The Wii U's massive update that runs after booting the hardware won't be bundled in the console for at least a few months.
Speaking to Gamasutra in an interview published today, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said that the out-of-the-box update will be pushed out over the Web for the next few months. After that, Nintendo will install it in its Wii U hardware before shipping consoles to store shelves.
When the Wii U launched last month, gamers were surprised to find that they needed to download a massive update delivering many of the features -- online services and Wii backward compatibility, among others -- that were expected to be available without any such patch. Although debate rages over the size of the update, it takes about an hour or more, depending on connection speeds, to fully download onto the device.
"Nintendo developers want to make sure that the very best product is available to consumers," Fils-Aime said in the interview. "That creates a dynamic where our developers are working on elements until the very last point possible. That's why the system update was required on Day One - and this is quite similar to what's happened with other consumer electronic products."
Fils-Aime's boss, Nintendo Chief Executive Satoru Iwata, had a bit of a different take on the update. In an interview with IGN last week, Iwata apologized for the update, saying it's not something he would have liked to have seen happen.
"Personally I think that users should be able to use all the functions of a console video game machine as soon as they open the box," Iwata told IGN in an interview published last week. "So I feel very sorry for the fact that purchasers of Wii U have to experience a network update which takes such a long time, and that there are the services which were not available at the hardware's launch."
The Wii U's most conspicuous omission was TVii, a feature allowing owners to interact with their television programming from the GamePad. That feature is expected to launch this month.
Despite that and the long update, Nintendo isn't having any trouble selling its Wii U. In an interview with CNET last week, Fils-Aime said that the console is selling out as soon as it hits store shelves.
"Wii U is essentially sold out of retail and we are doing our best to continually replenish stock," Fils-Aime said. "Retailers are also doing their best to get the product to store shelves. But as soon as product hits retail, they're selling out immediately."