Wii U Owners Bummed Out By Huge Firmware Update

Wii U Owners Bummed Out By Huge Firmware Update

That’s a progress bar one-eighth full after 30 minutes — a four-hour process at this rate — for the Wii U’s infamous firmware update, said to be 5GB (according to Geoff Keighley of GameTrailers TV, and repeated by numerous others). Sony, you are officially off the hook with the PS3’s interminable, poorly timed and mandatory system updates.

It’s not like Nintendo’s just fixing typos in the help file either. This update lets you access online features, transfer data from a Wii, visit the Miiverse and use other online features. So, basically, you’re bringing home an unassembled bicycle, and depending on your Internet connection speed, it could be between one and four hours before that battle station is fully operation. Expect this story to resurface again around Christmas morning.

When it does, expect it to bubble up where it did last night: Twitter, everyone’s forum of first resort for complaining. We’ve collected some voices of frustration for your information and amusement, beginning with the person who supplied that picture above, @LouisLamarche

Fun fact, Louis, the San Andreas Fault slipped 0.17 millimeters in the time this update took.

This was the big scandal kicking off the topic. Ben Fritz writes for the L.A. Times. His update was so slow, evidently he thought his machine had frozen, so he shut it off. It’s now completely inoperable, unless there’s a recovery mode. Yes, that raises the question of what happens if the power goes out in the four-hour span of a Wii U firmware update. My advice: get a UPS and don’t update during a hurricane.

Make that three, Ben.

Make that three, Julien.

Good thing they’re not sharing this conversation over Miiverse. Oh, that’s right, nron10 can’t access Miiverse yet.

This guy obviously has a white Wii U. I hate to say it, my friend, but this is your answer, and it probably explains why NintendoLand is not offered to basic model owners.

Don’t know how this guy is pegging it at 4.7GB — there seems to be no way to expose how big the firmware update is. But most Tweets put the size of this monster at 5 GB.

Your campout begins when you get home, @comet5o4.

Yeah, try talking to @LouisLamarche. Compared to you, he’s getting 0s and 1s by carrier pigeon.

Yeah, well, that’ll be me, whenever my machine arrives from Toys ‘R Us.

Top image: @LouisLamarche


  • The good thing about updating the PS3 firmware is that i can download it on my PC hundred times faster, and install it by usb.

    Not sure the Wii U can do this but it would be a handy feature to have.

    • Downloading to PC first also means the window for bricking your console due to power failure during the update is also much smaller.

      I just get PS+ to do it while I’m not using the console. Occasionally have to wait for it if I happen to use the console before PS+ gets around to doing it. But even then it usually only takes 5 – 10 minutes, so I really don’t understand why people complain about it so much. Or maybe I’m getting really good download speeds at my house or something.

      • I don’t understand, how is the window smaller? The time the update takes to install is the same. The system downloads the update then installs it, it doesn’t install while downloading.

        A 5GB patch is just absurd. This issue is worse than servers for a game being down on launch. People will eventually forget about that. However, with this, everytime someone buys a Wii U they’ll have to endure this update.

        • Hmm yeah that’s a good point actually, I guess it probably wouldn’t brick if it shut down during the download. Oh well. That’s what I get for commenting before I’ve woken up 😛

          • Well, to be fair, if my console was on for 4 hours downloading a patch, I would get pretty anxious watching the thing actually start to install.

          • Although come to think of it, there were a few people mentioned in the article who shut down or tried to restart the console during the download and got it bricked. So as ad mentions below, maybe it is doing something during the download that can actually result in it getting bricked.

            I wonder if this is due to the lack of storage in the console? I.e. if it needs 5GB or whatever for the download and then possibly a similar amount of space to actually install into then there might not be enough space, so instead it has to install as it goes?

          • I seriously hope it doesn’t install as it downloads. I can’t imagine they’d be that crazy.

          • Well I guess it might not be an issue of craziness so much as being the only possibly solution given the size of the update and the amount of available storage.

          • They need to be able to update 8GB consoles. If the existing firmware takes up 4.2GB of storage, a 4.7GB or 5GB update isn’t going to fit in the remaining space.

            So unlike the PS3 they are probably downloading and updating in parallel, making it much more dangerous to turn off the system mid-download.

      • Thing is, the window for bricking should only be during installation. Downloading the update is just that – downloading.

        Maybe the Wii U is installing as it goes? Very bad idea…

  • Well I got mine an hour ago at gamestop (west coast) and started the update. I started monitoring the bandwidth of the wii u through my router. My update is just about half way and it’s only at 200MB down so far, meaning people stating .88 GB or 4-5 GB are way off. From what I’m seeing it’s around 400MB. The problem is the slow server, my average speed so far is 300kb with a peak of 700kb on a 30Mb line. They are either throttling or else the servers are just way overloaded, mine keeps jumping all over from 0-700k but at least it seems to only be a half GB. Funny how many people are spreading false reports.

  • wow people love to complain….

    gee i wonder why the servers are slow….its release night you idiots!!! how many updates and games were being downloaded at once?

    • It’s reasonable to expect a playable system that’s complete when you buy it. This has been handled quite badly by Nintendo.

    • It’s a 5gb firmware update. Thats a pretty massive download, and apparently no matter when you turn off the machine during the update it will brick. Imagine if Windows did that.

      • 5gb for a firmware update…. is not a firmware update. I suspect this is infact a whole OS replacement of some variety???

  • 5Gb would be some peoples entire monthly limit… I pity the people that bought the basic wiiu as well, looks like their entire HDD will be consumed by this and maybe future updates.

    • “5Gb would be some peoples entire monthly limit”… like mine 🙁 Country town, wireless only etc etc so flaky net connection with low quota… I was seriously considering buyign a Wii U now I’m scared off! Could I even use the thing?

  • That is pretty poor.
    Regardless of system, I’d be pretty annoyed at having to D/L 5gb on launch day.

    I wonder if the Australian versions will ship with this updated firmware or are we expected to download a large update when we get the system home as well?

    • The system is already sitting in Nintendo AU’s warehouse apparently. Anyone telling you it’s 5gb is out of their minds.. The servers are just slow is my guess.

  • Surely an update as big as that would make Nintendo think “Some people in a country with less developed internet might not want to waste 5GB on a system update; maybe we should offer it on a CD to people if they call support”?

    If not….then….well…that sucks…..

  • Well I’m getting mine for Christmas so hopefully the consoles then will already have the firmware on there. If I was getting it today in America I wouldn’t be complaining as the console wouldn’t of come out today if they had to delay production to put this update in.

  • There is no way it’s 5 gigs, I’m sorry that’s bigger than every mobile/console OS and half of windows! I’d say its taking so long that people are just guessing the size based on. That fact alone.

    Have these people opened the right ports on their routers? How many are downloading this firmware at once? So many factors. And who the hell turns off their device during an update? How many damn devices tell you not to do that – and I bet the Wii U does too. /shakes head.

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