Wii U update introduces GamePad quick start and notifications

Date Posted Author
7th June 2014 Matt Bailey

A major update to the Wii U this week introduced some new functionality to the console's GamePad as part of Nintendo's efforts to help the device stand out. As a key part of the Wii U, and the difference between it and not only its competitors but its predecessors, making the GamePad more useful is seen as a way of selling more Wii Us.

The highlight of the 5.00 is the Quick Start feature. It allows you to power up the GamePad without launching the console to the main menu; instead on the GamePad's screen you get a selection of recently launched and/or downloaded games, and tapping one of these takes you straight into the game instead of waiting for the main screen to load first before selecting a game. It's a significant user experience improvement, especially with the recent release of Mario Kart 8 which is likely to be a title that many people will want to jump straight into. It's a feature only possible with the GamePad, fulfilling that system selling capability which is vitally important to the Wii U right now.

The quick start screen along with a Mario Kart notification

The quick start screen along with a Mario Kart notification

Another feature in the update is the ability to receive notifications from Nintendo directly on the GamePad. While the Wii U, like the 3DS, has always been able to receive notifications about major new content or system updates, these have only been accessible when the machine has booted up and you've done to the Home menu. Now you'll get a ping on the GamePad when you receive a notification, and via the Quick Start menu you can read the notification right away.

When you next boot up the Wii U you'll be prompted to download the update. This should be the last time you see that, as future system updates will be downloaded in the background.

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