News Article

Nintendo Wii hard drive coming soon?

Posted by Darren Calvert

A recent press release from Nintendo makes interesting reading. In addition to news that the company's fortunes continue to soar there was also an interesting bit of information from company president Satoru Iwata in regards to the hot topic of the Wii's limited flash memory:

Q6 I am personally enjoying WiiWare and Virtual Console but feel Wii’s flash memory size is not enough and annoyed that I need to use a SD memory card. Will this situation be improved?

A6 Iwata: Statistically speaking, it is true that there are a small number of customers who feel that the flash memory is too small, while many others find that they have plenty of memory. However, because this small number of people are none other than the most avid players, we know we have to review the best possible solution to eliminate their inconvenience.

Whether this solution will come in the form of a hard drive or some sort of USB flash stick we don’t know. Perhaps it may just be a firmware update to allow for the direct use of SD cards. Whatever the big N come up with for all the avid Virtual Console gamers out there this is the news we all wanted to hear. The days of deleting and redownloading our VC games because of limited memory could soon be over! When WiiWare launches later this month the problem will only be exacerbated so the sooner this situation can be addressed the better.

We are glad that Iwata is listening to Nintendo’s fanbase, we can’t wait to see what fancy attachment Nintendo come up with to solve our memory woes.

Source: Nintendo Press Release

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User Comments (67)

ColorblindMonk

#1

ColorblindMonk said:

They should just update the firmware so that it reads memory from the SD card, without having to copy the data over from it to the system memory.

Rawk_Hawk

#2

Rawk_Hawk said:

I really do not want to delete Ocarina or Lords of Thunder to make space on my Wii. I hope Nintendo does something soon. It does feel good that Nintendo is listening to the avid players. They must realize when the VC was launched it would attract retro game collectors, who would want a lot of games.

Satans_Therapist

#3

Satans_Therapist said:

I hope that something comes out of these comments. With only a handfull of blocks I will not be downloading wii ware stuff as i am sick and tired of copying and deleting games around (even though i have a very fast sd card. At the moment this kills off the spontaneity of playing anthing i like.

diablos79

#9

diablos79 said:

Its not that nintendo are listening to us, this has more than likely been their business plan all along. firstly they sell the console cheap (compared to other consoles on the market) to install a big userbase and then bring out all the peripherals for it that people will need to continue enjoying the console later on which equates to more profit. micro$oft did the same thing recently with their new £159.99 360 price drop. you dont get a harddrive or any online capabilities with the console (which are pretty much essential to 99% of the games out there and so they still gain a profit from naive consumers who end up spending more in the long run. sorry to sound so cynical but unfortunatly thats how business works.

i8cookie

#10

i8cookie said:

small amount of people? he's nuts, there are loads of people that feel this is a problem, 512mb in this day and age is pathetic, a 4gb SD card is £8 and its only the size of a stamp. Pull your finger out of your rectum nintendo

toaster

#11

toaster said:

I don't mind "paying more in the long run" or buying peripherals and stuff like that.. I'll take whatever they give me.. the Wii totally kicks butt and I've been with Nintendo (like all of you) since I was real little and the NES was brand new (i remember my older brother bringing home the box and i was like..... what's that ? ) Whatever Nintendo thinks is good for me.... is.

Awesome news! Made my day!

shroomrobo

#13

shroomrobo said:

lol I guess the more we complaining bout it really helped, lol, but seriously this is some good news, can't wait for this, I will download the out of virtual console when this happens

Clayfrd

#14

Clayfrd said:

YES! FALCOWWWN PAUNCH! That's awesome! I really hope they make at least an external hard drive, or at the bare bones very least, instant SD support, or whatever you call it. SD cards seem pretty good about storing custom Brawl stages, so this certainly appears to be a reasonable reality.

Clayfrd

#15

Clayfrd said:

Oh, and I think you mean exacerbated, not exasperated. Exacerbate is to worsen, exasperate is to irritate or annoy. Wow, I can't beleive I have the chutzpah to correct VC Reviews, my best friends... You guys are my best friends, right?

Atlantis1982

#16

Atlantis1982 said:

>.> I still don't think it's needed, and it REALLY doesn't take TOO long to move stuff from Wii to SD card.

Tim

#18

Tim said:

A6 Iwata response sounds more like a brush off.

For me the only solution would be running software off of an sd card. I like the wii because its small. I don't want to tag on a big hard drive thats about the same size as the wii.

I don't really care anymore. My plan is to hold out for a few titles that I know I absolutely want and then not bother anymore with Nintendo and their limited space problem or WiiWare platform. The people who "find that they have plenty of memory" can support WiiWare.

rbtransformed

#19

rbtransformed said:

Tim, nicely put! That last statement made me "lol." I almost completely agree with you. I might buy a few things on WiiWare, but that's only if Nintendo gives us a reasonable means of storage. I'm not going to continue to temporarily delete excellent VC games just because they don't want to provide an alternative method.

btw, Dazza, thanks for the great news!

CopyofCopyX

#21

CopyofCopyX said:

I usally keep a copy all games on the SD card and when I delete one I can copy it back from the card.
At least it's faster than a new download.

Charco

#22

Charco said:

@Clayfrd "Oh, and I think you mean exacerbated, not exasperated. Exacerbate is to worsen, exasperate is to irritate or annoy. Wow, I can't beleive I have the chutzpah to correct VC Reviews, my best friends... You guys are my best friends, right?"

I was going to say this too! Well spotted. I was also going to mention: "Soon we may not have to delete and redownload games no more!" Double negative. It should read: Soon we may not have to delete and redownload games ANY more! God I am sad....
Great news by the way

Gameguardian

#24

Gameguardian said:

I long for the day when I can enjoy the games and not having to delete them all the time. It would be most satisfactory to have a HDD when Wiiware comes out in Europe and the US

Charco

#25

Charco said:

@sorry Daz, but I am a technical writer. I can't help it! Pass on our congrats to Damo and his partner from all VCR members!

Splutter

#26

Splutter said:

For Wii Ware to work right, and for us to get DLC on games such as Rock Band a hard drive could transform the way games are bought and played, please lets hope Nintendo don't wait and see for a whole generation like they did with online.

slangman

#27

slangman said:

About time. I only have about 380 Blocks left and i plan on downloading tons of games soon even games that take loads of memory like TurboDuo titles.

Roo

#28

Roo said:

I've actually stopped downloading VC games in fear of running out of memory! I don't understand all this SD Card business either!

Bensei

#29

Bensei said:

The Games aren't fully on your Wii, they get unpacked when you play. I don't see a great problem allowing to unpack games from your SD card to your Wii everytime you play, of course with warning you that it could take longer for the first loading.

tovare

#30

tovare said:

I hope it will be a simple firware upgrade to allow the use of SD cards. 2Gb SD cards are quite resonably prices, so as long as WiiWare releases keep their sizes at 2Gb or less it would work perfectly.

E-dawg

#31

E-dawg said:

This just might come true, don't expect to see it before Christmas though...

XCWarrior

#32

XCWarrior said:

It had better be here before Christmas, considering by that time WiiWare will be 7 months old and a lot more people's hard drives will be maxed out. I think they've realized most of the casual gamers are the same people that are barely computer literate (knowing word and internet only) and if the space maxes out, they will simply stop buying things because they will think if they delete something, it's gone forever.

Make an available hard drive, and people will buy them whether they need them or not.

Kirk

#33

Kirk said:

I hope the solution is something that is simple and easy to use. I figure being able to directly run games from SD cards, and possibly being able to use higher memory SD cards also, would be a good start.

I don't have a Wii but I assume you can save your VC games onto the SD card then you install them onto your Wii when you want to play them, or if there isn't enough room you delete one of the VC games that is currently on the system or move it to the SD card, then install the game you want to play. Is that correct?

E-dawg

#34

E-dawg said:

@XCWarrior
As much as what your saying is right, remember that they are only hinting at the idea of a hard drive at this stage (they were in complete denial not very long ago). So by the time it is completely thought out, finalised, produced and distributed, I'm afraid to say it won't be available until Christmas (especially If they want to catch the huge $$$ that they will earn in December...).

Bananiac

#35

Bananiac said:

Don't have a memory problem myself yet, as I don't have nearly enough time to play the few games I own already :-((((
However, I would really welcome the option to enhance disk space by some means. As I am somewhat of a collective soul, I can see the day when I will not be able any longer to resist the urge to archive all the great classics (and maybe some WiiWare gems that are due to show up!) for future generations! :-)
Enhancing the use of SD Cards would be my preferred choice, or maybe USB sticks, just as well. Flash RAM seems to be the future over HDD, but I really don't care as long as it becomes a workable solution!

MrPoo6321

#36

MrPoo6321 said:

Yeah, I really need an external hard drive for the wii. I was so pissed off that I had to delete star fox 64 to make room for smash bros. AND i've been holding off on purchasing mario kart because that creates a separate channel for online which means another game has to go.... they should let you install an external hard drive that comes with a firmware update that adds at least another 4 or 5 pages of channel windows. That would make me as happy as a little girl.

Rapadash6

#37

Rapadash6 said:

I have a feeling it'll be something similar to a USB flash drive, but will only work on the first system it's plugged into, to prevent piracy. I'm not expecting a 30 gig thing either, but rather something maybe about 8 gigs or so. That should be plenty, though, I'd think.

snabald

#38

snabald said:

The best solution would be a firmware update to be able to play VC and Wii-ware directly off of SD cards.

Phalyn

#39

Phalyn said:

"Statistically speaking, it is true that there are a small number of customers who feel that the flash memory is too small"

B*LLSH*T!!!! its not a small ammount of people, its just about EVERY person who owns a Wii. I love the Wii, to the point that I dance with it every day. I dont care that it doesnt have a DVD player, and I dont care that it doesnt have 1080 resolution (or 720 for that matter) the biggest reason I bought the Wii was for the VC.
I know other people have other complaintes, but the most common one is the lack of a Hard drive.

moom_andw

#40

moom_andw said:

a small number of customers? more like every freaking one of us!man,game company reps can be real duchbags sometimes.

Starwolf_UK

#41

Starwolf_UK said:

a small number of customers? more like every freaking one of us!man,game company reps can be real duchbags sometimes.
All the people I know IRL have no storage problem (and yes they do have VC titles) so yeah if it was everyone they would be effected.

I would say its a small number buts its certain set to grow if games are going to come with 70 block channel instals (optional but you'll want to) and 100+ block saves (yeah, Brawl <_<). And not to mention WiiWare

As for solutions, we won't hear anything till E3 for marketing reasons. Hopfully they'll remember about file compression as well (Iwata mentioned it at GDC, yeah file compression to game developers, a bit patronising) as that can implinented fast by game updates.

Phantom5800

#42

Phantom5800 said:

As long as whatever they release is a large enough storage device (at least a few gigs), I would buy it.

That_Guy_from_Faxana

#43

That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

Too early to celebrate, but I really hope Nintendo will solve the problem. I´m getting real picky with the games I download. That´s because I want to make sure there is enough space left for possible new Neo Geo games.

TomMc

#44

TomMc said:

The hard drive should be at least 120 gigabyte so you can download as many vc games and wii-ware games as you want!

smashter

#46

smashter said:

Who's willing to spend a large amount of money for something Nintendo should've given us in the first place? Something FREE, like a firmware update or patch, is more desirable.

Because remember, this is a mistake on Nintendo's part, so why should we pay for it?

rbtransformed

#47

rbtransformed said:

@smashter- good point, although I don't think Nintendo sees this as a mistake. They meant to only give us 512MB, because while that is enough to hold some people, those of us who spend a lot on the VC are more likely to pay even more out for a hard drive. I too would love a firmware update, but since they have potential customers who will buy an HD, they probably won't give us a free option.

smashter

#48

smashter said:

@rbt -
another good point as well. if that was the case, i would just end up deleting certain VC games, and never DL another VC game, in order to leave room for WiiWare titles.
For VC games, I believe there will be an increased number of ppl who instead use pirated roms on their PCs or NDS emulators (to which I have both but do not condone either!)

smashter

#49

smashter said:

one more important thing...

Nintendo does have the ability to release a free firmware patch...that's inevitable. So any site of a Wii hard drive translates into: MONEY GRABBER!!!

PS3 did it with USB, so Wii can with SD. They are trapped now! Thank you Sony!

NESgamer

#50

NESgamer said:

Don't jump to conclusions... it is pretty much in the air. And he even calls us (the ones that want more memory) a "small number", so take your guess.

I hope they make an external drive for it, because i want to keep downloading stuff, from VC and when Wii ware comes.

Bananiac

#51

Bananiac said:

Regarding that "small number": I don't think that the VC freaks like us here can muster a significant headcount compared to the "average" Wii customer. I'd say that about 80% of owners is happy as a pigeon in ... with the Memory situation as it is.
Remember that most of the people bying the Wii use it as a regular console, i.e. buy their games packed and DVDed (and maybe some WiiWare stuff as download sooner or later). But nothing to demand some serious system modification or upgrade HW wise.
But like Iwata said, it is the likes of us that are making the die hard fanbases, so I think it is good economic thinking to cater to their desires. I only hope Nintendo gets it right. There certainly must be a business case for this issue! I'll be curious to see how this ends up...

rbtransformed

#52

rbtransformed said:

@Smashter- Yeah, even though I really want a storage solution, if it involves too much money, I'll just stick to temporarily deleting games.

I'm confused about your Sony comment. Did Sony have an update for something pertaining to USB's? If so, then I see what you meant. I wouldn't say that they are trapped, but it certainly doesn't give them any reason not to give us an SD-related firmware update.

Drizzt

#53

Drizzt said:

To tell you the truth, I'd prefer direct use off an SD card. An external hard-drive would probably look pretty unflattering to the Wii's slim package.

Manicfatty

#54

Manicfatty said:

@Atlantis1982 - oh yeah...rolls eyes...that's the only reason anyone would want another storage option.

By the way...how are you enjoying your new karts and tracks for mario kart? And how about those new Metroid multiplayer maps? Those are great, huh!?! You still don't get it....but maybe Nintendo finally does.

I think a lot of ppl here, just based on the comments I'm seeing, are feeding into Nintendo's current stance. All I hear is talk about VC games...with a smattering of Wiiware talk. I realize this is a VC games site, and that's first and foremost what comments will relate to. But I think downloadable content relates in that anything Nintendo might be able to pull off for additional content will be competing for space with our VC games.

Where is the that content? MIA. New levels, items, characters? Hell...even new gameplay elements?!? Basically everything we're missing out on as Wii owners that everyone else is enjoying (well, to be honest...I am among the PS3 and 360 owners). Guitar Hero 3 and the coming Rock Band are both extremely kneecapped by the lack of new songs. I'll be getting the ps3 or 360 versions. Look at Medal of Honor: Heros 2 on the Wii. Yeah, graphically it's marginal...but it has been refered to as the best playing console fps because of the Wii-look set-up, and control customization options. But sales haven't been what they should have. They could see a return to the sales charts if there was a way for them to release a multiplayer map pack, or a new co-op mission as micro transactions. But there isn't. Because there's no place to put them. And that's why I hope this comment by Nintendo leads to some sort of storage fix. So we can start to see the real potential of Wii Connect and the Wii Shop.

smashter

#55

smashter said:

@ Bananiac and NESgamer-

don't forget that Wii has sold more of itself (by about triple!) than the other consoles...so that "small number" is still a very large fanbase...and these are the hardcore fans. everyone else is just casual ie my aunt and uncle who dont know dung about tech yet have a Wii...those are the non downloaders

ALSO...where does this "small number" come from??? i wish i had more memory, but i have never officially reported anything to contribute to those "statistics"...they're false and misleading

how many more people like me havent officially contributed? im sure there's many more..

case and point :)

michinmuri

#56

michinmuri said:

I don't care if it's firmware of an HDD, I like the idea. It's about time they address this issue. Hard to put all of those old TG-16 CD games on there even with a 2GB memory card (well, at least all the ones I have plus ones I've yet to own.)

Phalyn

#57

Phalyn said:

@ That Guy from Faxanadu
What you should do is wait for Q4, Nintendo is releasing a Neo-Geo collection (the same one the PS2 got last week) then. And I belive all the games that is out for the NG now, will be on the disk, and more.

At first I was a little peeved about this, but I figured; 'Meh, maybe Nintendo didnt know about it at the time' so I'm at a little bit of a loss at who I should be upset with for not annoucing that game sooner.

NESgamer

#58

NESgamer said:

@smashter

Well you're right, that's why i said "small number" because they really can't keep track of how much data users are trying to handle, i haven't reported either that i have 100 miserable blocks left :P.

So yeah there must be a solid market to target this "device" they have to figure out, i guess they are trying to find out if is worth it (which i bet it is).

Mirokunite

#59

Mirokunite said:

I hope for a hard drive, or something. Just encase my Wii breaks for some reason. I don't want to loose all the money I invested into my VC.

Manicfatty

#60

Manicfatty said:

@Mirokunite - Have no fear...even if Nintendo doesn't 'man up' with a storage solution, your games are protected.

If your Wii craps out you just have to let Nintendo know and work with them. I asked a Nintendo tech dude this once, and he said it's a matter of letting them know the new serial # and registering your new Wii. Your existing account can then be transfered to that ID. You won't be able to use the games on the VC of the old Wii, even if you get it repaired, but at least you'll be able to download the games again without paying twice for play on the new system. That's the way he broke it down for me. Hope that helps!

That_Guy_from_Faxana

#61

That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

@Phalyn
I didn´t know it would come to Wii as well. Hope for classic controller support this time around. Still, it´s far from sure we´ll get it in Europe as well, we haven´t the PS2 version yet. But some of the possible new titles (Samurai Shodown II Fatal Fury II amongst others) aren´t on that disc, so I do look forward to Neo Geo releases... and enough space to store them on, please?

smashter

#62

smashter said:

i just heard IGN's NVC podcast tonight...
they also laugh at the fact that they are using the phrase "small number"

i personally think that Nintendo is using this as an excuse to put a price tag on a HHD...sadly

nickg2894

#63

nickg2894 said:

hope it not lot of money like $200 (120 gb for 360 in canada) but if they trow in like 5 free vc games downloads and let you watch movies (downloaded from the wii shop and buy for like 15 dollars (1500points) each) and download songs (100 wii points for 20 songs) (or download them from illegal sites) on xbox 360 a $20 gb is like $100 (new) and it really has 13 gb or somthing like that

Snyderman

#64

Snyderman said:

I'm not trying to be inflammatory with what I'm about to say, but I think the harddrive will be a relief if only because Nintendo is incredibly conservative when it comes to just about any "new" development in the console market.

CD storage didn't even start until the Gamecube in 2001, and let's see... I think the TG-16 and Sega CD were out by around 1991/1992. You can say what you want about the Nintendo/Sony fall out but they decided to release the N64 a full two years after the Saturn and PS1 with the intent of making a cartridge based system. In two years they could have built a CD system from the ground up.

Limited netplay and internet services have been available courtesy of Sega since the Saturn and then the Dreamcast. And since Xbox Live on the original Xbox, there have been great leaps and bounds in internet services available to gamers. The best the GC could do was provide internet to what, the Phantasy Star Online games? Even now in the face of the PSN and Xbox Live Gold/Silver we're seeing network capabilities (for gaming) barely on par with last generation.

Then there's the DVD playback. In 2006 when the Wii was released, was DVD playback such a huge concern that it needed to be disabled? It was available in 2000 for the PS2 (with parental controls). I'll give the Gamecube a pass because it used atypical discs and the drive wasn't large enough to accommodate DVDs, ignoring the obvious laser distance issue of course.

Now we're in the generation of downloadable content and software patches. It's starting to resemble PC gaming, which is a shame, but the upside is as manicfatty pointed out, downloadable content (and bugfixes). If a game comes out and it's got noticeable problems on the Wii... well tough luck. The Wii Guitar Hero III fiasco where every disk was in mono showed how little effort they put into the game (since there is no future for DLC on the Wii). The Wii is getting treated on par with the PS2, and it's justified in some ways (like graphics and a large and varied user base), but it shouldn't be because of internet capabilities or storage.

I'm fairly sure that developers really want to produce games for Nintendo consoles, but Nintendo is doing a marvelous job of discouraging them generation after generation. As much as I love Nintendo games, I frequently find myself doubting their business practices. They make some amazing AAA first party titles, of course, but they're not the only ones.

I frequently hear people on here say "Well I've been a diehard fan of Nintendo for years and years and if Nintendo thinks this is best for me, well then it is." I completely disagree with this sort of thinking and believe you should think for yourself instead of having mindless brand loyalty. I only owned an SNES and an N64 in my prime gaming years but I'm not going to lie and say the N64 wasn't a disappointment in a lot of ways. At the time though, I couldn't be convinced otherwise and it's that line of thought that caused me to miss out on the many great games on the Saturn/TG-16/PS1 until relatively recently. I'm happy with the Wii but it has a lot of unused potential, even if it is criminally underpowered compared to the competition.

Long story short, Nintendo get your head out of your a**.

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