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

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."

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15 comments

  • tehtimeisnow - November 16, 2012 1:44 a.m.

    this thing will fale b4 it even hits thte stores cuz custamers r smart now and just by the superier ipad cuz wiiu sucks and for that money u can just get a ipad with like twice the memery and way so much more beter games that only costs a doller
  • TheElephantManchurianCandidate - November 16, 2012 1:59 a.m.

    That post gave me cancer...
  • Shadow Of Death - November 15, 2012 8:05 p.m.

    Is it absolutely essential that the external HDD be powered by a secondary power cable? Even if it is a USB powered one?
  • Z-man427 - November 15, 2012 6:36 p.m.

    I don't get why, if memory is so cheap (which it is), they couldn't have managed bigger HDDs. Especially with them planning to have DLC available. They want to provide a more affordable platform to consumers, but they forget that not everyone has spare externals laying around so we would have to shell out that money anyway. *sigh*
  • gopikmin - November 15, 2012 6:48 p.m.

    it's a SSD. SSD get quite expensive with more size, a lot more than HDD.
  • tompie - November 16, 2012 10:43 a.m.

    They could've gone with a small SSD + a larger HDD Would've been better than forcing all your customers to buy a HDD imo
  • Z-man427 - November 16, 2012 10:43 a.m.

    I get that SSDs are more stable, but to be honest, I don't really get why that had to that route when in a console, a standard HDD would suffice.
  • CrashmanX - November 16, 2012 2:33 p.m.

    Load times is what it really comes down to. The load time between a standard 7200RPM HDD is actually noticeably slower than a SSD of the same size. Much like with a CD/DVD/BD drive compared to being on the HDD/SSD.
  • Fox_Mulder - November 15, 2012 8:22 p.m.

    I know right, if memory is so cheap, then why can't they spare some money on it?
  • brickman409 - November 15, 2012 5:26 p.m.

    does anyone know if you can use any external hard drive, or does it have to be a special nintendo brand HDD?
  • KnowYourPokemon - November 15, 2012 5:45 p.m.

    You know, I completely forgot about that. And yeah external hard drives do work form what I remember Nintendo saying.
  • KnowYourPokemon - November 15, 2012 4:04 p.m.

    And this is my one real criticism of the WiiU. Even though I don't buy or install digital copies of console games if I have the option to have a physical disc, I know plenty of people do. Hopefully there's the possibility later on of being able to get more storage space...
  • Tjwoods18 - November 15, 2012 3:34 p.m.

    Who needs 2 TB on a Wii? Ps3 or 360 I understand, but not a Wii
  • Salnax - November 15, 2012 3:52 p.m.

    The Wii U will be able to download retail games. One of them will be 16 GB.
  • Moondoggie1157 - November 15, 2012 6:32 p.m.

    Well seeing as the Wii U game disks can (apparently) hold 25 gigs, 2 TB might not be a bad idea for those with a large digital library.

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