The Wii U's Virtual Console will be made available as part of a wider system firmware update sometime this spring. It will bring with it an as-yet unspecified selection of Nintendo and Super Nintendo games, with Game Boy Advance games to be added in the future. Much like the 3DS Virtual Console, Wii U Virtual Console titles will include the ability to create restore points (Nintendo's fancy name for save states) at any time during gameplay. Wii U Virtual Console games will also support off-TV play on the Wii U GamePad -- a feature long requested by Wii U owners -- as well as the ability to map Wii U GamePad button functions however you want. Finally, each Wii U Virtual Console game will have its own Miiverse community, where players can share screenshots, messages, and tips.
Games will be priced exactly the same as they have been on the Wii Virtual Console the past several years; that is, $5-6 for Nintendo games and $8-9 for Super Nintendo games.
Special discounted prices will be available for those who already own Virtual Console titles on the Wii. Once you have transferred your Wii Virtual Console titles over to your Wii U, you will be able to re-download their Wii U Virtual Console versions (with off-TV play, restore points, button-mapping support, and Miiverse functionality) from the eShop for just $1 (NES games) or $1.50 (Super NES games). This, of course, only applies to titles that are available on both the Wii U and Wii Virtual Consoles.
Unfortunately, games for other systems that are supported on the Wii's Virtual Console, such as the Nintendo 64, SEGA Genesis, and TurboGrafx-16, will not be available -- at least for the time being. Iwata asked for Nintendo fans' understanding with regard to this point, noting that the Wii has had years to build up a large library of Virtual Console titles across multiple systems, and that simply making all of these titles available on the Wii U Virtual Console at once was not possible for various reasons. Smart money says these "reasons" have to do with rights, licensing, and compatibility issues.
Current Wii U owners can "preview" the console's upcoming Virtual Console functionality by downloading NES title Balloon Fight for a mere 30 cents, available now on the Wii U eShop as part of a promotion celebrating the Nintendo Famicom's 30th anniversary.