GameLord08

#5

GameLord08 said:

Expected. Wasn't getting my hopes up for it to appear at launch, what with pretty much everything that's been integrated for the console. Still, it's good to hear we'll be seeing little updates like this in the future - Nintendo's done a pretty good job so far.

Silvervisiona

#6

Silvervisiona said:

The internal Wii hardware chipset is completely separate from the Wii U display system chipset. It would have been nice for the display output for TV and Gamepad to be used interchangeably, but I guess they couldn't perform a crossover between Wii and Wii U systems to get it done. It's probably saving them money, and no harm done.

PeterW77

#7

PeterW77 said:

I'm hoping that the Wii U virtual console will allow you to transfer your Wii virtual games over in the eShop.

Peppy_Hare

#9

Peppy_Hare said:

What! So they'll be two tiers of VC games: those original VC games not playable on the gamepad and new VC games that are? Is Nintendo expecting me to reinvest in VC games that I've already purchased just for the privilege of playing them properly on the gamepad?!

Cipher

#10

Cipher said:

@Peppy_Hare No, I think you're misunderstanding. Games from the Wii Virtual Console won't be playable on the GamePad. Games from the Wii U Virtual Console will be. Two completely different sets of games - Wii VC is everything currently on the Wii Shop Channel, Wii U VC will be stuff you can only buy on Nintendo eShop.

ajcismo

#12

ajcismo said:

Pretty much expected this. No big deal. If I have to play some old Wii VC that badly without a tv, then I probably have something else around the house that needs to be done instead.

warvad

#13

warvad said:

Just shows how lazy Nintendo is. I can't believe you can't use Wii mode on the Gamepad.

Peppy_Hare

#14

Peppy_Hare said:

@Cipher thanks for the response but that's what I'm saying too. Two tiers (catalogues) of VC games: one playable on gamepad, one not. My old VC downloads playable, but defunct, and not playable on the gamepad. Nintendo is strong-arming us to repurchase VC games for the privilege of gamepad support. It's infuriating!

Kirk

#16

Kirk said:

I find this kind of news massively disappointing and off-putting. It's all these little issues that have stopped me seriously considering buying a Wii U so far (there's more than just this most recent revelation). They have this perfectly suited GamePad but for reasons that seem absolutely inexplicable they won't let us use it to play old WiiWare and VC games when it would be absolutely perfect for them.

Cipher

#17

Cipher said:

@Peppy_Hare No, you can't repurchase VC games. Please don't forget that the Wii Shop Channel will still be accessible on Wii U via the Wii Mode - thus, Wii Virtual Console games purchased in the Wii Shop Channel cannot be purchased from Nintendo eShop because they won't be there at all. If you want to buy the likes of NES, SNES, N64 games and so on, you still have to get them from the Wii Shop Channel, and they will remain unplayable on the GamePad. The same applies to any new games released for these systems after Wii U launches. Wii U VC will only consist of systems not on the Wii Shop Channel, so presumably the likes of GameCube.

Jon2

#19

Jon2 said:

This is a massive disappointment for me. This was the main reason I wanted a Wii U, to be able to play all my VC games where I wanted (and I have a lot of them). Guess I will stick to my Wii and my 360.

antonvaltaz

#20

antonvaltaz said:

@Cipher "Wii U VC will only consist of systems not on the Wii Shop Channel, so presumably the likes of GameCube."

Is that actually confirmed in the video, or are you assuming this? That seems... surprising.

antonvaltaz

#21

antonvaltaz said:

Also, while it is clear that Wii VC games cannot be played on the GamePad screen, is it possible to use the GamePad as a controller for Wii VC games on the TV? (i.e. for it to be recognised by the game as a Wii Classic Controller)?

Cipher

#22

Cipher said:

@antonvaltaz The official Wii U website for Japan says the Wii Shop Channel will still be available on Wii U via the Wii U Mode, so that much is fact. Iwata confirms in the video that Wii U Virtual Console games will soon come to Nintendo eShop and will be playable on the GamePad, so that's also fact. I grant you that, while I am assuming there'll be two separate pools of VC games, that's a pretty safe assumption to make. It's very, very unlikely that any games from the Wii Shop Channel will be reissued on Nintendo eShop. It really wouldn't make sense for Nintendo to do that as it could well cause confusion among buyers.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to use the GamePad to control Wii VC games - these games have to be played in Wii Mode, in which the GamePad is automatically turned off. You'll still be able to use all Wii accessories though, including the Wii Remote and Classic Controller. :)

Urbanhispanic

#23

Urbanhispanic said:

I can wait for them to introduce Wii U VC as long as when they do, we can play those games on the controller. You might as well make the most of that screen on it to begin with. :P

At least the other controllers that can be used for the Wii will still be of use.

Ren

#24

Ren said:

would be no confusion if re-released games could see the games on the system and allow to re-download the WiiU version. no re-paying, viola! On the WiiU screen? Oh, but that would take years of market research for Nintendo to figure out that consumers want robust, working online content that UTILIZES the single unique selling point of this doorstopU; why bother, it's not relevant, just make more Mario games! So what is this gamepad for again? a remote control for browsing movies? instantly checking my 'life' meter in all those difficult Mii games? WiiU, disappointed Mii.

shinpichu

#25

shinpichu said:

Boooooooo. I understand not having it work for Wii games, but not working for my VC games? Lame.

Token_Girl

#26

Token_Girl said:

This is obnoxious. You know they're not going to give up the free money selling the orignal Super Mario Bros. brings. The Wii VC will be on the WiiU VC at some point (and I'm sure you'll be able to access the entire Wiishop from the eShop on WiiU like you can access DSiWare on the 3DS.

I can totally get not having the option available at launch, but I hope these games can be updated for free (or in bulk for a very small cost - $1/game or less). The VC games were overpriced to begin with compared to same-gen games ported to the PS3 shop (Sega is the easiest way to compare here). I'm definitely not buying Mario again every generation, though the older games are so perfectly suited for gamepad only play it hurts. I would be able to play so many more (read: justify BUYING many more, Nintendo), if I could play them while my BF watches TV.

Well, I know what request I'll be crowbaring into every Club Nintendo Survey I take now.

Whopper744

#27

Whopper744 said:

Expected it...unfortunately. Not a huge deal, but kind of wish this was available from the start.

GamecubeMan

#28

GamecubeMan said:

What a shame, its seems Nintendo is making a habit of releasing new console when they are not 100% ready.
Well at least we will get it as an update....... so I can play the original Super Mario on the gamepad

LavaTwilight

#29

LavaTwilight said:

I can't imagine how much more difficult it is to allow the games to be played on the gamepad... surely the cost of implementing such a feature would be considerably minimal? Either way, it makes little to no choice. If someone wanted to watch the baseball whilst playing OLD Super Mario Bros, yer jus gona have to pause and wait for them to strike out (or turn it off and get some air).

Burning_Spear

#30

Burning_Spear said:

Typically, the focus is on what the product DOES NOT have, rather than what it does have. This must be laziness, right? It can't possibly be a matter of having to re-map the controls for hundreds of games. We all know that for sure. Iwata just said, Nah, don't bother. This is no different than your Wii going into GameCube mode or your 3DS going into DS mode to play the prior console's games. Just so no one is disappointed when this is discovered: It can't control your garage door either.

seronja

#32

seronja said:

I expected that would happen... no problem i still have a wii remote plus + nunchuck + classic controler pro so i'm fine with that

Wonder_Ideal

#33

Wonder_Ideal said:

I guess that's too bad, but they plan on fixing that in the future. I've only got Mario Tennis and Majora's Mask on my Wii so the change won't be that bad.

TrueWiiMaster

#34

TrueWiiMaster said:

I wouldn't really call this a backwards compatibility problem. The Wii U is 100% backwards compatible with the Wii. Being unable to use Wii U features on Wii games is completely understandable. That said, I don't consider VC games Wii games, and I'm pretty disappointed that I won't be playing Super Mario World or Donkey Kong Country on the Gamepad. I'm glad they have plans for that in the future, but if they try to make me buy the game again to get such a feature, they can count me out. the only way I'll re-buy any VC game is if it had actual improvements, and even then I'll only buy my absolute favorites.

Also, does this mean the Wii shop won't be accessible on the Wii U? I mean, I know it'll be the eshop on there, but will we or will we not be able to buy WiiWare and VC titles released on the Wii?

retro_player_22

#35

retro_player_22 said:

Will at least with this the Wii accessories and controllers are still useful until Nintendo made it possible.

Linkstrikesback

#36

Linkstrikesback said:

I will be severely dissapointed in Nintendo if they serious want people to buy the same games on VC again. There is no way I'm paying again for virtual console games I already bought on wii, just to use the gamepad.once I transfer over.

Ryno

#37

Ryno said:

@Burning_Spear: "Typically, the focus is on what the product DOES NOT have, rather than what it does have. This must be laziness, right?"
Well said!

The Wii U is a new console. Why do you demand that a new system must play a previous consoles games? Consumers nowadays have an insatiable appetite.

Rapadash6

#39

Rapadash6 said:

Not surprised at all. Ever sinse Wii U was announced I'd been racking my brain trying to figure out how Nintendo would even go about updating VC titles on newer hardware. Turns out the most obvious answer was the correct one, and that was that they wouldn't bother.

It's hard to complain though, because we are still able to keep what we've paid for, but this does give Nintendo reason to charge us again for the same games. With the original Virtual Console, I wanted to build this awesome library of retro games, and barring some notable absenses, I did that for the most part, but I will not pay again for all those games. I may be willing to plunk down for games like Super Metroid or Super Mario 64, because I'd love to be able to play those both in 1080p and on the gamepad, but the must haves only represent a fraction of my VC collection, and I can't help but feel a bit burned by Nintendo in all this nonsense.

cyrus_zuo

#40

cyrus_zuo said:

Disappointing.
...and I wish the WiiU Gamepad would play Wii games (Xenoblade on the pad would be wonderful).

FonistofCruxis

#41

FonistofCruxis said:

This is disappointing but I'm not that bothered by it. The Wii U VC will probably have GC games and I hope it adds other consoles like Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, Sega CD and 32x for Sonic CD and Knuckles chaotix as well as arcade games from the 90's and 2000's.

Zombie_Barioth

#42

Zombie_Barioth said:

Not surprised but it doesn't bother me neither, besides at least its still an option for the Wii U VC. Rome wasn't built in a day after all.

ultraraichu

#43

ultraraichu said:

Not surprised since I have expected that in the first place but the Wii U VC did catch me off guard a bit.

Emaan

#45

Emaan said:

This is a little disappointing. I was hoping I could play my Virtual Console games on the GamePad rather than on a big HD TV. I wonder how the games will show up on big TV's, as my Wii was on a small CRTV. :O

strenny

#47

strenny said:

I'll wait one or two years until my Wii retires. Then i assume there will either be a couple of new eshop vc games or a way to re download my library with gamepad support. I fear that soft modding will also offer a solution...

TheN64Dude

#48

TheN64Dude said:

THIS MAKE'S NO SENSE! They CAN satisfy are need. It's because Nintendo is the laziest game company ever nowadays that they can't get off their lazy butts and change it. The Wii U game pad's button mapping is EXACTLY the same as Classic Controller you dope's. They just CHOOSE not to have Voice chat, or Acheivements, or DVD, or Backward's compatibility BECAUSE THEY ARE LAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Moshugan

#49

Moshugan said:

Well, it's understandable, in concidering the technical side, but I was totally hyped about playing VC on the GamePad.
I'm glad they're looking to releasing a Wii U version of the VC. But I fear that we'll have to buy the games again if we want the Wii U versions... It would be totally radical and awesome if Nintendo were kind enough to provide free Wii U combatibility updates to VC game owners.

DerpSandwich

#50

DerpSandwich said:

Even if we can't play the games on the Gamepad screen, I want to at least be able to use it as a controller. (I simply refuse to play SSBB with a Wiimote and nunchuck.)

DestinyMan

#51

DestinyMan said:

It's not really surprising, but it would've been nice if it was possible. Still, the Wii U VC will support it at least, so the inevitable Gamecube games will be played on the GamePad.

It's likely that the VC games on the Wii will be available again on the Wii U eshop. The 3DS eshop has almost the entire DSiWare library on it, so almost all of the Wii VC and WiiWare will be on the Wii U. Unless for a few of my favorites, I wouldn't be keen to buy my whole Wii VC collection again.

Ristar42

#53

Ristar42 said:

Suggests the PAL VC will remain 50Hz, not good considering some VC games require switching to a SCART / AV cable in order to get them to display at all on the PAL Wii. I wonder how this will work with Wii U.

Was hoping the shift to Wii U would provide the oppertunity for Nintendo to add a 60Hz display option. At least the NES games on 3DS run at the correct speed.

SirSmugleaf

#54

SirSmugleaf said:

I'm looking forward to when VC games work on the gamepad. I can't wait to relax with Ocarina of Time in my bed!

eviLaTtenDant

#56

eviLaTtenDant said:

The GamePad would at least have been great for SNES games and WiiWare that supports the Classic Controller.
I agree that it's not a major point at launch but somewhere down the road i'd sure like to see all VC games and as many as possible WiiWare games without motion controls running on the GamePad.

aaronsullivan

#60

aaronsullivan said:

Look, it would be preferable if you could play every Wii game VC or otherwise right on the GamePad. Switching to Wii mode, like was done with Gamecube is not as nice. I'd also like the Wii games to play in hi-res. I'd like continued Gamecube support, too.

For those that think it would be easy to implement. Can you tell me what features you'd like to compromise or give up in order to make it happen? Because that's how it works. :) These things are being sold at a loss in a time when Nintendo is already bleeding money. You don't just pull new features out of thin air. They take planning, research and development and testing.

Right now, I like the choices Nintendo made for the most part. Will take awhile to decide if it made the wrong decisions.

WaxxyOne

#63

WaxxyOne said:

Ugh. Dumb dumb dumb. I want this pad compatible with all VC and Wii games so you can play anything not made specifically for the Wii U (and its two screens) on the gamepad by itself. It just makes sense. Doesn't the thing even have a built-in sensor bar for pointing a Wii remote at it? Totally a missed opportunity if they don't rectify this soon.

DarkEdi

#67

DarkEdi said:

It could be a good option launch an USB adapter to use the GC controllers in the Wii U

JebbyDeringer

#69

JebbyDeringer said:

The Wii U is a complicated set of rules. I think most people will be disappointed they can't play the VC games without a TV.

Neram

#70

Neram said:

Oh man, that's so typically Nintendo. "No you cannot do this... But it might come later." With absolutely no explanation why. Damn, this was one of the features I was hoping for most, playing VC games on the GamePad. Can you at least just use the buttons? Can you use the Pro Controller? Oh, please don't tell me I have to use the Classic Controller again...

Dauntless

#71

Dauntless said:

Another case of Nintendon't. Not surprised. Nintendo really needed to pay someone to actually do proper backwards compatibility. This is getting ridicules. You need a Tablet controller, Wii U Pro controller, Wiimote, Nunchuck, and Classic Controller Pro to be able to play everything. That is just for one person. You would need more for other players.

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