New firmware update adds features to Wii Shop

Posted by Mark Raby

Redmond (WA) - The most rarely updated console of the big three, the Wii today received a new firmware upgrade to add a few tweaks to the system's Internet-powered features.

The firmware update was almost exclusively linked to the Virtual Console outlet in the Wii Shop channel, an outlet for users to buy emulated versions of games from classic Nintendo systems.

The digital download store now lets users search for games by publisher or genre, in addition to lists sorted by platform and most recent additions.  Also, users can enter a text search that scans the entire library of over 100 Virtual Console games.

The other addition is a list of most popular games.  At the time of the new firmware's debut, Mario and Zelda titles comprised eight of the spots in the top 10 list, with the Nintendo 64's Paper Mario taking the lead.

Users can now also add points from any menu in the Wii Shop by clicking the Wii Points link at the bottom of every page.

Additionally, the Wii Weather channel was slightly updated, letting users see current conditions directly from the console's main menu.  The update also added a clock display at the bottom of the Wii menu.

Unlike the PS3, Xbox 360, and PSP, none of the Wii system updates have been mandatory.  Users who want the new features can upgrade the firmware from the console's "settings" menu.