Wii U storage is smaller than you think

Nintendo has detailed how space restrictions work on the Wii U, and you'll probably find its internal memory at a premium pretty quickly.

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We already knew about a large gulf between the internal storage of the Wii U's Basic and Deluxe models: 8 GB versus 32 GB. But Nintendo has revealed another wrinkle to the decision. After accounting for the firmware and the potentially large size of full digital games, space is probably going to run out rather quickly, especially for Basic users.

A new Nintendo Direct (via Kotaku) breaks down the details. As a starting point, the Basic has 7.2 GB of memory after formatting, compared to 29 GB for the Deluxe. But setting up (account data, etc) will take up 4.2 GB on its own, leaving the Basic at 3 GB of usable memory, and the Deluxe at 25 GB.

You can probably see the problem emerging. A game like New Super Mario U is doable on either system, taking up only a slight 2 GB of space. But at 3.2 GB, Nintendo Land won't fit on the Basic at all. That case is particularly problematic since the Basic is the set that doesn't come with Nintendo Land on a disc anyway. The Wii U disc capacity is up to 25 GB, which means that if a game takes full advantage of the disc storage, buying it digitally would use up all the space on your Deluxe.

The good news is you can use USB hard drives. If you have a USB flash drive, it's probably best to use it for storage of games you aren't actively playing. Plug-in hard drives will work fine, but a portable hard drive that needs a power source will require a Y-cable.

Simple, right? This all sounds a bit too confusing for the casual market that made the Wii a smash success. If managing storage space on the console is unwieldy, it might be hard for Nintendo to get them back.

Editor-In-Chief
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From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 14, 2012 12:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Wii U storage is smaller than you think.

    Nintendo has detailed how space restrictions work on the Wii U, and you'll probably find its internal memory at a premium pretty quickly.

    • reply
      November 14, 2012 12:23 PM

      My money's on them releasing a 100gb+ SKU in a year or so, and they'll throw some NES virtual console games to the early buyers to make up for it.

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        November 14, 2012 12:29 PM

        I may be wrong, but didn't they say that SD Card are supported? What about external USB HDD?

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          November 14, 2012 12:30 PM

          Forget it, that's what happens when you read the chatty BEFORE the article.

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          November 14, 2012 1:26 PM

          Yup to both.

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          November 14, 2012 2:12 PM

          Just as a heads up SD Cards are more for wii backwards compatability than anything else. You can't store wii u game saves or wii u games bought off the e-shop.

          External HDD is going to be essential down the road for both basic and premium users if you were looking to buy anything off of the e-shop.

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            November 15, 2012 2:02 AM

            Then again, seeing Big N's policy with online store, I can't see how purchasing digital copies of their games would be interesting.

            So far, WiiWare/Virtual Console never had any kind of special sales whatsoever.

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        November 14, 2012 2:39 PM

        Where will they store their NES virtual console games?

        :P

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      November 14, 2012 1:01 PM

      So what exactly takes up that much space? Also this is giving me flashbacks to the Core 360 coming out first and all the fun that caused down the line.

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        November 14, 2012 1:03 PM

        I do not think it will be a huge issue when you can just attach any USB hard drive.

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          November 14, 2012 1:12 PM

          It's an issue for developers who can't rely on every system having a basic amount of storage. Pretty sure it was an issue this generation with all those HDD-less systems out there.

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            November 14, 2012 1:37 PM

            Right, but all systems will at least have SOME storage. The only thing this would stop is large downloadable games which Nintendo obviously is ignoring since disc based releases larger than the 8GB system will be available for download.

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              November 14, 2012 1:48 PM

              The article is about how the basic model ends up with about 3gb of storage. That's not a lot for devs to work with.

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                November 14, 2012 1:52 PM

                It's enough for a DLC pack or two, but I agree, I think the 32GB model should've been in the basic version and 64GB or more in the Deluxe, but them's the breaks. I had already been planning on getting a USB HDD for it as soon as I needed it.

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                  November 14, 2012 2:11 PM

                  Yeah I mean everyone here is going to be just fine, Shackers know what's up. But if this in any way affects developers who have to meet the lowest common denominator, it's sad because really in this day and age why can't every console have a one giant ass HDD? Keeping costs down I guess, it just sucks.

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        November 14, 2012 1:09 PM

        The OS will be on that drive which I thing is shitty of them. If it's 8GB you should have 8 GB usable for the user. Not 3.

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        November 14, 2012 1:33 PM

        Wii U uses 25GB Blu-ray like discs, the 360 uses DVDs, so imagine it will be less of a problem on the Wii U.

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      November 14, 2012 1:05 PM

      I was planning on getting a 1TB USB drive anyway; I'm glad they haven't locked that down like MS.

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      November 14, 2012 1:05 PM

      It's really not too confusing for the casual player. They will buy their set and not worry about storage as they will primarily use disks.

      The Basic set is really the turnkey, disc based gaming console so I don't think it's too much of an issue. For those people wanting to download full games, they would have been expecting to have to get a drive anyway; even the Premium model owners.

      I agree that having only 3 left is a bit tight if you're a non-casual gamer that say, didn't want Nintendo Land and/or wanted white, but I think that will be a smaller number of people.

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        November 14, 2012 1:09 PM

        The way Nintendo is positioning the console with all the TV stuff and all the extra media and the online will be bigger I think that will lead people to a space they don't have and then off to spend 50-100 on a good size external.

        It is a shame because Nintendo could have put something substantial in the box, even to the level of the lowest current PS3 and people would never have to touch it, with 3gb there is a guarntee they will need addons.

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        November 15, 2012 9:20 AM

        This line of thinking gets me so frustrated. It is congratulating Nintendo for undercutting what probably would have been simple to add to their machine.

        Me buying/owning an external HDD doesn't make the amount of space in the WiiU ridiculous in 2012.

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      November 14, 2012 1:25 PM

      Has giantbomb opened there's yet and actually turned it on for the quicklook(s)?

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        November 14, 2012 1:28 PM

        Yep. They did an unboxing and scribblenauts at least.

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          November 14, 2012 1:38 PM

          No other games??

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            November 14, 2012 1:41 PM

            Not yet, but they definitely had discs for Mario, Nintendoland, and I think Zombie U

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        November 14, 2012 1:38 PM

        They are only allowed to show like ten minutes of gameplay in no larger than 30 second chunks, it is really weird. The two Wii U games they have shown have been Quicklook EXs which means the developer was running things.

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          November 14, 2012 1:49 PM

          If damn blockbuster still rented out consoles, I could borrow a Wii U for 2 days and finish Bayonetta 2 then not have to worry about the console anymore :(
          I miss rented out consoles.

          • reply
            November 14, 2012 1:53 PM

            There's a ma & pa rental place that still does that by me, I have no idea how they still exist part of me thinks they're a front for some korean mob

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