Nintendo Wii U app spices up Google Street View

Like most systems today, Nintendo’s Wii U is designed to do more than simply play games.

Case in point? Nintendo recently introduced an app for the Wii U that leverages Google Map in a rather interesting way. Namely, using the motion-sensing touchscreen game pad, Wii U owners can launch the Google Maps app and browse panorama street view imagery in real-time on the controller.

While you’re looking at Street View level images on the controller’s small touchscreen, the main overhead view of the area can be displayed on the TV. You can also opt to use your big-screen TV to explore Street View images.

This feature is called Panorama View and also offers 360-degree videos that pan around the scene when controlled by the GamePad. During a recent demonstration, Nintendo chief Iwata showcased a trolley in London and a castle in Kyoto, Japan.

It’s not exactly clear if the Panorama View app is a separate download from the Nintendo Wii U Google Maps app itself or if it’s an integrated part of the Google app.

The Google Maps app will be available in Japan in Q1 of 2013. There is no specific launch date pegged for the app elsewhere, but presumably the software will turn up in roughly the same time frame in other countries.

Nintendo’s next-gen console is considered an industry success, having sold about 400,000 units the first week after launch.