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You'll need an external hard drive for that Basic Wii U
You'll need an external hard drive for that Basic Wii U
November 15, 2012 | By Mike Rose

November 15, 2012 | By Mike Rose
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    22 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



With the Nintendo Wii U due for launch later this week on November 18, those people who are planning to pick up the Basic edition will want to grab an external hard drive too - as the model comes with just 3GB of available space.

The Wii U Basic hardware touts 7.2GB of flash memory, while the Premium model offers 29GB. However, as part of a Nintendo Direct broadcast, and as translated by Kotaku, the console requires 4.2GB of that space for setting up your Nintendo Network ID and account data.

In other words, once the Wii U console is ready to go, the Basic offers just 3GB of space, while the Premium model has 25GB.

Put in the context of downloadable titles, New Super Mario Bros. U is around 2GB in size, while Nintendo Land is 3.2GB -- hence, the latter will not fit on the Basic model if downloaded. In comparison, Wii U retail discs can hold up to 25GB of data.

The solution, says Nintendo, is to purchase an external hard drive for the console. External hard drives of up to 2TB can be connected up to the Wii U, allowing users to store games and content for the console.

The Nintendo Wii U is expected to outperform its predecessor in its first few months on sale, although analysts warn that the new console will have a "major challenge" in keeping this momentum up.


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Comments


James Yee
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Da Frack?!?!

Basically you MAY be able to buy ONE friggin game for the thing? Unless you buy all disks of course and use the internal for saves only eh?

Luke Quinn
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So now that they are advocating using an external hard drive, how long before piracy becomes an issue?

E Zachary Knight
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People can already install 3rd party firmware on the Wii which allows the use of external hard drives. The process to do so is simple enough for a large chunk of Wii owners to do it successfully. Piracy is still not a major issue on the Wii.

For all the bluster from Nintendo about flash carts for the DS, those were still nto a major issue for the DS.

If you let Piracy be the driving force behind your choices as a hardware or software developer, you are going to do a lot of things that inconvenience your customers. Never a good idea.

Thom Q
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Pretty decent of them, right?

They could just make their own "USB" drives, that cost over a 100 euros for a 100gig, but they didn't..

Hakim Boukellif
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Not as nice as the PS3's easily replaceable internal SATA hard drive, but preferable over the 360's hard drives with custom firmware.

Eric Geer
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Any word on whether there will be an install required if you buy these games hard copy?

Maria Jayne
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3GB? wow....

David Holmin
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How is this different from the Arcade version of Xbox 360? It had 256 MB of storage, I think? The basic Wii U, like the Arcade 360, is simply not meant for installing retail games on. It's to store the OS and user data.

E Zachary Knight
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This is not really that different than the Wii. For most uses, the 512MB on the Wii was enough for system data, game saves and the occasional Channel. but any serious downloading of WiiWare and VC games required an SD card to be installed. The WiiU is just going from SD cards to external USB storage. Not a big deal. It also saves Nintendo the trouble of having to mass produce harddrives.

E Zachary Knight
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Anthony,

I think you are right. That is the fickle thing about storage space. Kind of frustrating, but at least Nintendo is trying to inform their potential customers of that limitation before they buy the WiiU.

I think it would have been better had Nintendo separated system storage from user storage though. 6Gig system storage plus 2 gig user storage would have been more honest, but not as market friendly.

David Holmin
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@Anthony

Yeah, I guess the confusion comes from the fact that Wii U puts the OS on the same memory as the user data. Saying it's 8GB is a lie, but saying it's 3GB is technically sort of a lie, too. At least they're putting out videos explaining it's only 3GB in practice. For an extreme comparison, Selling a Windows notebook with a 128GB SSD drive and advertising it as 128 is a lie, because Windows takes 5GB. The difference is in this case the OS isn't >50% of the space.

Harlan Sumgui
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maybe the "wow" comes from the fact that game devs cannot create games that require hdd installation of games; and therefore, are constrained by the read speed of the optical drive which will really hurt what developers are able to do.

Terrible long term decision by Nintendo if they really wanted 3rd party support for the next 5-6 years.

David Holmin
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@Harlan

I doubt that's where the wow comes from, but you make an interesting point. Maybe some of the OS space is dedicated for virtual memory? 4GB for the OS sounds really big.

Giro Maioriello
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Didn't the original premium Xbox 360 have a 20gb HDD, of which 13gb was actually usable as storage by the user?

Jeremy Reaban
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My supposed 20 GB Xbox 360 has only 13 gigs of usable space.

But in both cases, you can use USB sticks for more room at a fairly cheap price.

Giro Maioriello
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True. But this wasn't the case from day one for the 360 IIRC. It was the HDD or the official memory card.

Maria Jayne
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@ David

"I doubt that's where the wow comes from, but you make an interesting point. Maybe some of the OS space is dedicated for virtual memory? 4GB for the OS sounds really big."

Actually I was surprised the space was so tiny, I haven't played or owned a console since the SNES but I think the last time I had 3GB or less to play with was something like 1998.

Also the fact a console needs over 4GB for an OS seemed rather shocking. Considering it's being aimed at the next generation of consoles market and that next generation is surely to be more focused on downloading content as opposed to buying discs, it seemed a strange decision. Storage space isn't exactly at a premium these days is it?

David Holmin
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@Maria

Again, the Basic version isn't meant for "playing around" with the space. It's meant for playing games from their discs. That's my impression, at least. Stupid, maybe, but I'm not really surprised because the Arcade version of 360 did the same thing.

Merc Hoffner
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"NEED" and 'may consider' are two very different things. You 'MAY' try downloading titles in which case you'll probably need a hard drive/USB stick, but many users simply won't even choose to download fullblown titles. That being the case even 3GB is plenty for reams of save data before pushing you to upgrade, which is all you REALLy need to enjoy a system - Downloading titles just makes things convenient (or not as the case may be - I personally refuse to give up my rights to swap resell or lend items I've purchased that cost more than a few pounds).

Consider that the Wii had only 1/6th of this space and most people never ran into memory limit problems with everyday use.

Chris Hendricks
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This is true. I myself never ran into the memory limit... I still have many blocks to spare on the Wii, despite having about 15 games downloaded to it.

However, 2012 is not 2006. Will people have higher expectations for being able to download content in the near future?

A W
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Do you think Nintendo is going to offer a cloud service in the future that will kind kill the HDD need argument? I know they normally don't build business models around that kind of practice but it seem that things they are a changing for Nintendo.

Terry Matthes
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I wonder if the issue of having a non proprietary hard drive had anything to do with the somewhat recent catastrophes of hard drive manufacturers in east Asia? Just a thought...


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