A lengthy system update and defective units may disappoint new Wii U owners.
Nintendo's Wii U launch today was met with excitement, but also technical difficulties.
Exceedingly long download times for Wii U's software update service and defective units may have put a damper on the launch day excitement. NWR staff and others have reported hour-plus download times and server errors when downloading the critical day-one software update, which enables Wii backwards compatibility, among other features. The lengthy Wii-to-Wii U transfer process also introduces additional waiting periods as part of the console's initial setup.
Compounding the problem are reports of defective Wii U units. There have been reports of broken, or "bricked," systems due to power failure during the lengthy software update process. Others have complained about quality assurance problems such as broken disc drives and problems with video output.
All this means that quite a few early adopters are experiencing a Wii U launch that is less than plug-and-play, though this isn't the first Nintendo launch mired by online technical difficulties. The Nintendo 3DS eShop launch in 2011 suffered similar network congestion as millions of users connected at the same time to download the handheld's software update and purchase their first games from the online store.
Manufacturing defects and system corruption due to loss of power during a system update are not unique to Wii U. Xbox 360 and PS3 had their share of defective early production units (remember the red ring of death?). However, the stress on Nintendo's servers and the large installation file associated with this first Wii U update increases the likelihood of something going wrong. Nintendo customer service representatives have strongly encouraged Wii U owners to avoid unplugging, turning off, or otherwise cutting off power to the console during the Wii U system update process.