Wii U entertainment options expand with free YouTube app

YouTube Wii U application

Over the past few years, gaming consoles have increasingly developed new, non-gaming entertainment options. Movies streamed from Netflix, music courtesy Last.fm, and, of course, the ubiquitous crowd-sourced video content of YouTube have all become nearly as common uses for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii as those consoles’ respective games. Thus, with the dawn of a new console generation right around the corner, it should come as little surprise that Nintendo’s newly-launched Wii U console should play host to a dedicated YouTube application a mere five days after its retail debut.

Announced by YouTube on the firm’s official blog, the Wii U’s official YouTube application appears to be little more than a relatively standard aesthetics and functionality update for the original Wii YouTube app, only with special accoutrements added which take advantage of the console’s exclusive features. “With the Wii U GamePad you can quickly search for great videos to watch,” YouTube claims, before explaining that this merely means that using the GamePad’s on-screen keyboard to enter search terms is far easier than punching in numbers and letters via Nintendo’s “traditional” on-screen keyboard. Beyond that, the Wii U’s YouTube app looks roughly as clean and effective as its predecessors, and should feel familiar to anyone who has ever watched YouTube videos on a video game console in the past.

Despite this lack of innovative change, we’re pleased to see the Wii U receive a YouTube app. Especially since the Wii U app, like every other official YouTube application, features a very generous zero dollar price tag. Once downloaded, you need only enter your existing YouTube credentials (or register a new set of personal info) to access your account. Then you’re free to watch any of the millions of clips, TV episodes and music videos found on the Internet’s most popular video sharing service.

Now, news aside, we’ve got a question about all of this. At the moment, the Wii U YouTube application doesn’t include any extra functionality that might allow users to upload footage to YouTube via Nintendo’s latest gaming machine. This isn’t shocking, as no consoles are currently able to upload footage via their official YouTube applications, but given the number of recent, big-name releases that boast YouTube uploading capabilities as an important feature (see: Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2) it only stands to reason that YouTube and the various console manufacturers would want to expand the scope of their respective YouTube applications. Thus, we asked Nintendo if perhaps the company (or YouTube) had any plans to add this sort of additional feature set in either the near-term or long-term future.

Unfortunately, given that it’s the day after Thanksgiving and only a handful of people in the gaming biz even bothered to show up at work today, we’ve yet to hear a response (and likely won’t hear anything before Monday, at the earliest). We’ll let you know what/if Nintendo says when we hear back.

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