Off-TV Play is a feature of Nintendo's eighth-generation video game console, the Wii U. Like all video game consoles, the Wii U uses a console and a controller to manipulate an image on a television screen. The Wii U's unique feature is that its controller, the Wii U GamePad, has its own built-in screen for displaying images. It can display an entirely different image, or duplicate the television screen into the Wii U GamePad. Off-TV Play is the term used for when an entire game is played strictly on the controller, without the use of a television.
The Wii U console was officially unveiled at E3 2011 in June 2011, where it was first detailed that the console's controller would feature a tablet-like touchscreen. Nintendo announced that a major focus of the console would be the ability to display the image seen on the television on the touchscreen, to continue playing the game if the television was needed for other uses, or the player needed to move away from the television. Official terms were given at E3 2012; the controller was named the Wii U GamePad and the concept of playing games strictly on its screen being labeled Off-TV Play.
For supported games, a television isn't required to be connected to the Wii U; the Wii U can operate in Off-TV Play mode as long as the console is connected to a power source. However, as the processing is done on the console, and transmitted to the GamePad, the user must still keep within the transmitting range in order for it to work. Not all games support Off-TV Play, as some games conceptually rely on the asymmetric interplay between the television screen and the Wii U GamePad screen, such as Nintendo Land and ZombiU. However, All Wii U Virtual Console titles purchased from the Nintendo eShop include the option to use Off-TV Play. Original Wii games and Virtual Console games were not initially compatible either, although this was changed in the Wii U's September 30, 2013 system update, which allows it, but only through the use of original Wii peripherals as input methods, meaning that the image would appear on Wii U Gamepad screen, but its buttons would not work, requiring the use of Wii Remotes and Wii Nunchuks for button and joystick input. This was partially revised again in January 2015; when Nintendo began releasing Wii games digitally on the Wii U eShop. Because games re-released in this fashion were reworked to run straight from the Wii U operating screen, and not Wii Mode, the game allowed for Off TV Play on Wii games with GamePad controls, provided the game allowed for Classic Controller usage in its Wii release.
List of Off-TV Play compatible software
^[a] Off-TV Play must be initially activated via a menu on the TV screen.
^[b] Off-TV Play cannot be activated or disabled mid-game
^[e] Some activities require both the GamePad and TV screen and are not compatible with Off-TV Play.
|Internet Browser||Nintendo Network Business & Development||Nintendo||AUS, EU, NA, JP||Supported|
|Wii U Panorama View||Nintendo||Nintendo||AUS, EU, NA, JP||Supported|
|Netflix||Netflix, Inc.||Netflix, Inc.||EU, NA, JP||Supported|
|Wii Karaoke U||Joysound, Nintendo||Nintendo||EU, JP||Supported|
|Wii Street U||Nintendo Software Technology||Nintendo||AUS, EU, NA, JP||Supported|
|Amazon Video||Amazon||Amazon||EU, NA, JP||Supported|
The concept has received mostly positive reviews. The CNET praised the feature as being "nothing short of fantastic [...] because it prevents the monopolization of a TV while gaming -- something anyone who doesn't live alone can appreciate. For those households where the main TV is in constant demand, off-TV sounds like a godsend." However, a major concern cited is that it wasn't a required feature, meaning the developers can opt out of making it possible in their respective games, so in theory, it could become obsolete. Kotaku praised it as well, stating that it is a good feature for those who like to multi-task, since it frees up the television for other uses. TechSpot described it as "a luxury few people asked for but that turns out to be wonderful to have". Destructoid praised it for being exactly the same as playing on the television, only "with some limited portability for no extra charge. Hard to find fault in that." GamesRadar praised the feature for being perfect for the avid television watcher, but criticized the fact that there wasn't a standardized way to activate it, such as its own button. IGN stated in their review for the Wii U, that in regards to single player experiences, they preferred it when the entire game could be transferred to the GamePad over using it in conjunction with a television.
Some critics have argued that the image has superior quality while using Off-TV Play, while others have cited concerns over the small size of the screen making it difficult to see all the details of the image. Eurogamer's "Digital Foundry" testing showed that the Wii U's Off-TV Play feature outperformed Sony's similar Remote Play feature on its PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita systems in image quality, latency, frame-rate. Pocket Gamer agreed, stating that Off-TV Play offered far less lag than Remote Play.
While critics generally praised the Wii U update enabling Off-TV Play support to original Wii software played in Wii Mode, they generally lamented the update's shortcoming of requiring Wii controllers and peripherals to play rather than the Wii U GamePad itself. This was partially rectified by Nintendo in January 2015, when they announced that Wii games digitally re-released for the Wii U eShop would allow for GamePad controls, because they play directly through the Wii U, and not "Wii Mode" when using the disc version of the games.
- Lynley, Matthew (2012-11-19). "Nintendo Wii U Review Roundup - Digits - WSJ". Blogs.wsj.com. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- "Spotlight on Wii U: Off-TV Play". Nintendo. 2013-02-27. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- "7 Things You Didn't Know About the Nintendo Wii U". Fox News. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- Stevens, Tim (2011-06-07). "Live from Nintendo's E3 2011 keynote!". Engadget.com. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- "Better Friend Codes, Achievements and More: Nintendo Answers Our Burning Wii U Questions". Kotaku.com. 2012-06-11. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- Stark, Chelsea (2012-11-27). "Play Your Wii U Anywhere - Even on a Train - Yahoo! News". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- "off-tv play". My Nintendo News. 2012-06-11. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- "Streaming Games to Wii U GamePad Optional for Developers - Known as Off-TV Play at C3 News". Cubed3.com. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- "ZombiU review". Edge. Nov 28, 2012. Retrieved Dec 15, 2012.
- Goldfarb, Andrew (2013-01-23). "Wii U Virtual Console, OS Upgrades Announced". IGN. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- Otero, Jose (September 30, 2013). "Wii U System Update Enables Wii Games to Display on GamePad". IGN. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
- Otero, Jose (14 January 2015). "Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid Prime Trilogy Coming to Wii U".
- Angry Birds Trilogy Out Now for Wii and Wii U - News. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- "Armillo Set To Support Off-TV Play". Nintendolife.com. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- "Eurogamer.net". "Face-Off: Assassin's Creed 3 on Wii U"
- Whitehead, Thomas (1 October 2013). "Interview: Ubisoft on Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag's Place in the Franchise, and Returning to Wii U". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- Whitehead, Thomas (2013-06-09). "Assault Android Cactus to Feature Off-TV Play and Wii Remote and Nunchuk Controls". Nintendolife. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
- "Bayonetta 2 for Wii U - Official Site". bayonetta2.nintendo.com. Retrieved 2014-06-11.
- "Playeressence". "E3 2013: Official Bayonetta 2 Cinematic Trailer, Features Touch Controls, Off-TV Play, and New Demon Summons"
- "Eurogamer.net". "Face-Off: Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition on Wii U"
-  Retrieved 2013-11-14
- "Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate - Deluxe Edition (Wii U eShop) Review". NintendoLife. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- Ben 10: Omniverse Review - Review. Nintendo World Report (2013-01-20). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- Green, Andy (22 February 2013). "BIT.TRIP Presents: RUNNER 2 Was Originally Going To Skip Wii U". NintendoLife. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "Nintendo Wii U Review - TechSpot Reviews". Techspot.com. 2012-11-19. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- . Nintendo Everything. Retrieved on 2013-11-14.
- CastleStorm charging to Wii U Dec. 26. Polygon.com (2013-12-16). Retrieved on 2014-04-29
- Wii U eShop - Feature. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- How the indie gaming explosion gave birth to Ubisoft's Child of Light. Techradar.com (2014-04-22). Retrieved on 2014-04-29.
- Lamoreux, Ben (2013-07-02). "GenGAME Interview: Cloudberry Kingdom Dev Talks Development History, Indie Scene, Off-TV Play Confirmed for Wii U". GenGAME. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
- Audrey Drake 17 Nov 2012 (2012-11-17). "Darksiders II Review". IGN. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution On Wii U Supports Off-TV Play And Miiverse. Siliconera (2013-03-20). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- The Happiest Game on Earth - An interview with Disney Infinity Producer John Day - Wii U News from. Vooks (2013-08-15). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- "Disney's Planes (Wii U) Review". Nintendo Life. 2013-08-06. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- Ponce, Tony (2013-06-12). "Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze isn't an ICEE flavor". Destructoid. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
- Carter, Chris (2013-12-31). "Review: Dr. Luigi". Destructoid. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
- Ishaan (2013-03-08). "Dragon Quest X Wii U Trailer Shows Off Its Enhanced Visuals". Siliconera. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- Holly, Russell (2013-08-13). "DuckTales Remastered is everything you wanted it to be". Geek.com. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- Meyer, Lee (2013-09-09). "Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (Wii U eShop) Review". Nintendolife. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
- Whitehead, Thomas (14 October 2013). "Hands On: Toki Tori and EDGE (Two Tribes Classics)". NintendoLife. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- FIFA Soccer 13 Review. GameSpot.com (2012-11-13). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- https://www.nintendo.co.jp/wiiu/software/wbgj/index.html. Retrieved 2014-05-06. Missing or empty
- Green, Andy (14 August 2013). "Giana Sisters: Twisted Dream Coming To Europe and Australia Next Week". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- "Siliconera.com". "Injustice: Gods Among Us Has Quick Move List & Off TV Play On Wii U"
- "Hyrule Warriors Features The Legend of Zelda on NES-like Adventure Mode". IGN. 2014-08-04. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
- Ubisoft. ""
- "Nintendo Life". ""
- Max, Josh (October 10, 2013). "LEGO Marvel Super Heroes impressions". NintendoWorldReport. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
- Ohlew, Tyler (November 22, 2012). "Little Inferno Review". Nintendo World Report.
- "Madden NFL 13 Review - Review". Nintendo World Report. 2012-11-24. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- Phillips, Tom (2013-07-08). "Mario Kart 8: Nintendo turns the series upside down". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Colin Moriarty 21 Nov 2012 (2012-11-21). "Mass Effect 3 Wii U Review". IGN. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- "Mighty Switch Force! 2 Wii U". WayForward. October 16, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
- Daniel Vuckovic (2013-03-03). "Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Gets Off-TV Play, Online Region Lock Removed In Upcoming Patch". Vooks.net. Retrieved 2013-03-09.
- What's Next for the Wii U eShop. IGN. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- Liebl, Lance. "Review: NBA 2K13 Wii U is the same great g... | Reviews". GameZone. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- Wii U Version Of Need For Speed: Most Wanted Will Feature Off-Screen Play - Wii U News @ Nintendo Life. Nintendolife.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- "NES™ Remix for Wii U". Nesremix.nintendo.com. 2013-12-18. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- "Official Site - New Super Mario Bros. U for Wii U".
- Official Site - Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge for Wii U. Ninjagaiden3.nintendo.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- "One Piece Unlimited World Red review". Nintendo Insider. 2014-07-03. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
- "Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures (Wii U) Review". NintendoLife. 2014-11-23. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- Retro-fitting the past with Pier Solar HD. Redbull.com (2014-03-14). Retrieved on 2014-04-29.
- George, Richard (2013-02-04). "Pikmin 3 Will Support GamePad-Only Play". IGN.
- Arnold, Christopher. Twitter https://twitter.com/Kurisuellegarde/status/389648475685539840. Retrieved 14 October 2013. Missing or empty
- Pokémon Rumble U (Wii U eShop) Review. Nintendo Life. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- "Project CARS Game Design Overview v2" (PDF).
- Puddle Review - Review. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- "Nintendo - Pushmo World". nintendo.com. Retrieved 2014-06-11.
- Ubisoft. "Rayman Legends | Official Website | Ubisoft". Ubisoft. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Seedhouse, Alex (2013-02-09). "Official Nintendo Magazine tease revealed as Resident Evil Revelations". nintendo-insider.com.
- Whitehead, Thomas (2 October 2013). "Two Tribes Confirms Details of Three Titles in Wii U Classics Range, All Hitting This Year". NintendoLife. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- Ronaghan, Neal (2012-11-20). "Scribblenauts Unlimited Review". nintendowoldreport.com.
- Laura (2013-09-22). "[Interview] 5th Cell talks about Scribblenauts: Unmasked! Hear why they decided to include 33 'Batman' variations". Nintendo Everything.
- Bonds, Curtis (2013-09-03). "Shovel Knight Impressions". Nintendo World Report.
- Skylanders Giants (Wii U) Review - Skylanders Reviews. Vooks.net (2013-02-18). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure Coming to Wii U in Japan on July 12 - News. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- Wahlgren, Jon. "Sniper Elite V2 (Wii U) Review". NintendoLife. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- "Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper, and Epic Mickey 2 - Feature". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- "Sonic Boom™: Rise of Lyric for Wii U - Nintendo @E3". e3.nintendo.com. Retrieved 2014-06-11.
- Hinkle, David. (2013-05-30) Sonic: Lost World features competitive multiplayer, off-screen play on Wii U. Joystiq. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- Super Mario 3D World's multiplayer mayhem is delightful, long overdue. Polygon (2013-06-11). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- "Super Smash Bros. for Wii U: Controllers".
- "Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Wii U) Review". Nintendo Life. 2012-11-24. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Edition Impressions - Impressions. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- Two Zelda Titles Are Coming to Wii U - News. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- The LEGO Movie Videogame Review. IGN.com (2014-02-12). Retrieved on 2014-04-29.
- The Wonderful 101 (Wii U) Review. Nintendo Life. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- Whitehead, Thomas (4 August 2013). "Interview: Ubisoft On Splinter Cell Blacklist, Taking the Series Forward and Wii U Features". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Unepic (Wii U eShop) Review". NintendoLife. 2014-01-19. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- "Watch Dogs is a beautiful game on Wii U - Ubisoft". Official Nintendo Magazine. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- "Nintendo.com – Wii Fit U – Game Info". Nintendo. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
- "Upper Byte Discuss Wooden Sen'SeY - "Nintendo Genuinely Invested" in Indies". Nintendo Enthusiast. 2014-03-01. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- "More Xenoblade Chronicles X details - Nintendo Everything". 28 January 2015.
- [Nintendo Direct JP] Yakuza 1 & 2 for Wii U Announcement. YouTube (2013-05-17). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- Zen Pinball 2 (Wii U eShop) Review. Nintendo Life. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- "Wii Karaoke U by JOYSOUND | Wii U download software | Games | Nintendo". nintendo.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-11.
- Stein, Scott (2012-11-19). "Packed with promise, Wii U still has a lot to prove". CNET. Reviews.cnet.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- "Wii U Could Be The Perfect Console For People Like Me | Kotaku Australia". Kotaku.com.au. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- "Hands-on with Call of Duty: Black Ops II on the Wii U". Destructoid. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- Splechta, Mike. "Console Review: Nintendo's Wii U starts it... | Reviews | GameZone". Gamesradar.com9.gamezone.com. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- Nic Vargus 21 Nov 2012 (2012-11-21). "Nintendo Wii U Review". IGN. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- Leadbetter, Richard (2013-11-30). "Digital Foundry vs. Vita Remote Play • Articles •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- "guide to Nintendo Wii U's Off-TV Play | Other". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- Peckham, Matt (2013-10-01). "Nintendo's Massive New Wii U Update Is *THIS* Shy of Greatness". Time magazine. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- Ishaan (2013-09-30). "Wii U Can Now Play Wii Titles On GamePad, But There's A Catch". Siliconera. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- "Wii U System Update Enables Wii Games to Display on GamePad". IGN. 2013-09-30. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- "Wii U 4.0.0 update allows Wii Mode off-TV play". Destructoid. Retrieved 2014-03-01.