Nintendo has released a critical update for its Wii U console which will improve loading times and bring a number of new features.

Sluggish performance has been a constant issue since the innovative console's launch late last year.

While noted for its innovative touchscreen controller and retro-inspired games, the console has suffered from reports of long loading times and a perception of half-baked software.

The update - Nintendo's second since launch - can improve load times by 31% according to reports.

Power-up times improve from 15 to 10 seconds, while opening system settings goes from 13 to 8 seconds.

It also allows users to copy and move data between USB drives, and set the machine to load into the original Wii menu if they wish.

Games will also download in the background now, and the internet browser gains more options.

Nintendo this week announced a marginal profit after another tough year, in which the Wii U underperformed even lowered sales targets. But with a new line-up of games including version of Mario Kart and Zelda being readied for a May-June reveal, it is still possible the Wii U will find a second burst of enthusiasm.