Wii U system software

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Wii U system software
Wii U
Wii U Menu screenshot.jpg
The Wii U Menu GUI
Company / developer Nintendo
OS family Nintendo proprietary
Working state Current
Source model Closed source
Initial release 1.0.1 / November 18, 2012; 19 months ago (2012-11-18)
Latest release 5.1.0 / July 21, 2014; 1 day ago (2014-07-21)
Available in Danish, German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Swedish, Turkish, Japanese
Update method Direct Download
Game Disc
Supported platforms Wii U
Default user interface Wii U Menu
Preceded by Wii OS

Wii U system software is the official firmware version and operating system for Nintendo's Wii U game console. Nintendo maintains the Wii U's systemwide features and applications by offering system software updates via the Internet. Updates are optional to each console owner, but may be required in order to retain interoperability with Nintendo's online services. Each update is cumulative, including all changes from previous updates.

The system's official integrated development environment, named MULTI and published by embedded software engineering vendor Green Hills Software, is intended for use by Nintendo and its licensed developers in programming the Wii U.[1] Details of the operating system's internal architecture have not been officially publicized.

The current version of the system software is 5.1.0, which was released on July 21, 2014.

Wii U Menu[edit]

The Wii U Menu is the main dashboard of the system, acting as an application organizer and launcher. It is a graphical shell similar to the Wii's "Wii Menu" and Nintendo 3DS HOME Menu. It allows launching software stored on Wii U optical discs, applications installed in the internal memory or an external storage device, or Wii titles through the system's "Wii Mode". The WaraWara Plaza is displayed on the TV screen, while the Wii U GamePad screen displays the application icons available for launch; the two screens' display roles can be swapped with the press of a button. Like the original Wii, discs can also be hot-swapped while in the menu. The Wii U Menu may also be used to launch applications entirely beyond just gaming: the Miiverse social network which is integrated with all games and applications; the Internet Browser for the World Wide Web; play media through Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Nintendo TVii, and more; download Wii U software and content through the Nintendo eShop; and receive official notifications from Nintendo.[2] System settings, parental controls and the activity log can also be launched through the menu.

WaraWara Plaza[edit]

See also: Miiverse

The Wii U Menu is directly integrated with Miiverse and the Nintendo Network. When the Wii U powers on, the television screen will show the WaraWara Plaza in which user status and comments on Miiverse are shown. Each user is represented by their respective Mii and is often associated with a Miiverse community.[3] Users can save any Mii on the WaraWara Plaza to their personal library, Yeah! their post, write a comment, and send a friend request.

Home Menu[edit]

The Home Menu (stylized as HOME Menu) can be accessed during any game or application through the user pressing the Home Button on the Wii U GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller or Wii Remote. The Home Menu allows the user to launch certain multitasking applications, such as Miiverse, Nintendo TVii, Nintendo eShop and the Internet Browser while a game or application is running. It also displays various information such as date and time, the wireless signal status, controller battery life and controller settings. Current downloads can also be managed in the Download Manager, which downloads and installs games and applications and their respective updates, as well as downloading system updates in the background.

Pre-installed software[edit]

Multitasking applications[edit]

In addition to running one primary game or application, the Wii U is capable of simultaneously opening select system applications. Once a primary application has been launched from the Wii U Menu, the user can then push the HOME button to temporarily suspend that application. One of the following applications may then be launched, and may possibly interoperate with the primary application, such as screenshots and game scores.

^[a] Nintendo TVii is available in Japan and North America as of December, 2012.

Wii Mode[edit]

Main article: Wii Menu

The Wii U's Wii Mode is a fully virtualized Wii system, with all of the limitations and privileges thereof. When a Wii game disc is inserted into the Wii U, an appropriately launchable icon appears on the Wii U Menu. Alternatively, the Wii U may be powered on while holding the B button. Either method will effectively relaunch the Wii U to entirely become a virtual Wii system until it is relaunched into Wii U mode. As with a native Wii system, the Wii Mode's internal storage memory is limited to 512 MB, and the SD Card Menu can utilize a card up to 32 GB in size.

There are a few slight differences between the Wii U's Wii Mode and a native Wii system. The data management settings are accessible, but the Wii System Settings are not. The Wii Shop Channel is fully available for the purchase of Wii software; however, its Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube applications cannot be used. The system must be relaunched into Wii U mode, in order to utilize the native versions of these applications.

System Update releases[edit]

Obsolete Current

Nintendo releases updates to the Wii U system software as needed to improve functionality, fix problems, and to add or remove features.

Version 5[edit]

Table of versions: Wii U OS Version 5
Version Release date Changes in System Software


July 21, 2014; 1 day ago (2014-07-21)[4]
Wii U to Wii U System Transfer
  • Users can now transfer (move) all software and data from one Wii U to another
  • A “System Transfer” option has been added within System Settings
Changes to Nintendo eShop
  • Users can now navigate the Nintendo eShop using a Wii Remote, Wii U Pro Controller, or Classic Controller
Support for NFC payment cards from Suica (Japan Only)[5]
  • Users can now add electronic money to Nintendo eshop by using NFC based payment cards from Suica.
Improvements to system stability and usability
  • Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience


June 2, 2014; 50 days ago (2014-06-02)[4]
Addition of Quick Start for the Wii U GamePad
  • The Quick Start screen displays when the Wii U console is turned on from the Wii U GamePad. It shows recently used or installed software which can be started immediately, without first loading the Wii U Menu. Quick Start is ideal for users who want to start playing games right away.
Addition of notifications for the Wii U GamePad
  • With this service you can receive occasional notifications from Nintendo about selected games and products, special promotions and more. If a notification is received while the console is powered down, the GamePad will make a sound, as well as display the notification on its screen for a short while. It is also possible to check out notifications on the Quick Start screen. The settings for these notifications can be changed under Power Settings in System Settings, including the option to define the hours during which notifications will automatically display.
Improvement of Standby Functions
  • System updates, in addition to being downloaded automatically, are now also installed automatically while the Wii U console is powered down.
Wii U Menu
  • When users select their user Mii from the Wii U Menu, the User Settings screen now displays. The design and layout of the Users Settings screen has been updated, including the ability to switch the active user from the User Settings screen.
System Settings
  • An option for Quick Start screen settings has been added to Power Settings. The settings for notifications on the Wii U GamePad can be changed here as well.
  • An icon to start the Notifications application (different from notifications on the Wii U GamePad) has been added to the HOME Menu.
System stability improvements and other adjustments
Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user’s experience.

Version 4[edit]

Version 3[edit]

Version 2[edit]

^[a] Available after linking a Nintendo Network ID.
^[b] Available in Wii Mode.
^[c] Only available for software titles for which update data is being distributed.

Version 1[edit]

See also[edit]

Other gaming platforms from Nintendo:

Other gaming platforms from this generation:

Gaming platforms from the seventh generation:


  1. ^ "Green Hills Software's MULTI Integrated Development Environment Selected by Nintendo for Wii U Development" (Press release). San Jose, CA: Green Hills Software. March 27, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Social networking comes to Wii U, Miiverse will interface with PCs and phones". VentureBeat. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  3. ^ "Wii U Official Site - Built-in Software". Nintendo. 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Latest system update information". http://www.nintendo.com/. Nintendo of America. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Latest system update information". http://www.nintendo.co.jp/. Nintendo of Japan. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Gaston, Martin (April 26, 2013). "Wii U spring system update now live". www.gamespot.com. CBS Interactive, Inc. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  7. ^ Spencer (November 17, 2012). "Wii U Backwards Compatibility Is Like A Wii In Your Wii U". Siliconera. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 

External links[edit]