Coming as part of Nintendo’s latest Wii U system update (5.1.0 U), Wii U owners will now be able to transfer all software and data from one Wii U to another. Transferable content includes any user info, Nintendo Network IDs, save data, and digital content.
Anything downloaded from Nintendo’s eShop on the ‘source’ Wii U will be automatically placed into the download queue once transferred over to the ‘target’ Wii U. The ‘target’ Wii U will lose all data and have any Nintendo Network IDs uncoupled from it (they can be linked again after the system transfer is complete), and both Wii Us are formatted as part of the process. Nintendo’s got instructions on its website to help Wii U owners set up for a system-to-system transfer, let them know what gets transferred, and walk them through the process in extensive detail.
The update doesn’t address many gamers’ requests for a cloud-based account system like PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, or iTunes, which all work by having a single account that allows for purchases to be made across devices. The system-to-system transfer is not as simple as logging out a Nintendo Network ID from the ‘source’ console and logging in on the ‘target’ Wii U, as it requires both ‘source’ and ‘target’ consoles be present, functional, and fully updated (with gamepads linked to each one).
The system-to-system transfer involves 58 steps, which makes it a somewhat tedious endeavor, and in the event that Wii U owners wish to transfer content and IDs from a broken console, for example, they will still need to contact Nintendo for assistance.