News Article

Nintendo Files Patent for Wii Hard Drive

Posted by James Newton

But to what end?

Mysterious patents, electronic goods and the Internet can often be a volatile combination, so take this latest application as you will. Nintendo has recently filed for a patent that offers the ability to install Wii games to a hard drive, though there's little information available as to its wider applications.

Certain retailers have used similar systems to offer a selection of games at demonstration kiosks without the hassle of changing disks, so this patent could represent plans on Nintendo's behalf to roll such a system out to other retailers. Of course, Nintendo has so far revealed nothing about its intentions for such a device, so at this time there's only these patent documents and the inevitable waiting to see what, if anything, comes of this application.


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User Comments (47)



sykotek said:

I know they've used these at a few hospital locations I've volunteered at in the past.



Kholdstare said:

O.o this would be perfect for me... my wii recntly decided to be dumb and only reads Gamecube disks so this would be pretty awesome ... if it happens



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Kholdstare: Wouldn't help you very much, really; you'd have to be able to read the discs to install them to the hard drive in the first place!

I suspect this may be an answer to the people who are already doing this through hacking. Offer a legitimate way, and the hacking decreases? Maybe? I dunno.



J_K said:

Stuffgamer1: Not likely as a jagoff thief like that won't see it that way. They'll instantly buy one and figure out what Nintendo is up to so they can crack it and make it even easier than it is now to steal 360 games and pop them on their drive with the Wii. I actually frequent a board thats part in part about games but also helping people in their stealing(hacking, they ban roms and rom links) efforts. I tend to get in fights with some of them on the PSP stuff as it totally murdered the device.



Junior117 said:

The Wiis that are being displayed at the Nintendo World Store have the exact same system as what had been noted in the patent. So I don't think this is anything new.



Nin1Od0 said:

I want to say...if true...FINALLY!!!

I love Nintendo...but they can really make some real dumb decisions. I had a hard time finding an old school 8gb SD card, withouth the HC. But even still, didn't Nintendo once think that, damn, our system may not be graphically or software library tuff enough to compete with PS3 or XBox 360...but our Virtual Console and Wii Ware service is extremely kick @ss??!!!!

I think I have a lot more downloaded games on Wii than actual Wii games...(I have 35 Wii titles



Nin1Od0 said:

I also hope it's more transfer friendly....cuz it sux I can't buy the new black wii and transfer all my saved info into that one.......WHY NINTENDO WHY!!!!!



Ark said:

Well, it's been proven the technology is certainly there. Just another way to make a buck by removing the need for disks and slightly improving load times. I'd like to see this on all consoles, then your disks don't get damaged as much from playing. You can buy a new Wii whenever, but it's not always easy to track down the odd game...



Klapaucius said:

This could be their solution to the VC/WiiWare/DSiWare problem. Transfer it to the Wii Hard Drive, then to another console.



Nin1Od0 said:


could be, but it better transfer over wi-fi files too...cuz so far, those are the only saves that don't transfer even to sd cards : (

epic fail man....epic fail



Homer_Simpson said:

Yeah, I'm pretty sure this patent is for demo Wii's in stores. I'd doubt it'll be commercially available.



BJWanlund said:

I would HOPE it was commercially available, AND I could buy digital games to put on the hard drives from either Nintendo themselves or

Seriously, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the Wii desperately needs an anti-piracy solution, and this is it. If you want to play Wii games (or even GC games) on the Wii with a hard drive and System Menu 5.0 (or whatever the next point release of the System Menu is), then this is perfect.




LightSamus said:

this great news, however the Wii's HDD isn't large enough to support a full libary of even legal brought games, HDD mod'ers will stick to there current action i think..



SanderEvers said:


This is JUST LIKE THE USB LAUNCHER! Which allowes you to play Wii games (which you copied off your original Wii games ) from an external Hard Drive!



Starwolf_UK said:

If I'm not mistaken you can't patent something that is already in the public domain (if you want it to hold up in court of law) which means if they made this patent after April 2009 it would be null and void (first homebrew USB loaders).

Of course the hospital units using this system pre-dates that so the patent probably does pre-date it. This is why I dislike when Siliconera posts the Nintendo patent stories as they never quote the patent number or when the application was made (two important bits of info as they would answer the above).

The Nintendo world store has this one. Given how the titles are in the same order as the patent illustrations the patent probably dates back to then. The question is do full game installs on the Xbox360 invalidate the patent?



SanderEvers said:

25. Starwolf_UK: You cant install Wii games on a XBOX 360, and no XBOX 360 games on a Wii. So.. no.



moosa said:

@Nin1Od0 The Wii supports SDHC cards now.
Nintendo files oodles of patents all the time, the majority of which don't end up materializing into anything. Every time I see one of these news stories I read it out of curiosity but don't expect anything besides a lot of needlessly excited fanboys.



James said:

It's a visual expression of the overwhelming number of discs Mario owns for his Wii. Had Mario had access to a hard drive solution, he wouldn't need to escape a cascade of silvery circles, but could happily browse through his collection at a leisurely pace.



moosa said:

I think people are confused because they see "Wii Hard Drive" and automatically think it means a magnetic disc drive for game saves and downloadable content just like with other consoles.



barneygumble said:

Sounds nice to "install" Wii Games to Harddisc but commercially its would mean Wii Gamessales go down ( a) buy - install - sell or b) rent-install & return ) Im pretty sure N knows that.

On the other hand it maybe be a hint to the next generation of Nintendos Homesystem or Nintendo wants to start gamesales online ( Buy full Wii Games like Super Mario Sunshine etc for download & install them to HD )

But Sony and XBOX360 downloadsales shows its not yet the big hit, just pocketmoney. Real gamers prefer to OWN a game with case, manual and disc then buy a download which can not be swapped or sold later.

What do you think ? Is "Downloadgames" the future or are you still prefering buying and really owning a game with case, manual and gamedisc in your own hands not just virtually ?



darklinkinfinite said:

@barneygumble I doubt that's what it would mean commercially, after all, the 360 has had this feature for some time; you pop the disc in, hit install, 15 minutes later the contents of the disc are on the hard drive. The simple solution they went with is that even if you install the game to a hard disk, you need to have the disk itself in the drive.

Heck, even Nintendo's been dealing with the issue with their virtual console and WiiWare games which you can transfer to an SD card. It could be easily copied at that point but Nintendo's solution was to make WiiWare and Virtual Console games only playable on the systems they were originally purchased on.

If Nintendo wants to do it, there really isn't anything stopping them. There are reasonable anti-piracy measures that can be taken (though pirates will be pirates and will surely find a way to crack it, if they bother with the device at all considering they already have a working solution).

I don't really care either way. On the 360 its a godsend because some games have killer load times, the 360 makes plenty of noise, and helps generate less heat (decreasing the chance of hardware troubles). The Wii is typically pretty good at keeping load times down and the heat and noise is nothing on the level of the 360's so the only real benefit (aside from having your collection in one place, which isn't a big enough deal for me) is the reduced wear on the hard drive, which most people won't really notice. So unless there's some other big feature I think I can save my money.



Kyloctopus said:

First the 3DS instal rumour and now the un-related wii instal rumour, Nintendo likes to bring back something they love from the DS to the wii and vise versa they made to the cosoles they have today (SD Cards on wii and DSi Nintendo points on both consoles Motion in the 3DS, the home button on the 3DS, I saw MIIs in the Nintendogs + cats photos. Same goes for their software like Mario Kart and Warioware)



ToastyYogurt said:

YES!!! An official way to install games on a Nintendo system to play without disk!

It does make since, the 360 lets you install games to the hard drive, so if Nintendo could make a way to install disks to a hard drive, it would be great.

Of course, we just have to wait and see if this will really roll out the door. And speaking of game installs, I hope that that rumor that 3DS lets you install games is true too.



Codyshelby said:

Installing games to the xbox360 must not be what you think...

Installing them to the xbox allows you to play the games without taking a "toll" on the machine. The disc is still required to play the game, it just doesn't run the console as hard as it would running a disc. It's also noticeably more quiet.

On the other hand, running Wii games through a hard drive is old news. Be it for commercial use or not, its been available to the public for quite some time. Do some research.

Just my 2 cents.

please do not advocate piracy. -- TBD



Starwolf_UK said:

First the 3DS instal rumour
That's a good point. That rumour might have originated from this patent as well (though of course the DS does installations of some sort, how would bark mode without Nintendogs+Cats inserted work etc)



ToastyYogurt said:

@Codyshelby: Sorry, I wrote the comment before I read a comment above talking about how the 360 does installs, and forgot to edit my post. On the other hand, I already knew it was possible to launch Wii games off of a hard drive with an ordinary HDD and a bit of homebrew. I've already "done my research." I was just trying to say it would be good to have an official method as it would mean that it wouldn't be affected when Ninty pushes new updates that kill the Homebrew Channel and friends.



ToastyYogurt said:

Oh, and @Ricardo91: This isn't for WiiWare/VC, it's for retail games you buy at the store. Those wouldn't fit on an SD card (unless you have an 8+ GB card or used Wiiscrubber to remove the excess memory, but you would still only be able to fit in only a few games.



KiroX777 said:

HAVE IT ALREADY... the wii has already been doing that for so long. THIS, Nintendo, is why we hack.



Codyshelby said:

@KiroX777 i totally agree with you 100%

Nintendo knows we hack. And they do not care. It's what makes the Wii surpass the other consoles. If nintendo really cared, they could easily fix that up.

Great system, you just need to know what to do to it first.

homebrew =/= piracy. stop advocating the latter. -- TBD

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