By Alexandra Burlacu | Nov 18, 2012 01:04 PM EST
Nov. 18 is a big day for Wii U fans and enthusiasts, as Nintendo's latest system hits store shelves complete with a massive firmware update.
Before hooking up the system and getting ready to play it, Wii U owners will need to download a quite massive update before being able to enjoy the system's full functionality. Nintendo had previously announced that Nintendo Network will not ship with the launch systems. Instead, the Nintendo Network will be added to the system via this initial firmware update.
In this regards, Nintendo has now released a 5GB firmware update that unlocks online play, and enables Wii U users to play Wii games and access Wii game data. Users will not be able to access Nintendo's Miiverse or a few other features until they complete the firmware download. Meanwhile, the lack of a background download functionality means that users simply have to allow the system to fully complete the update before being able to resume any other function.
For users who have already received their Wii U, the firmware update downloads have reportedly exceeded two hours in certain cases. How long it takes to fully complete the download will undoubtedly depend, at least to some degree, on the Internet connection, but plenty of patience will be required nonetheless. Nintendo has also programmed the console to pick up the download where it left off if the connection is interrupted.
The Wii U is the first of the next-generation of video game consoles, and the successor to the original Nintendo Wii. It steps up the game by offering full HD graphics, as well as a touch screen, tablet-style controller with a second screen to add extra immersion to the whole video gaming experience. All of the old games and accessories that came with the original Wii should work with the new console as well.
The Wii U system comes in basic and deluxe models, for $299.99 and $349.99, respectively. The deluxe model also comes with the NintendoLand game, a 32GB hard drive (the basic system has only 8GB), a vertical stand for the system, and a charging cradle for the controller.
Wii U Availability
Several local retailers should be carrying the new Wii U and its games, and least until it runs out of stock. Games available at launch include the New Super Mario Bros. U, ZombiU, and Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition. Some stores have already offered fast-selling pre-orders on the system, so quantities currently available to the public may be somewhat limited.
Several local stores should be stocking the Wii U system on Nov. 18, including GameStop, Target, Best Buy, Meijer, Kmart, Walmart, and Sam's Club.