Ten Ways to Make the Wii U Better Than the Wii

There are a lot of good things about the Wii, but there has always been room for improvement. When Nintendo announced their follow-up home console, the Wii U, I made a wish list of what Wii flaws that could be rectified in the next generation. Did Nintendo listen to me? Let's look and see.

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Let Me Own My Purchased Downloadable Games

Wii U eShop
Wii U eShop. Nintendo

Ever buy a game for your Wii, download it and then have your Wii break down? If you have to replace it with a new one, that game is gone. All your WiiWare and Virtual Console games are gone because Nintendo stupidly ties your purchases to your console rather than to you. If I buy a game, Nintendo, give me an account and let me re-download it when I get a new machine.

UPDATE: eShop titles are still tied to the console. On the other hand, since players now have accounts, it is possible to call Nintendo tech support and perhaps get your games back. Grade: C+.

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Get Your Online Ducks In Order


During the GameCube era, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata famously remarked that “gamers don’t want online gaming,” insisting that most gamers didn’t want to bother with the Internet. This wasn’t entirely inaccurate – always-connected broadband was relatively uncommon – but at the least, it lacked prescience. Sony and Microsoft both took online gameplay far more seriously and took over the console online gaming space. Nintendo couldn’t ignore online gaming by the time the Wii game out, but they sure half-assed it.

If Nintendo wants to be taken seriously in the modern gaming age, they need solid online support. Without it, they have no chance of achieving parity with their competitors among core gamers. Making vague statements is not going to be enough.

UPDATE: With a solid eShop, the goofy Miiverse, and the great online-focussed Splatoon, Nintendo has made real strides online, even if they haven't quite caught up with their competitors. Grade: B+

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Play DVDs and MP3s

browse Plex
Browse Plex. plexapp

Nintendo has said that, as with the Wii, the Wii U will not play DVDs. They apparently don’t want to pay the necessary licensing fees. Nintendo’s president says most people already have DVD players. It’s true, I do have a DVD player; It’s called the Xbox 360. The fact is, DVD players are becoming an expected part of a game console and leaving out that capability is the equivalent of Apple putting out their iPhone without MP3 capabilities and saying, “everyone already owns an MP3 player anyway.” Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish guys; pay the license fees and give me a console that does what every other console does.

UPDATE: No change. On the other hand, DVDs are kind of dying out in favor of digital media, so it's less unreasonable on the Wii U than on the Wii. Grade: D-

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Get Rid of the Constant Music at the Main Menu

The Miiverse is Nintendo's system for social interaction. Nintendo

You know one thing I like about having a homebrewed Wii? I can turn off that tingly little music that plays incessantly while the main menu is up. On the Xbox 360 and PS3 you get a little music to announce you’ve turned on your console, and then blessed silence, but Nintendo wants you to never forget that your Wii is on. Learn from your competitors, Nintendo; no one needs their TV to be an electronic wind chime.

UPDATE: No change. Grade: F

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Give Us More of Those Games You Keep for the Japanese Market

Fatal Frame Deep Crimson Butterfly

It's really aggravating when Nintendo withholds really appealing games from the U.S. market. I'm not saying release everything; there are many games whose appeal doesn't extend much beyond the Japanese market, but if you've got a sequel to a popular game, or something by a renowned game designer, just give it to us.

UPDATE: This time around, they gave us the Xenoblade sequel without a fight and a Fatal Frame game after a lot of begging. While there are games that haven't come to North America, the only ones I'd like to see here are Dragon Quest X and Sega's HD revision of the Yakuza games. All in all, Nintendo has been much better at exporting Wii U games, perhaps because the console is starved for content. Grade: B

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Give the Wii Remote a Rechargeable Battery

Wii Remote Plus
Nintendo has folded MotionPlus capabilities into their remote. Nintendo

Making players run through cases of batteries with their Wii remote was an idiotic decision on Nintendo’s part. The new Wii U touchscreen controller will contain a rechargeable battery, but since the Wii U will still works with the old Wii remote (and nunchuk), we need a rechargeable version of that for the new system. Nintendo, quit making your customers blow money on rechargeable remote systems.

UPDATE: Nintendo just kept using the same battery-powered remotes. They did release their own charging system, but it was overpriced. Grade: D

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Make the Nunchuk Wireless

Wii nunchuk

I have whipped myself in the face too many times with the cord that attaches the nunchuk to the remote. How about finally offering a nunchuk that is wireless and, like my proposed Wii remote, rechargeable? Third parties have done it, why not Nintendo?

UPDATE: While the Wii U did support the Wii controller, Nintendo didn't expend any effort in improving those controls. Grade: F

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Get Rid Of Friend Codes

Of the many stupid things Nintendo thought of, friend codes are probably the most moronic. They make the simple act of connecting with a fellow gamer into a painfully tedious and time-consuming chore in which each player has to put in a code and then wait, sometimes for days, for Nintendo to connect them. Nintendo needs a far simpler way for people to connect. While they’re at it, they should also probably fire whoever came up with friend codes to begin with.

UPDATE: Gone, and good riddance. It's still easier to friend people on other platforms, but you can't blame Nintendo for being security conscious with their family-friendly reputation. Grade: A-

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Embrace Open Source Game and App Development

Still Alive Wii

Yeah, it’s not going to happen, but why not open up a way for amateurs to create games and apps for the Wii. Instead of trying to kill homebrew, try giving hackers what they want; the ability to play with your hardware. Then you can make them happy while limiting what they can do. And you might wind up with some really cool stuff for your console.

UPDATE: While homebrew hasn't really hit the Wii U (except in it's inner Wii system), Nintendo has allowed a lot of amateur game designers to hawk their wares on the eShop. That's something. Grade: C+

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Let Me Copy All My Savegames to an SD Card

SD Card

For some inexplicable reason, you can transfer some save games from Wii internal memory to a flash card but not others. So when you get that Wii U and want to transfer your Wii Fit settings to it, forget it. I don’t see any good reason to prevent players from copying their save games, I have no idea why Nintendo even offered developers the option. I saved my game, don’t make me lose all my progress if I get a new console. While there's no way to fix the Wii, Nintendo could at least have a more civilized approach this time around.

UPDATE: You know what? It's never come up, and I have no idea if it's possible. Grade: none