When you go online with your Nintendo Wii U one of the first features you’ll explore is the consoles own eShop.
And with good reason. Similar to Microsoft’s Xbox Live Marketplace and Sony’s PlayStation Network, Nintendo’s Wii U eShop is where you’ll be able to find latest game demos, additional downloadable game content and exclusive downloadable games as well as digital versions of retails games.
Sure, Nintendo had a similar service in the way of the Wii Shop Channel for Wii, but the updates were sporadic at best and the service felt and looked clunky. Compared with Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network it paled comparison.
Then Nintendo got series and launched the first eShop for it’s latest handheld, the 3DS, last year, taking a first step in a more digital/retail coexistence.
Unlike the Wii Shop Channel, the 3DS eShop came to be a digital store that would be updated weekly, offering new game demos, exclusive 3DS downloadable titles, classic GameBoy titles (as well those from various other classic systems), 3D videos, brought in the DSiWare store and more recently introduced downloadable versions of retail games. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I look forward to the new update of content every Friday!
Least to say the eShop has been a major success for Nintendo and I’m highly excited to see the service continue to grow on Wii U.
Already there are some 17 odd retails games available to download in North America, including titles like New Super Mario Bros. U, ZombiU and Assassin’s Creed III. Then there’s the modest number of download exclusive titles such as Trine 2: Director’s Cut and Little Inferno, with more on the way.
The biggest draw I have to the eShop on 3DS is its Virtual Console – which makes available classic GameBoy, Sega Game Gear, select NES and more, titles. Similarly the Wii’s Virtual Console was the biggest draw, for me personally, to the Wii Shop Channel.
Sadly though the Wii U eShop hasn’t received it’s own Virtual Console. Yet. For the time being you’re going to need to boot your Wii U into ‘Wii Mode’ and then access the old and clunky store. in time however, we’ll see that brought over and hopefully the ability to play these games in off-TV mode with the GamePad.
Looking ahead it looks as if Nintendo are seriously invested in the eShop. Managing to make a hefty number of its day-one retail line up available alongside some high-quality downloadable titles. With the inclusion of an exclusive Virtual Console service more or less assured in the future, the Wii U eShop can only go from strength to strength.
Who else is excited for the eShop on Wii U? Any American readers who’ve had a poke around? What about everyone else, what get’s you most excited?