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Nintendo showcases Wii U system improvements during Nintendo Direct

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During a Nintendo Direct event this morning, the company showcased some upcoming improvements for the Wii U console set to hit this month through a system update.

Increasing the system software's sluggish performance has been a goal for the company, as president Satoru Iwata said in a Japanese Nintendo Direct last December. According to Polygon's own tests, a Wii U system update from early December increased load times for some programs by as much as five seconds. Nintendo foreshadowed the upcoming changes in a video late last month that touted the increased speed of the console's system software before and after the update.

In addition to reducing load times when switching software and returning to the Wii U menu, the update will allow users to copy and move data between USB drives, set the console to boot directly into Wii mode and have software automatically install in the background while they're playing a game.

The Wii U Virtual Console will launch the day after the system update is released, said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. Nintendo is working to bring Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64 titles to the Virtual Console.

Nintendo will also release a free demo for the Wii U Panorama View application, which lets users control the Wii U GamePad to get a first-person view in tours of locations around the world. Individual tours will sell for $2 each.