News Article

Wii U Web Browser Software Specifications Revealed

Posted by Martin Watts

We're caught in Nintendo's web

CVG has revealed a number of details concerning the Wii U's web browser software.

According to the report, the Wii U will run a version of NetFront browser (NX v2.1), and will work on both the TV and GamePad screen, as previously demoed.

As with most home systems, it will not be possible to download or upload videos and pictures. Moreover, the browser will not support any plug-ins, although HTML 5 has been confirmed. Recent benchmark results have shown that it significantly outperforms current consoles and even Internet Explorer 10 on PC in this area. AAC codecs for sound and H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) and MP4 video will also be supported.

The most interesting revelation, however, is the browser's multitasking capability. It will be possible to pause a game, launch the browser and then come back to the game where you left off. It's reassuring to know that you'll all be able to view Nintendo Life, even when you're busy playing!

Do you think the Wii U browser will become a regular and useful application when using the system? Are you happy with the software's specifications? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.


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User Comments (47)



JHardin1112 said:

I can see myself pausing a game, going to check out a site, and then coming back to the game. Oh and I would definitely check out Nintendo Life and NintendoFuse on the browser.



Kagamine said:

Not to excited for this honestly. I probably wont use it much. If i want to look something up or check something online while playing, i'll just use my phone, my tablet, or my laptop. Really nothing exciting here for me.



19Robb92 said:

I've been expecting this from the get-go, I mean even the 3DS can multitask like that. I'll most likely use this feature just like on the 3DS where I go to check hints etc. on the web if I get stuck mid-game.

Unless this turns out to be very easy and simple to use browser I can't see myself using it much.



SpaceKappa said:

The ability to pause a game, open the browser, then go back into the game is awesome. It'll definitely come in handy when stuck in a game or trying to find all the heart pieces in the next Zelda!



Haxonberik said:

Itll be great if it runs youtube for walkthroughts, does anyone knows based on the specs if it will?



Klunk23 said:

This sounds like it will a really awesome browser. The multitasking really will make things easier. I can suspend if I'm stuck on a game, look up a guide, then continue playing. I know the 3ds could do, but on the wii u it will really cool. At least I think it will.



DarkNinja9 said:

to me the lack of not being able to watch videos still annoys me maybe like walkthroughts and such -.- even a funny youtube vid would be nice



GameLord08 said:

YouTube was confirmed to be included on the Wii U at E3 2012, so relax everybody. Whether it's included in Nintendo TVii or as a separate app on its own I'm unsure of, but it's there.



nocode said:

Forget the no flash thing... I really hope an on-screen keyboard appears on the controller's touch screen whenever you have to type in the browser. If not, I'll never use this. Scrolling through the entire alphabet to spell out a word is always the worst part of console browsers.



GameLord08 said:

@rogerwilco: From what I've heard, the GamePad's touchscreen will be used as an on-screen keyboard. So, I doubt we have much to worry about in that respect.



New_3DaSh_XL said:

This is great! I'm so glad Nintendo's doing this! I'll make sure to check out NL on my Wii U, to start battles and such!



Wheels2050 said:

While I'll never understand the desire to browse the net on a game console, I guess this is good.



McHaggis said:

To be honest, I'm not too impressed by this. Recent versions of Netfront use WebKit as the rendering engine, which powers Chrome, Safari and a number of other browsers, so I think it's relatively disappointing that it didn't score higher.

'As with most home systems, it will not be possible to download or upload videos and pictures.'

Yet the 3DS can upload and download photos just fine. I guess those who want to share images saved from games will have to do a lot of SD card swapping.

I feel more likely to use this browser than I did the Wii or PS3's, though, as you can multi-task with it.



Sam_Loser2 said:

My computer doesn't like youtube, so I'd use the Wii U for that. The multi-tasking thing isn't a big surprise. You can do the exact same thing on the 3DS's cough pathetic cough browser. (no offense)



rjejr said:

But what does it look like? The Wii browser is rather useless and the 3DS browser is just as bad.
The PS3 browser is pretty bad but I can read all the annoyed blog posts while waiting for the store to update each Tuesday. (Don't think I've ever viewed NL on it but now I feel compelled to try.)
My iPod Touch browser worked great for any website that had a mobile edition but I was on NL often as well.
My Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7" - which has a screen only slightly bigger than the Gamepad but a low resolution compared to most other 7" tablets, though comparable to the iPad mini for some strange reason - launches all the browser websites in full mode but Chrome and Dolphin work just like PC browsers, though I occasionally need to stretch.
I don't recall the Gamepad resolution, and I know stretching is probably out of the question since it's not multi-touch but a zoom button would be nice, but that screen should still be large enough for a good browsing experience. I just hope we get one.



Auracle said:

This sounds very useful. It'll save me the trouble of getting up and going to the computer to look game info up when I'm in the middle of said game.



craigmoss19 said:

To all of these people that seem to think that they won't be able to watch youtube videos, if you use a HTML 5 web browser without Flash and go to youtube then it will load the HTML 5 player as opposed to the Flash player so you can still watch the videos.



Hokori said:

Sweet! Less the 2 weeks and I'll have no need for my iPad, it's been clunky latley...



aaronsullivan said:

Right. YouTube was one of the first sites to support HTML 5 and H.264 video as an option for all their videos and almost all major sites do, as well. Most new smart phones and tablets don't support Flash anymore. It's not really worth the headache.

Tablet browsing is VERY comfortable and makes desk browsing feel like work. Being able to share stuff on a TV while browsing is a great experience. Touchscreen keyboard, great! I do wonder how much effort there will be to make the on-Gamepad browsing experience work (easy zooming in and out, nice adaptive keyboard, etc. like a good tablet). Oh, look! The screenshot shows a nice zoomed in section of the browser. Probably a double-tap on a non-link area gets it to zoom to the section as started by the iPhone. That'll be nice.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@McHaggis Name one console browser that outperforms the PC equivalents. It's not going to happen since the browser is never really considered an "essential" component by console makers; it's there because it's considered standard now.

As someone pointed out before though, outperforming IE is not really an accomplishment when everything outperforms IE.

Also, I doubt that it won't be able to upload and download pictures. It probably doesn't do it from the browser. I'd say the built in MiiVerse probably does it already considering its social emphasis.



bezerker99 said:

You know, you can pause a 3DS game by going into the Home screen, access the Internet Browser, browse some, and then come back to your game! Good to see Wii U can handle this marvel of ingenuity as well.



Wonder_Ideal said:

I can see how this might be useful. I'm not sure how much I would use it, but I'll just have to wait and find out for myself.



alLabouTandroiD said:

I guess there goes my dream of being able to watch live streams with the Wii U.
Ah well, gotta be glad about any use of a browser that's not on a PC i guess.
If it can't do any more than the 3DS browser it would be a bit of a letdown but it might still replace using the 3DS for comfy bed surfing then.



DreamOn said:

Very occasionally throwing a web page up on the big screen would be nice.



Neram said:

As long as it's fast enough where quickly looking up a game guide or something doesn't become a chore. I don't mind the 3DS browser, but the low resolution of the screens require a lot of zooming, and it doesn't seem to be quite fast enough to keep up with me, so it feels rather clunky for the most part. If the Wii U browser doesn't suffer from any clunkiness then I'll most definitely be using it to look up information about the game I'm playing, or to check Nintendo Life of course.



KAHN said:

"Recent benchmark results have shown that it significantly outperforms current consoles and even Internet Explorer 10 on PC in this area"
this made me laugh.



SMW said:

Too bad you can't save pictures. Not that big of a deal, but it would have been nice. Anyone remember saving and importing pictures into Jet Grind Radio on the Dreamcast? That was cool.



grimbldoo said:

Martih Watts wrote:

and even Internet Explorer 10

Seamonkey outperforms IE10.

Martin Watts wrote:

The most interesting revelation, however, is the browser's multitasking capability. It will be possible to pause a game, launch the browser and then come back to the game where you left off. It's reassuring to know that you'll all be able to view Nintendo Life, even when you're busy playing!

Cool, just like the 3DS.



WaxxyOne said:

It'd be cool if you could optionally view the browser just on the gamepad screen while you're playing a game. Obviously it'd still need to pause, in case the game requires the controller screen for some other use, but this way you could pause the game at a location you can't seem to get through and pull up GameFAQs on the pad without leaving the game screen, so you can easily see what the FAQ is talking about. For backwards-compatible games that don't use the screen, this could potentially even be used to let someone browse while you're playing an unrelated game on the screen! (Doubt they'll do it, but it would be quite cool)

Naturally, as I have done with my 3DS on many occassions, I will be using this multitasking feature to pull up the NintendoLife review page for a game when I see something interesting on the eShop.



luminalace said:

I use my 3DS browser quite a lot just because I'm lazy and like browsing from my couch! This Wii U browser will come in handy for me but without flash, can videos from youtube be watchable on this?



kyoya said:

i don't know why it says it can watch video if it does that on the trailer i hope that they update it to watch videos in the future

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