Nintendo Explains The Wii U's Storage Options In The Strangest Way Possible

The Wii U will finally let Nintendo users download full-size games to a Nintendo console (legally!) but today we learned about the pros and cons of how Nintendo will let people do this. There are some catches that you probably want to know about if you think there's any chance you'd be downloading the next Super Mario or Zelda to the Wii U.

We're going to be getting technical here, but this is a new console. Better to go in fully informed. This info comes from a Nintendo Direct video that aired last night in Japan. First, you might be wondering which Wii U console you should get: the Basic or the Premium? The Basic Set has 8GB of Flash Memory, while the Premium Set has 32GB.

But, it's not so cut and dried. Tonight, Nintendo explained all of this with coloured beads, glass bins, and a headless lady.

If you actually format and use the Wii U, the Basic Set has 7.2GB of available Flash Memory, while the Premium Console has 29GB of real Flash Memory.

When you first use the Wii U, the console takes up a certain amount of memory for things like your account data, etc. The amount of memory that is initially required -- of either the Basic or Premium -- is 4.2GB. Yes, that seems rather large.

That means, if you are buying the Basic, you don't have 8GB of available memory. Heck, you don't even have 7.2GB. You have 3GB available for the Basic; in comparison, the Premium Set has 25GB of available memory.

And what does that mean? Well, you will be able to store New Super Mario Bros. U on the Basic. It's about 2GB large.

You wouldn't even be able to store a 3.2GB game like Nintendo Land on the Basic. And both? Not happening.

Bear in mind that Wii U game discs hold 25GB of data each. If a developer fills one of those discs, their game would barely fit on a deluxe. Big DLC map packs and such? Forget that internal memory. This is not a surprise, though. Nintendo has said all along that you'd want an external drive.

Both consoles can be connected to external USB memory, which enables owners to store all of their games and content. (Both consoles can also be connected to external hard disk drives that are up to 2TB).

But there are some sticklers in the details: if it's a plug-in hard drive, you can connect it to the Wii U. If it's a portable hard disk drive that is supposed to be powered by the console, you will need to get a Y-cable to use it.

It is possible to use a USB Flash Memory drive; however, Nintendo does not recommend it as the drive's cycling capability can impact gameplay. So whether you are getting the Basic or the Premium, you are definitely going to need an external hard drive.

Wii U本体機能 ちょっと補足 Direct 2012.11.14 [Nintendo]


    I'm glad Nintendo isn't charging extra for storage. Allowing up to a 2tb external hard drive is an excellent idea. Then users can select how much they need.

      agreed... paying over $100 for a 320gb hdd for an xbox is a joke (not that i've done it)... so being able to use any drive is awesome

      i'm just wondering if it will end up being the downfall for piracy though :\ gamecube and wii were both easily hacked... it looks like they've put some effort in this time but this could be the weak point

        Sigh... The Xbox does allow usage of an external hard drive

          Nope, only USB's up to 16gb in size.
          was only 8 until very recently, too.

            correction... it was 16gb to start... its just been increased to 32gb :)

            but for some that isn't enough... which is when you have to go and buy the microsoft hdd's (or just have a console with a decent hdd in the first place like i do - 1 x 250 and 1 x 320)... unless you have massive balls and trust the knock offs on ebay of course lol

            Last edited 16/11/12 8:07 am

        I think the WiiU may actually be quite difficult, because you'd need to include support for the gamepad in your hack. On top of that, Homebrew for Wii was so simple because it was just done through a simple SD card, no tinkering with any hardware.

    The USB HDD is a little cumbersome but at least you have the option. I'd be shocked going into next gen that at least one of the other two will be sporting propriety storage devices.

    So, games aren't read from the disc during play any more? Perhaps they should have used USB 3.0, or even better, eSATA, instead of USB 2.0. Then we could probably attach our own external SSD, and everything would load *really* fast.

      problem is USB3 isnt common enough and esata is less so, nintendo are all about marketing to the masses with the Wii consoles, easily accessable and simple to understand, USB 2 being the most common makes more sense.

      Seriously who doesnt have at least a 2gb usb2 drive just laying around?

        I suppose you're right. It's nice to dream though.

        USB3 is backwards compatible so it would not matter. They should have put USB3

        True.. I have 3.. just laying around..

        The point is though.. if they are the ones who designed this thing.. they knew this was going to be a problem and that you would need external storage.. why? Why have they forsaken the basics of their own product in this way? This is not a portable console.. it's a lounge-room console.. pretty ridiculous to have only 32GB in the Premium model.. it should have been 320gb as a minimum.

          Isn't the 32GB solid state? If so, it makes sense as to why they didn't go bigger.

        USB3 is the new standard. It's just that its not common enough *yet*. I can remember when USB 2 first came out and USB 1.1 was still the predominant format and people said the same thing. It took a few years but it got to the point where everything was USB 2. Give it a little while, a year or 2, then everything will be USB 3, then eventually USB 4 etc etc on and on....

    @ Faetan : Which also in turn would have upped the price, you have to remember that Nintendo always try to find that line between price and accessability.

    As much as i'd love USB3 (all my drives are 3) its a fine line for console dev's to please everyone and make a good price point.

    Last edited 15/11/12 1:06 pm

    Does that mean when I use a Y cable I have to plug it in to the Wii U with both ports?
    As in 2 USB ports will be used up ?

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