Recent updates to YouTube have apparently caused a conflict with the Wii U web browser, which is currently unable to load videos directly from the video-streaming site. When users try to start videos, they get a blank black image in the player and the usual play buttons do not appear on the Wii U GamePad.
The problem is suspected to lie in YouTube’s HTML5 configuration, as Wii U is not compatible with Flash, one of YouTube’s other video formats. YouTube videos can still be played in the browser, but the videos must be embeds and not played directly from the original video URL.
We’ve duplicated the issue and can confirm a solution. You can switch to an embedded player by changing the “watch?v=” portion of the video URL to “embed/”. This will open the player in its own window, and still allows you to move the video to the TV and continue browsing on the GamePad.
Hopefully YouTube will resolve this issue soon so that videos will play again without this workaround.