How to transfer Wii data to the Wii U

On November 18th, lucky fans will be able to upgrade to Nintendo's next home console: the Wii U. But, what happens to all the games, saves, and Wii Points they've accumulated over the years? Don't worry, it won't disappear into the ether. You'll be able to transfer data from the Wii to the Wii U--provided you have an SD card and two Wii Remotes.

Here's what you'll need in order to get the process started:

  • An operational Wii system and two Wii Remote controllers--one paired with the Wii console and one paired with the Wii U console
  • An SD or SDHC memory card with at least 512MB of free space
  • A broadband internet connection (both systems must be connected to the internet)

Here's what you'll be able to transfer from your old console to your new:

  • Wii software save data
  • WiiWare and save data
  • Virtual Console titles and save data
  • Add-on content
  • Wii Points
  • Wii Shop Channel account activity
  • Mii characters

Nintendo warns that once you transfer data off the Wii, it will be permanently deleted. It cannot be transferred back from your Wii U to your Wii. Essentially, by starting this process, you are formatting your Wii console.

You'll need both systems to be on and connected to your TV. If you're using an HDTV, you can use the HDMI cable included with the Wii U for one input, and the standard RCA cables for the Wii on another input. If you're using a standard definition TV, just swap the video cable from the back of one system to the other.

Then, follow these steps:

  • Insert the SD card into the Wii U console. Start the Wii Menu application and select Wii System Transfer. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Remove the SD card from the Wii U and insert the same SD card into the Wii. Open the Wii Shop Channel on the Wii and download the transfer application.
  • After the download is complete, select the transfer application. When the data transfer is complete, remove the SD card from the Wii and insert it back into the Wii U.
  • Confirm the message on the Wii U and select Transfer.

It's a bit cumbersome, as your account information is not stored in the cloud. Hopefully, transfers with future Nintendo consoles will be easier, now that every user will have a Nintendo Network ID.