WATCH: The Wii U’s Nifty New Speed Trick

Will wonders never cease? Nintendo's Wii U, presently the slowest video game console when it comes to opening and closing apps -- possibly in the history of video game consoles -- was apparently just doused in heavy water vapors.

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Will wonders never cease? Nintendo’s Wii U, presently the slowest video game console when it comes to opening and closing apps — possibly in the history of video game consoles — was apparently just doused in heavy water vapors.

No really, check out the video above. You know how the Wii U can’t turn on a dime or a quarter or a semi-sized hubcap? Nintendo’s apparently fixed that, and they’re offering documentary proof.

When I reviewed the Wii U back in November, I noted the following timings:

From the main menu, tapping “System Settings” took 14 seconds to load. Exiting back to the Wii U Menu took another 20 seconds. Again, from the main menu, tapping the Netflix icon took 33 seconds to load (for this, I blame Netflix, since it’s equally slow to load on my Xbox 360, PS3 and Apple TV), but exiting back to the Wii U Menu took an unbelievable 30 seconds to load. I tested this repeatedly with everything else and consistently clocked 20-30 seconds whenever reloading the Wii U Menu.

You see the problem. Launch and exit a dozen apps in an hour and you’ll spend roughly as many minutes staring at load screens. The Wii U’s icon-driven, multi-screen menu system may look like iOS, but it’s nothing like it performance-wise.

So basically if you’re a Wii U user, you’ve been living with a dog-slow system from a navigational perspective for months. Nintendo promised a while back that it would remedy this in a major April update. The video above illustrates what we can probably expect when that update hits.

Judging from the video, the speedup delivers: a wait-time drop from 21.5 seconds to just 8.3 (that’s according to my iPhone’s stopwatch, clicking “start” as soon as the person in the video tapped “Wii U Menu” and “stop” the second the menu icons finally appeared). While eight seconds is still a leap from something like iOS’s ability to instantaneously back out of an app, I’ll take it. I’d still like to know, however, why it takes any time at all. When you kill an Xbox 360 or PS3 app, you’re back to the menu almost instantly. Why can’t we expect the same of the Wii U? Is that Miiverse view with all the little weeble-wobble-y characters milling about really that big a resource hog?

When can you get the update? April, which may thus turn out not to be the cruelest month after all.

5 comments
MitchMiller
MitchMiller

Wii U is a total flop. Owned every system ever released. This is by far the worse. It adds nothing but a crappy unresponsive second SD screen. There is nothing this system does that ps3 or 360 did not do 7 years ago. Actually, it falls far short. It's a fail as a media player, no bluray and netflix is crap slow. It's so bad Target has already dropped the price 50$ and offering a extra free game (not the bundled game). I hate to see it as I have 500$ I to already, but all this system does is play Mario in HD. Is that worth 400$ to you?

naruble13
naruble13

it has another update in the summer so..........................

Tridus
Tridus

It's still slow. It's just no longer the slowest menu ever created in the history of technology.

DavidDixon
DavidDixon

@Tridus I'm pretty sure that the only reason it takes any time at all is because of the Wara Wara Plaza, which I don't want the system to be without because it is cool.

nico07
nico07 like.author.displayName 1 Like

The original PS3 and 360 menus were slow too after they were first released.  For Nintendo to have this fixed after five months isn't bad.  I welcome the new update.  The only other fix I would like to see is for the occassional complete system freeze.  Hasn't happened much lately, but there is no holding the power button.  You end up having to pull the power cable.  Nintendo is more than capable of resolving this with a BIOS update.