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Nintendo’s Wii U GamePad to Play Old Wii Games, Company Says

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Have a ton of Wii Virtual Console games? No need to purchase new versions for the new Wii U.

Nintendo’s Wii U, successor to the groundbreaking Wii, has been confirmed for release this holiday season, with plenty of bells and whistles -- both to set it apart from the competition and attempt to change the world of gaming all over again. More information has been revealed after Tuesday’s Nintendo E3 conference in Los Angeles.

In an interview with ABC News, Scott Moffitt, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Nintendo, said that in addition to Wii discs being backwards compatible on the new Wii U, digital game collections purchased over the Wii Virtual Console will also be transferable over to the Wii U, likely remaining at standard definition.

Fans who have purchased libraries of old games will not lose their downloaded game titles when they decide to upgrade to the new system, a decision in line with how Apple’s iTunes store operates regarding digital downloads of game apps. Moffitt said that there will be a bit of restructuring of how their login IDs/accounts work with the Wii U; he says, “You will have an individual account based system. Each member of your family might have their own account.”

Each player will have saved gaming preferences, but it is unclear how Wii Virtual Console collections will be assigned to an account for ownership transfers on the Wii U eShop at this point.  If this backwards compatibility continues through the next generation of systems, fans may never have to repurchase old games again. That may change if games are reintroduced in high definition (Wii, unlike its competitors, produced standard-definition video), but Nintendo has said nothing on that yet.

Also announced Tuesday: The Wii U will feature stereo sound and allow up to two controllers to connect to and interact with the console at once for a dual GamePad experience.

ABC News has learned that there are no brightness controls for the touch screen Wii U GamePad controller, which might have been a good option for saving batteries. This is in line with how other Nintendo handhelds operate; the Nintendo 3DS offers no control over screen brightness. Players will have the ability to charge their wireless GamePad controllers using a GamePad cradle that will come with the system, according to Moffitt, so anyone worried about running low on juice during extended gameplay can rest easy.

ABC News has not confirmed the camera quality on the Wii U, so whether it is HD capable or standard definition like the cameras aboard the Nintendo 3DS remains to be seen.

Of the 23 upcoming game titles featured in Tuesday’s presentation, some standouts included the very high definition “Pikmin 3,” “New Super Mario Bros. U” with a focus on co-op improvements, and third-party franchises long missing from Nintendo systems, including “Mass Effect 3,” “Batman: Arkham City” and “Assassin’s Creed 3.”

Nintendo also introduced “Nintendo Land,” a mini-game theme park of Nintendo properties that will be a “Wii Sports” style introduction to the new Wii U system.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio