Google Maps is now available as an app on the Nintendo Wii U, giving users the chance to access Street View through a combination of their televisions screen and the console’s 6.2-inch touchscreen controller.
The release was revealed as part of a Nintendo Direct presentation that was broadcast online a little earlier today. Users can download the app, called Wii Street U, to their system immediately through the homescreen of the eShop – Nintendo’s take on a digital marketplace.
The television, meanwhile, displays a top-down view of the map by default, as well as a small preview of the GamePad controller in the top right-hand corner. Pressing the X button, meanwhile, toggles the viewing mode on the television screen between the traditional map layout and a full-screen version of what is being shown on the GamePad. This is particularly useful when showing other people what you’ve discovered through Google Maps.
The left-analogue stick can be used to pivot on the linear viewing axis used in Street View, requiring the user to tap the screen either with the stylus or their finger to move in any given direction. It’s not the most intuitive control scheme, but it works reasonably well and rarely gave us any technical issues during testing.
The “Street View Guide” button located at the top of the GamePad can also be used to hide the blue and yellow viewing axis, while the icon next to it is used to switch the map on the television screen between a satellite picture and traditional map interface.
To select a new area to look at, users need to touch the ‘Map’ icon in the top left-hand corner, before typing in part of the address or place name into the text box on the controller. If you’re lacking inspiration, the app also has 72 recommended spots to try out, including the John F Kennedy Space Centre, the White House, and the Great Barrier Reef.
The new app, announced last December, was released earlier this month for Wii U owners in Japan. Wii Street U is free at the moment for a limited time, although today’s Nintendo Direct didn’t specify when it would become a paid app, or how it will eventually cost.