SNES


Here at Ars Technica, we've had some recent personal experience with how Nintendo's DRM schemes can get in the way of using downloadable titles on new hardware. And now, new details about how the Wii U's Virtual Console will interact with previously purchased titles has us wondering.

As announced last week, the Wii U Virtual Console is a completely separate beast from the one on the Wii. It includes new features like independent play on the touchscreen GamePad, customizable controls, and a connection to the Miiverse social forums. If you want these new features on a game you already bought and downloaded on the Wii, you'll have to pay a small upgrade fee: $1 for NES games or $1.50 for SNES games.

All in all, this could be worse. Sure it's a bit galling to pay again for a downloadable game you already own, but at least Nintendo isn't charging the full price of $5 to $9 for previous purchasers. Plus, you do get some new features for your outlay.

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I'll get those Wii U owners an HD Zelda re-release. Wii U owners LOVE HD Zelda re-releases.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata used a direct-to-consumer Web video presentation today to talk about the company's near-future plans for the Wii U. While the presentation included many new details about the system's upcoming features and games, not many of those announcements could be considered very surprising.

On the features front, Iwata promised that the Wii U would be getting two new system updates in the spring and summer. These updates will include improvements to the Wii U's software launch times and faster switching between system menus, Iwata said. Those have been major gripes for Wii U users so far, but our tests found the loading times were actually comparable to launch titles for other systems.

Nintendo will also be bringing some important updates to the surprisingly robust and interesting Miiverse social networking service. These new features include a browser-based mobile interface, user-created community discussion threads, and a more-robust message filtering system, all of which should help make the service even more useful.

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