Wii U PAL Backwards Compatibility Won’t Upscale To HD

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Those tech centric boffins over at Digital Foundry have revealed that PAL Wii games don’t actually scale to HD like their NTSC counterparts. The team hope that this issue will eventually be resolved with a system update. Here’s the comprehensive findings from Digital Foundry.

“Important AV options are omitted from the Wii menu, with the PAL console unable to upscale to HD resolutions or run in progressive scan over component – an issue that doesn’t seem to impact NTSC hardware.”

“The results are intriguing. On a PAL unit, where 480p and PAL60 were supported in the original games, Wii U automatically opts for this set-up on HDMI – whether the user wants it or not.

“While we think it’s a logical way to proceed, the fact is that some Wii gamers prefer to utilise 576i. PAL-optimised titles may take a hit to frame-rate, but they make up for it with around 17 per cent more resolution.

“What is clear is that the choices users had on their older hardware have been taken away from them on Wii U when there’s absolutely no reason that the software couldn’t have been designed to keep everyone happy.”

So it seems that PAL games are being locked into a particular resolution, regardless of options available within the original title. The report also discusses the long and drawn out process of transferring data over from your original Wii to Wii U.

“Other back-compat issues surface when dealing with the Virtual Console. For starters, transferring purchases across from the Wii to the Wii U is a bizarrely involved procedure.

“The process involves downloading the transfer tool on both your Wii U and the old Wii. You then have to prepare the SD card (with at least 512MB of space on it) on the Wii U and then insert it into the old console. The transfer tool then copies all of your data (Miis, purchase history, downloads, save games) to the SD card.

“You then have to put it back in the Wii U and copy all of the data back over. Weirdly, you need to have internet access in order to complete the process.

“One of our colleagues was hugely frustrated by always failing at the last stage of this drawn-out operation, with the Wii U itself offering no explanation whatsoever for what the issue may have been, and network issues turned out to be the problem.

“Also a little irritating is that despite shipping a console with 32GB of flash, onboard Wii storage limits are the same palty 512MB we had to put up with on the original hardware.”

32 thoughts on “Wii U PAL Backwards Compatibility Won’t Upscale To HD”

  1. Who fucking cares? It’s not like its even going to look that much better, most people probably wont notice it, it’s going to be in HD, like a HD re-release. Digital Foundry being anal as usual, next story please.

    1. It’s not in HD it looks worse on wii u. I’m just after putting in metroid prime trilogy and my tv says its in 1080p but the game doesnt take up the whole screen area of the tv. Even on 16:9 I still get black bars on either side

  2. I noticed that on my WiiU… The picture displayed looks more like what 576i looks on Wii, instead of 480p that I get over my component cable. As a result, the Wii mode on the WiiU delivers an overall lesser display quality, than my old Wii over component. And there is no way to change settings whatsoever in Wii-mode on WiiU. Therefore I will NOT tranfer my Wii data over to the WiiU… yet.

    1. I’m just after putting in metroid prime trilogy and my tv says its in 1080p but the game doesnt take up the whole screen area of the tv. Even on 16:9 I still get black bars on either side

      1. Thats another issue…. The WiiU seems to use different display modes in Wii menu and Internet Browser/eshop, so I have to switch constantly to Overscan/Zoom to get rid of the black bars.

  3. The wii u definatley makes wii games look better i was comparing them the other day i dont know why possibly because the wii u is through hdmi but it is an improvement.

    1. Nope.. as I stated above…. Wii 480p over component cable looks better than whatever the WiiU upscales over HDMI in Wii mode… At least on my Television..

      1. I don’t think so. I’ve been playing with compnent cables on my Wii for AGES, and I definitely noticed a huge difference with HDMI on Wii U. Better colours, pictures doesn’t look as jaggy as before. Yeah, much better.

        1. Don’t confuse component cable with composite (the ones that com with the wii). With component cables (3 jacks for video instead of 1 that composit has) it outputs 480p that looks pretty darn good on hd televisions. The WiiU though, seems to upscale 576i instead of the progressive signal, and the picture seems a bit jaggier and definatly lower res overall.

    2. It looks worse for me on wii u. I’m just after putting in metroid prime trilogy and my tv says its in 1080p but the game doesnt take up the whole screen area of the tv. Even on 16:9 I still get black bars on either side

  4. Really, is it that serious to upscale wii games to HD. Not to mention the data transfer process is the same for EVERY regional Wii U. These guys and their technical reviews/criticism is starting to annoy me

  5. Where did all of a sudden these digital foundry goofs sprout from. Talk about butt hurt xbots, that know now that Nintendo being HD has taken away any solace of entitlement the thought thy had. The Wii U and the PS4 whether we like it or not are the true number 2 and 3 next generation consoles behind the awesome 3DS; Vita is 4th incase you were wondering :).

    1. its all about the hits man, hating Nintendo in every way promotes people websites, people don’t care about Nintendo or their fans, it all about the money and the hits on their site.

      1. The world needs to spark a revolution, it’s good that apart from some idiotic American sites, except IGN now, real media and the majority of gamers, the rest of the world really know the greatness of America. As seen by the tens Skyward sword received :).

    1. Where are you located my friend. It’s nice that finally NTSC regions also benefit from goodness for once. This is Nintendo, you updates for HD quality Wii games should be on their way, patience :).

    2. it’s not really an issue with the upscaling as far as i understand from the source but rather an issue with how the signal output is now limited to 480p where on wii you could use 576i with a hit on framerate (25 Hz interlaced) but improved resolution

      upscaling is no issue anyway since if the wii-u doesn’t do it then the TV will
      if your TV shows that the input signal is 1080p then that’s what the wii-u is scaling it up to

  6. Hope they can fix scaling issues via an update. I would like my Wii games to look as good as the 480p on Wii or better when playing on the Wii U in HD. Yeah it’s not the most important issue but, yeah :|

  7. I doubt that I myself would notice any difference in clarity anyways, since I never even saw any difference between the component cable and AV cable on the Wii.

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