Skip to main content

Nintendo: No comment on Nintendo Wii U Virtual Console cross-platform play

Nintendo’s Virtual Console service, offering downloadable vintage console games on the Nintendo Wii and 3DS, is now six years old. Not much has changed since when it first opened for business. Nintendo Entertainment System games are still wildly expensive at $5 a pop and Nintendo still only releases a paltry few retro games every year. The Nintendo 3DS has at least introduced one vital change, hosting formerly home console-only games on a handheld, but even then, only a scant few games are offered between both. The big question about the Virtual Console’s future: When will it come to Wii U?

“We do not have any specifics to share at this time,” Nintendo told Kotaku on Wednesday, “However, we are moving ahead with development of Vitrual Console for Wii U, and we plan to make it so you can play  it on the Wii U GamePad alone.”

That’s certainly promising news to retro game fans frustrated by the limited options currently available on the Wii U. Much like regular disc-based Wii games, previously purchased Virtual Console games can be downloaded and played through the Wii U’s Wii Mode, but it’s hardly ideal. The Wii mode doesn’t support the Wii U’s Pro Controller nor does it support play on the Wii U GamePad.

While it’s heartening to hear that Nintendo plans to allow Virtual Console games to be played on the GamePad screen, the company has yet to confirm if it will support cross-platform purchases. Nintendo’s many competitors offer many games that only need to be purchased a single time but can be played on multiple devices. Apple will automatically download an iOS game puchased on the iPad to your iPhone provided you have the settings turned on. Even Sony offers cross-platform purchases with PS Vita games as well as PSOne classics on PS3 and Vita. Some PlayStation 3 retail games like Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time come with a free Vita edition as well. Will Nintendo let customers who have downloaded Virtual Console games on Wii and 3DS download them free of charge on Wii U?

We reached out to Nintendo for clarification on how it will accomodate previous Virtual Console customers, but after speaking with the company’s public relations representatives, it refused to comment.

Editors' Recommendations

Anthony John Agnello
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Anthony John Agnello is a writer living in New York. He works as the Community Manager of and his writing has…
You need to buy the best Wii U game before the eShop closes down
A Nintendo Wii U gamepad flat on a table.

If you're a Nintendo fan, you should pull out your calendar and put a big red circle around March 27. That's the day that both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShop will officially shutter their doors. It'll be your last chance to pick up digital copies of all digital games, from Virtual Console classics to first-party exclusives.

There is no shortage of good games worth picking up before that deadline happens, though some of the systems' best titles can be purchased on other platforms. There's one game in particular, though, that finds itself in a precarious position: Affordable Space Adventures. If you even have a passing interest in the Wii U exclusive, you'll have to act fast, because it'll go fully extinct at the end of the month.

Read more
Download these rare Wii U games before they disappear

Nintendo's Wii U is notorious for how hard it flopped and for providing the Switch with some of its best ports, but that doesn't mean it didn't have worthwhile games that are still exclusive to it. While many Wii U games have escaped to other platforms and Game Boy Advance games are now coming to Nintendo Switch, some experiences are uniquely suited to the Wii U GamePad or aren't able to make the jump elsewhere due to other outside factors.

As such, when the Wii U and 3DS eShops shut down on March 27, there are some unique Wii U games that will become significantly more expensive and tougher, if not outright impossible, to play. If you're one of the 13.5 million people who actually have a Wii U and are wondering what to pick up before the eShop closes, we recommend these stranded games.
Affordable Space Adventures

Read more
Microsoft signs a 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty games to Nintendo platforms
Characters shooting in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Microsoft and Nintendo have signed a 10-year deal to bring Xbox games to Nintendo platforms. Microsoft President Brad Smith announced the deal in a tweet, which affirmed that Call of Duty will come to Nintendo platforms if its Activision Blizzard acquisition formally closes.

Ever since Microsoft announced its intent to purchase Activision Blizzard, the company has maintained that it intends to keep games like Call of Duty multiplatform. It even went one step farther, sayingg that it would bring the series to Nintendo devices. Now, Microsoft and Nintendo have officially signed a "binding 10-year contract," says Smith.

Read more