Wii U FAQ Reveals New Info; Thoughts Inside

As of midway through yesterday, Nintendo’s Japanese site was updated with a question and answer page meant to answer everyone’s questions about the Wii U.  But while the original was in Japanese only, some kind anonymous person online has translated the entire page to English, meaning we can all see what kind of interesting facts and information is written there about the console.  So here’s the full FAQ, along with my thoughts on each point made:

Wii U Hardware Questions

Does the Wii U support HD (High Definition)?

Yes, HD is supported. Wii software is only in SD (Standard Definition). When the Wii S-terminal cable or Wii AV cable are connected, Wii U software can also be displayed in SD.

Is anything needed other than what’s included in the hardware sets?

Depending upon the game software, the Wii Remote Plus (Wii Remote), Nunchuk, Sensor Bar, or other accessories may be required. Please see the home page for each title for details. Wii owners may continue to use their Wii Remote Plus (Wii Remote), Nunchuk, Sensor Bar, and other accessories on the Wii U. Those without a Wii can purchase the “Wii Remote Plus Add-on Pack” sold separately.

These are fairly obvious, so not much more needs to be said.

Can the Sensor Bar built into the Wii U GamePad be used instead of a standard Sensor Bar?

It cannot. The Sensor Bar in the GamePad is for use only in software specifically built to make use of it, of which there are none as of December 8th, 2012 (launch date in Japan).

So the Wii U Game Pad does have a sensor bar that software can make use of, yet no launch titles use it any shape or form?  Interesting that, perhaps a bit of wasted potential there.

What are the differences between the Premium and Basic Sets?

The amount of internal storage memory for downloadable games and the system color are different.

Premium Set: 32 GB internal storage memory, system color in black only
Basic Set: 8 GB internal storage memory, system color in white only
Some software/offers/accessories are also included only in the Premium Set. See the home page for details (JP, NA, EU).

Yes, I’m sure we all know about the different Wii U sets you can buy now.  Can’t really add much here, people generally do know all about these sets and the way the question was answered leaves nothing much open for discussion.

How many titles can the Premium and Basic Sets store in their internal storage memory?

The size of software titles will vary, so it’s difficult to give a concrete answer. Please refer to the software size in the Nintendo eShop before purchasing. If there is insufficient internal storage memory, an external USB storage device can be connected to expand upon the internal storage memory. SD cards cannot be used to expand upon the internal storage memory. Details on USB devices confirmed to work will be posted in the following days.

Again, fairly obvious.  I guess you could say it provides hope for those with only the basic set due to either lack of money or other issues, since that 8GB provided is probably going to be used up after just ten or so games downloaded.

Is it possible to copy or move software between the internal storage memory and an external USB storage device?

It is possible to move, but not to copy. For details, please select Data Management from the System Settings in the Wii U menu.

 About Backwards Compatability

Can the Wii U play Wii or GameCube software?

Wii software, Wii Virtual Console software, and WiiWare can be played from the Wii Menu on the Wii U. GameCube software is not supported.

Now the backwards compatibility stuff.  We know all of this already, but either way it looks like Gamecube games coming to the Wii U eShop is going to be inevitable at some time, likely sooner rather than later.

Can Wii U software be played on the Wii?


Hopefully this should stop certain people like those complaining about not being able to play Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask on a DSi.  Bet it doesn’t though, people never seem to read FAQs on official websites…

Can WiiWare or Wii Virtual Console software be purchased and downloaded on the Wii U?

Yes. They can be purchased by accessing the Wii Shopping Channel in the Wii Menu on the Wii U.

Good to know.  Nice we won’t have to buy all our downloaded games again from another shop system.

Can the Wii U GamePad be used to play Wii software?

No. The Wii U GamePad functionality is not available when using the Wii Menu.

Well, this was obviously going to be the case, but I do think this was a bad decision on Nintendo’s part anyway. Heck, regardless of how difficult and strange it’d be, I’d love to play the likes of Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros Brawl and Mario Kart Wii on the Game Pad as someone watches TV!  Especially if you got to use a gyro sensor in the device as a Wii motion control equivalent, it’d almost be like a one screen 3DS then!

Can I use all the functionality of the Wii when using the Wii Menu to play Wii software?

Most Wii software can be played, but WiiConnect24, among a few other functions, cannot be used.

I’m a tad worried about this point though.  What other functions can’t be used?  Hopefully online multiplayer in Wii games is still possible on the Wii U.


Can children play the Wii U? (Are there any usage advisories?)

Children can play the Wii U, but several settings must be set when first powering on the device after purchase. Among these are parental controls that must be set by a parent or guardian when children are to use the Wii U.

This is misleading as far as I know, there’s no ‘requirement’ you must set parental control settings.

And honestly, I don’t know a single family who actually uses them for any device, games console or not.  I’d bet anything a good 80% of teens and preteens with an xBox 360 (or PS3, or  Wii, the games are multiformat anyway) probably play games like Call of Duty on it.

What are the Parental Settings?

Depending upon the child, ratings system-based age limits and other usage restrictions can be put in place. See below for details.

Nice to know these options exist, but I’d love to find out what the usage stats for them are.  I mean, most kids today probably know more about tech than their parents and guardians do.  With so many people unable to even setup a DVD player (or in some cases, set a computer desktop background), the chances they’ll figure out what the parental controls do is probably about nil.

Can a Wii U purchased in Japan play software from abroad, and vice-versa?

No. A Wii U system purchased in one region can only play games for that market.

This annoys me though.  Why does region locking even exist any more?  I’ve honestly thought someone should take the matter to court, maybe if the laws are changed then companies will have to drop it or else.  Hey, it apparently worked in Australia for some things…

Wii Data Transfer

Can WiiWare, Wii Virtual Console software, other downloads, save data, registered Wii Points, and so on be transferred to the Wii U?

Yes. By doing a Software and Data Transfer, WiiWare, Wii Virtual console software, and other downloads will be made available through the Wii Menu on the Wii U. See the home page for details (JP).

Nice to know, seems the process is similar to going from a DSi to a 3DS.

Can Mii characters from the Wii or 3DS be transferred to the Wii U?

Yes. Mii characters on the 3DS can be imported directly into the Mii Studio on the Wii U via QR Code or wireless transmission. Mii characters on the Wii can be imported into the Mii Channel in the Wii Menu. After that, Mii characters can be copied from the Mii Channel using a feature in the Wii U’s Mii Studio.

Seems self explanatory, it’s just like how Miis work on the 3DS.

What is required to transfer from the Wii to the Wii U?

The following is required: 1 TV (having 2 is convenient), the Wii U to transfer to, the Wii to transfer from, an SD Card (512 MB and larger), and an Internet connection. Even with only 1 TV, TV input can be switched back and forth to facilitate the transfer.

Built-in Software

About Miiverse

Do all software titles support Miiverse?

All software titles support Miiverse, with a few exceptions among the built-in software.

Among the built in software?  Does that mean except the Mii Studio/Mii Maker?  Or is there other built in software we don’t know about?

Is using Miiverse required to just play the games?

No, there is no requirement to use Miiverse.

This was obviously going to be the case, Nintendo would be comitting business suicide if they were to force people to use Miiverse to just play games.

What kind of things can be posted?

Game screenshots, keyboard text entry up to 100 characters, and hand-drawn messages can be posted.

Can foreign communities be viewed?

Foreign communities can be viewed and posted to.

Now this seems pretty neat.  You can view foreign communities and interact with them in Miiverse.  Presumably that means if a game is out in other regions, you can see what players from those areas have to say about it too?

About the Nintendo eShop

What does the Nintendo eShop on the Wii U offer?

The eShop offers game preview trailers, free demo downloads, Wii U game software download purchases, and so on. See the home page for details (JP, NA).

It’s just like the 3DS eShop in other words.

Where are downloadable software purchases stored?

Downloads can be stored either to the internal storage memory or to an external USB storage device. Saving to an SD Card is not supported.

What should be done when there is insufficient remaining space in the Wii U internal storage memory to download a new game?

Please increase the amount of available space by deleting unneeded data from the system’s Data Management menu. Otherwise, use an external USB storage device to increase the amount of available space.

Can downloadable software stored on an external USB storage device be played on another Wii U system?

No. A given external USB storage device can be used with one Wii U system.

I have to wonder why no company has tried to change this as well.  I mean, why not treat downloads like real games that you can take to other people’s houses and play on multiple systems like you can with physical disc based games?  This is one reason I never buy digital copies of games I can get at retail.

Can children be prevented from making download purchases?

Yes, by choosing the appropriate option in Parental Settings. See below for details.

Can presents be sent to other people like in the Wii Shopping Channel?

There is no present-sending feature like in the Wii Shopping Channel.

I’m not a fan of this though.  Why remove a feature?  For a new machine, it should always do what the old did, but more.  Not cut out stuff.

Can Wii Points on the Wii Shopping Channel or the remaining balance on the 3DS Nintendo eShop be used to make purchases?

No. Wii Points are only for the Wii Shopping Channel, and the remaining balance on the 3DS can be used only on the 3DS Nintendo eShop.

This is sort of logical, although it’s again a poor design decision. Why not just make one whole account for every Nintendo system and let people use the same points for games on all of them?  And then play the games on all systems?

If I want to say, play Super Mario Land 2 on Wii U or Super Mario Sunshine (assuming it becomes available) on 3DS, why shouldn’t I be able to?

How long does it take to download purchased software?

The amount of time varies based on the size of the software and the customer’s Internet connection. The progress of downloads can be checked through Download Management in the Home Button Menu.

Nothing to say here, it’s not really even a question or support query Nintendo can help with, it’s purely based on your download speeds/internet connection.

Can Wii software be purchased and downloaded?

WiiWare and Wii Virtual Console software can be purchased through the Wii Shopping Channel in the Wii Menu.

Good, you can buy games from last gen’s Virtual Console on Wii U, just like how you can buy DSiware games on 3DS via the eShop.

About Nintendo x Joysound Wii Karaoke U (Japan-only)

Can Nintendo x Joysound Wii Karaoke U be played without an Internet connection?

Nintendo x Joysound Wii Karaoke U connects to the Internet to provide service. (The song selection functionality can be tried out even offline.) A trial disc playable for 1 month offline; players can choose 50 songs to sing from a selection of 10,000. Please see the Nintendo x Joysound Wii Karaoke U page for details (JP-only).

What is required to play Nintendo x Joysound Wii Karaoke U?

An Internet connection and a ticket valid for a certain time period are required. A microphone makes the experience more fun.

What kinds of microphones are supported?

USB microphones are supported. The following microphones have been confirmed to work: the Wii U Microphone [WUP-021], the USB Microphone and Microphone DX for Karaoke Joysound Wii. Up to 2 microphones can be connected. See microphone instruction manuals for how to use them.

Can the Wii U GamePad microphone be used to sing?

Yes, but USB microphones (sold separately) provide better audio quality.

I will skip the above, it’s not relevant to English Wii U owners at all.

About Wii U Chat

Who can Wii U Chat be used to talk to?

Only mutually-registered friends can use it to talk.

Why isn’t this a per Wii U system setting?  Some people might like to talk to strangers, and if they want to, it should be at their own risk.

Nintendo doesn’t need to ‘protect’ people from themselves.

Are headsets supported?


Are there any fees to do teleconferencing?

The service is free, but associated Internet service fees may apply.

I’m surprised people have metered bandwidth any more.  Then again, I guess it might affect people using a business network or web host data centre for their Wii U internet service.

Can 3 or more people teleconference with each other?

Up to 2 Wii U systems can connect with one another.

I have to say, this should perhaps be higher. Why not allow ten or even twenty Wii U owners into a teleconference?  Any technical issues would theoretically be related to their internet connections, which isn’t Nintendo’s responsibility.

About Mii Studio

Can Mii Parts in the Mii Studio be used on the Wii?

More parts are available than on the Wii. Parts are shared with the Mii Studio on the 3DS.

Can Mii characters from the Wii or 3DS be imported?

Yes. See above.

Nothing to add here.


What are Users?

Personal save data management on the Wii U system is on a per-User basis. Before playing the Wii U, it’s necessary to register a User. Up to 12 Users can be registered.

What is a Nintendo Network ID?

It’s an ID that’s required in order for a User to connect to the Internet. When creating a User that will connect to the Internet, it’s necessary to set a password. By connecting to the Internet, User information is stored on a server external to the Wii U system, and all network functionality is enabled.

What information is required to obtain a Nintendo Network ID?

The following information is required: e-mail address, location information (“none” can be chosen), birthdate, and gender. Name, address, and credit card information are not required.

Does the e-mail have to be valid?  Not sure, do Nintendo send out confirmation links to activate your Nintendo Network ID?

Also, a location option of ‘none’ is pretty clever.  Might use it on the forums sometime.

Can changes be made to registered User information?

Changes can be made through the User Settings menu. The Nintendo Network ID and birthdate cannot be changed.

So hope you like your name, otherwise it’s back to the user accounts menu for you.

Can a cell phone e-mail address be used to register for a Nintendo Network ID?

Yes. However, some cell phone e-mail services may have limitations such as character limits, so please be advised.

Why is an e-mail address required?

It’s requested so that account holders (or their parent or guardian) can retrieve a forgotten Nintendo Network ID password via e-mail.

Guess that answers my above question, somewhat.

What information is managed on a per-User basis?

The following: play history, the User’s Mii, Parental Settings (excluding the Wii Menu), and game save data (some games may have save data shared by all Users). The following can be managed for network-enabled Users: friend information, Wii U Nintendo eShop balance, credit card information, purchase history, e-mail address, Nintendo Network ID, location information, birthdate, gender, and other registration information.

Can software downloaded by one User be played by other Users?

Yes. Purchased downloadable software is shared by all Users on the same Wii U system.

Glad to hear it.  Having it as a per user thing would suck, especially for less well off families.

Can the remaining balance for individual Users be merged, divided, or transferred?


Can Users for children be created?

Yes. To register a Nintendo Network ID for children under 13, please use a parent or guardian’s e-mail address. If there are several children, the same e-mail address can be used to register each of their Nintendo Network IDs.

This could be interesting.  Why?  Because Japan has quite lax privacy laws and stuff, and the US and Europe… don’t.  Will this comply with COPPA when offered in the US?

About Parental Settings

The Wii U system has functionality to restrict the usage of features in Wii U software. Restrictions can be set on a per-User basis. Following are the main things that can be restricted.

Age restriction: age-inappropriate software based upon rating system information can be restricted from running. Purchases of age-inappropriate software from the Nintendo eShop are automatically blocked. To restrict Wii software, use the Wii Menu Settings.

Game software transmissions: game software communication features (chat and networked play, etc.) can be restricted.

Internet Browser usage: usage of the Internet Browser can be restricted in order to prevent the viewing of pages that may be inappropriate for children.

Purchases on the Nintendo eShop or other services: credit card usage and software purchases on the eShop and other services can be restricted.

Miiverse usage: viewing of and posting to Miiverse can be restricted in order to prevent the exchange of inappropriate content with other users.

Friend registration: friend registration can be restricted.

Video streaming: usage of video streaming services can be restricted.

Fair enough for parental controls.

Data management: the erasure and moving of Wii U software save data can be restricted. This cannot be restricted for Wii software on the Wii Menu.

Does that mean you can block annoying younger siblings from tampering with save files?  That could be an absolute god send for people whose siblings tend to delete their save files at random.

Internet settings: the addition, changing, or deletion of Internet connections can be restricted.

This could be useful too, if only to stop complete idiots from breaking the wifi settings.  Bet some people wish their computers could have those options.

Also, the addition of new users and the factory-resetting of the system are automatically restricted. The restriction of some features is done by connecting to the Internet. Some restrictions may change in system updates.

There you have it, the full Japanese Wii U hardware FAQ as translated into English by a mystery user on NeoGAF.  The link to the original is below, along with the translation.

Does this answer everyone’s Wii U questions?

Original FAQ (Japanese)





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