Whenever new game hardware is released, there's always the possibility that backward compatibility will get cut and all those old games will be rendered useless (unless you keep the old consoles). The still-fresh Wii U can play old Wii games, but not GameCube ones, but there might be hope for gamers looking for nostalgic replays!
Speaking with NintendoGal, Nintendo's Director of Entertainment & Trend Marketing at Nintendo of America, Amber McCollom, flat out said, "GameCube discs will not be compatible with Wii U, but a number of the games that were playable on GameCube can be downloaded from WiiWare."
Of course, WiiWare, being the digital store for all current Nintendo games. Higher Nintendo bosses such as Satoru Iwata, Reggie Fils-Aime or even video game god Shigeru Miyamoto have yet to comment on that, but it seems rather unfeasible that McCollom, a veteran at Nintendo for eight years would just drop that bit of knowledge so candidly if it didn't hold some kind of truth.
In recent press events, Nintendo's been mum on the Wii U online structure, but did vaguely imply that it was stepping its game up with a plan that would be akin to the 360's Xbox Live and PS3's PlayStation Network.
A beefier digital download store would be a great start. The Xbox 360 can already download old Xbox games through Xbox Live and the PlayStation 3 has a library of old PS1 classics (no PS2 games) on the the PlayStation Store. If the Wii U can play legit digital copies of old GameCube games, the console might have more bite to it than its funky tablet-like controller.
The other tidbit revealed regarding the Wii U is the fact that most games are expected to run in 1080p by default. Sony was the first to tout full HD way back at the PS3's launch, but as we've seen, most games are developed to run at the lower 720p resolution in favor of a faster frame rate. Not quite the splash that Sony was hoping to make, as a major advantage of the PS3 over the Xbox 360, but it's still important to graphic enthusiasts.
We'll see how developers and gamers react to the Wii U when it makes its way out later next year.