Wii U's memory limits, external solutions explained by Nintendo

Basic Wii U has 3 GB of space available for downloads

The Wii U comes in two flavors with very different storage--but according to new information released by Nintendo, digital enthusiasts will likely need more room regardless. Nintendo broke down storage options for the new console in its Japanese Nintendo Direct broadcast (translated by Kotaku) last night.

The first thing to remember is that formatted storage units always differ in memory from their advertisements. So the 8 GB Basic Wii U actually has 7.2 GB to work with, and the 32 GB Deluxe Wii has 29 GB. Then we need to factor in space for its operating system: 4.2 GB of it.

This leaves about 3 GB available on the Basic and 25 GB on the Deluxe. Now when we take into account game sizes, with New Super Mario Bros. U weighing in at about 2 GB and Nintendo Land at 3.2 GB, we see that the Basic really is basic when it comes to memory: just enough space for the former but a bit too tight for the latter.

We don't know how much space other downloadable games will take up, but Wii U discs reportedly hold 25 GB, so a game that fills a disc entirely will also fill a Deluxe Wii U.

That's where external memory comes in: the Wii U can support external hard drives up to 2 TB large, though they need either an external power source or a Y cable to receive proper power. Nintendo of America vice president of sales and marketing Scott Moffitt told GamesIndustry International memory was intentionally limited to avoid overcharging non-digital customers.

"[P]rices on memory have come way down and it's really affordable. For gamers who want and need that in their system, it's very cheap and inexpensive to add that on, so for us it didn't make a lot of sense to force all gamers to buy a system with high levels of memory when some of those gamers have no intention of downloading games or of utilizing that," Moffitt said. "So we chose a strategy that offered a better value to consumers, allowed us to have a price point that was really affordable and accessible and not force people to pay for something that they weren't going to use."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

One of GR+'s news crew, Connor also writes features from time to time and does a lil' streamin'-streamin' on the side. Chrom is his husband and nothing will ever come between them.
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