News Article

Download Your Wii U Games Overnight

Posted by James Newton

10GB? No problem

Wii U will launch with a digital store offering downloads of retail games, but with the Wii U disc holding up to 25GB you could probably learn a sport to an Olympic standard in the time it'll take to download Pikmin 3. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata knows this, so Wii U will let you download games overnight.

Iwata told investors:

First, about your comment that digital download sales of packaged Wii U software may not be so attractive to consumers because of the amount of download time, it is true that downloading software with 10 gigabytes of memory cannot be done in an instant today, even with broadband connections. So, compared with the situation of portable gaming devices, where comparatively compact-sized software can be downloaded, we have to ask our consumers to wait for a longer time before the download process is completed. However, consumers will be able to use the Wii U effectively by finding convenient times to download software such as when they are sleeping at night.

The 3DS offers the ability to download titles in Sleep Mode so this isn't unprecedented for Nintendo — nor other consoles, which have offered standby mode downloads for some time — but it does mean you won't be sat tapping your watch for hours on end while Smash Bros. Wii U downloads.

Thankfully Wii U supports external hard drives so you can download to your heart's content.


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User Comments (59)



rjejr said:

You mean "Background" downloads? Would they have even considered offering the service without this? Though if they want to make news they can go 1 step further and offer a set time, sort of like PS Plus does for some updates.

Will they have retail game WiiU demos?

Any word yet on internal storage for these 10GB downloads? I don't care if its HDD or flash but I'm still hoping for 32GB minimum.



SkywardLink98 said:

This was expected, but still it's nice for those of us without fast internet connections (A.K.A Myself).



James said:

@rjejr to answer your questions in order: 1) yes 2) no 3) they haven't said yet 4) no But Wii U will support external USB hard drives!



Shiryu said:

I just hope the WII U has a fixed "sleep mode", I have never left my Wii on "stand by" (orange light) because it quickly overheats. Hope none of you guys leave yours in stand by either, it's a very quick gateway to that dreadful GPU overheat permanent damage (your screen starts showing up artefacts in the image).



PixelatedPixie said:

Well that explains how we'll download games. Now we just need to know to what they'll be downloaded to. Nintendo can't rely on SD cards forever.



Xilef said:

@Shiryu Seriously? That might explain why our Wii is making so much noice lately... Thanks for saying this.



19Robb92 said:

Sounds good. I expected this though.

"Thankfully Wii U supports external hard drives so you can download to your heart's content."



shingi_70 said:

Cool I guess but this was expected to bed the next step in wiiconnect24 and I mean the 360 does this.



AVahne said:

Whoa, I think your Wii might be defective then. Or just EXTREMELY dusty. I've never had any overheat issues with my Wii when I still had it.



BenAV said:

@Shiryu I've had my Wii on sleep mode (besides when I play it of course) since I got it at launch, and it's still going alone fine to this day with no issues.



19Robb92 said:

New models might not have this problem. I rarely see complaints about it anymore. But it was a very common problem early on in the Wii's lifetime. Saw lots of complaints about it back then.



Zergling said:

This will be great...until somebody's house burns down in the middle of the night while downloading a game.



Chris720 said:

I'll have to wait how long to get a game?! I'm sticking to discs... blow that!

I hope it'll be quicker on the 3DS... however, I use Steam so I have a rough idea how long it takes to download a game. Why must you take over 10 hours to download?!? /me goes to sleep



rjejr said:

James thanks for the answers. I don't think USB external HDD are really the way to go though for soccer moms who want to DL Just Dance 4 and Zuma 3. It's good news to hear they'll have it, but they still need something internal for the extra Katy Perry songs.

Also, upon further reflection over lunch, here are a few things maybe Nintendo can address that I don't like about my PS3 service.

1. I have PS+ but I don't use auto-update b/c I need to be auto logged in. There are 4 people in my home w/ separate accounts so it isn't fair to them. Don't know why it can't just auto-update anyway.
2. I don't use auto-update b/c it is a day late. Maybe they've fixed this, but on the very rare occasion when something would be automatically DL for PS+ subscribers the PSN "store" would update on Tuesday but the auto DL wouldn't happen until Wed. night, so I didn't have it until Thursday, so I stopped setting it and just DL it myself.
3. Nintendo has been good about the Thursday at noon updates, I hope they keep this up. The PSN store has no set time, between noon and midnight on Tuesdays (typing this while I wait for Awesomenauts).
4. It would be very nice to choose a DL beforehand. I think I can do this on Steam but honestly I've never tried as I'ld usually rather wait for a sale than be first in line. It would help Nintendo judge demand though, like a pre-order for the Nintendo eShop (or whatever it will be called on the WiiU). Sounds like something similar is in place on the 3DS now.

So as much as I like my PS3/PSN/PS+ service, and as much catching up that N needs to do, there are still areas where then can improve and get ahead of the competition, it doesn't all have to be about playing catch-up. Hopefully in 35ish days we can all be impressed.



Alienfish said:

My main concern with storing games on an external USB 2.0 HDD is load times. I would even go so far as to say that it might affect the performance of the game if your WiiU console has to communicate with something so slow. I plan on buying the disc whenever possible, but if I do find myself wanting something digitally, then I hope this drawback doesn't affect things too much.



tweet75 said:

wiiu better have a larger internal memory and not just relie on SD cards or most retail game downloads will fail



PixelatedPixie said:

If downloading games is such a big focus for the Wii U and Nintendo's strategy going forward why should I have to purchase an external hard drive? I also agree with @rjejr that not having a built in hard drive will be especially unintuitive for more casual gamers for whom the Wii U might be their first experience of downloading games.



3DS said:

10GB? Big Problem! That's 1/4 of my downloads for a month!



rjejr said:

On the overheating topic - I have a launch Wii and about 1 year ago after a firmware update the thing was constantly burning hot and games kept freezing so I turned off the sleep mode and now it's always cool and I haven't had a game issue since. I did have the Wiispeak and a USB to ethernet adaptor attached and always though that might have contributed to the heat as well. Now I only attach them as needed. So yes, overheating w/ an "always on" Wii was a real concern. I suppose it could be fixed now w/ the horizontal and Gamecube free Wiis.

Does anybody - and I guess by anybody I mean James - know if the WiiU will have an ethernet jack? I know the world is going wireless but my Wii w/ adapter, PS3 and tv viewing laptop all are wired b/c they are too far from the wireless router. (Yes I know I should move the router but it's next to my cable modem, tv, and wired PC.) I know wireless standards are getting faster but I still think wired is better.



BenAV said:

I don't mind using an external HDD, as long as games don't load too terribly slow from it.
If they added a USB 3.0 port that'd be perfect, as I have a 1TB USB 3.0 external HDD with some random movies on it that I could use, but I doubt they will, but oh well, discs are better anway.



19Robb92 said:

"If downloading games is such a big focus for the Wii U and Nintendo's strategy going forward why should I have to purchase an external hard drive? "

Cause it's optional. If you want to download your games - get a HDD, if not - buy the discs.

I agree that adding a HDD in the system would be a good idea. I don't think they will though since it would increase the cost.



BenAV said:

@rjejr Unless they've made some changes, the Wii U doesn't appear to have any ethernet jacks.
I'm just hoping that my converter for my Wii will still work with the Wii U, then there isn't much of a problem.



Haxonberik said:

Just hope its any external hard drive, I have a lonely HDD next to my TV and I would be pissed if I had to buy a Nintendo-branded one.



Sgt_Garlic said:

Not surprising, pretty much what I do for any full PS3 games I download, but I'll be sticking with physical Wii U discs anyways.



JustAnotherUser said:

@Alienfish I used to load my Wii games from my external hard drive and the speeds were much better than the original DVD load times.
This is great news.
I really do hope they add the ability to use the Wii U when you are downloading games, software or updates.



Objection said:

in response to the overheating Wii issue:
that's weird. i have a launch Wii that I usually leave in standby (orange) and its been just fine.
article: Wii U needs to have a moderate sized HDD, 32GB minimum. I get and appreciate the availability to use an external, but if I can't put more than 1-2 games on it, that's a problem. We also need to be forward-thinking, which the Wii was not in terms of a lot of things, especially the 40MB limit.
Also sales. Ninty, you better have sales. (I've read about 3rd party vouchers) It really does make a world of difference for online platforms.



C7_ said:

Brilliant, this is exactly how you start off this sort of approach: the customer's convenience comes first. When that isn't possible, make the customer in charge of how they handle their own convenience. Even though I still plan on buying retail,this was a good move.

A couple things I'm curious about though: have there been any announcements on the ability to install the game from the disc onto the hard drive for faster load times? Because I still want something tangible, but I don't want to go into a store and be given a piece of paper with a download code.



Knux said:

Cool, I'm already used to downloading games overnight thanks to my PS3.



Raylax said:

I hope it supports pausing downloads, haha (**can't remember if 3DS sleep mode downloads supports that, if the console is turned off or the 'net connection disrupted)



BenAV said:

@VintageBoy The 3DS sleep mode downloads pause when you open the system, and if you click on the icon of the present it'll tell you the percentage that it's downloaded.



PixelatedPixie said:


You're probably right in saying that the reason Nintendo have chosen this option is because they would prefer to save money. I just wish Nintendo were more progressive and would act in the interests of all their customers. I really want the Wii U to succeed but everytime I hear anything about the system I become increasingly less enthusiastic. We of course don't know all the facts about the Wii U and much of what we're talking about is speculation, but between archaic touch screen technology, reported lack of graphical power, the system apparently only supporting one tablet, and the absence of a HHD, I have genuine concerns.

I guess we'll just have to wait to E3 to find out one way or the other.



Gameday said:

Hey as long as i can download and still use interface not preferably any online games while doing so but you get my drift.



HappyHappy said:

Wait overnight for a game to download or go to a store, buy a game and play it as soon as you get home. Gee, I wonder which one is better?



Kage_88 said:

Hey, as long as it's like the Xbox 360 download system, and less like the PS3's, it should be all cool.



Neram said:

I've got a 1TB external hard drive that I picked up for $60 so I think I'm set for awhile. I sure hope people don't make a big deal about the Wii U not coming with a hard drive, because honestly externals are in abundance and pretty cheap these days.



C-195 said:

Download time? Not a problem. Monthly Usage? BIG PROBLEM!

I'll stick with retail.



CerealKiller062 said:

I know I have mentioned this in the past, call me a Steam fanboy, but I truely believe that they are the industry standard for a downloadable game store. If they do that whole, download your preorder before release and then get it unlocked on release day, or the luckyones get a special early unlock for preorders. I think if Nintendo mimicks as much as they can from Steam, I would give up the whole physical game thing and turn digital. But as it is for every game download store atm, they leave a lot to be desired...



HaNks said:

i think the main issues have been raised already and there indeed some issues. it'll be interesting to see what nintendo's solution is.

games 10gb or more and internal/external storage dilemma...

  • large in-built internal storage means the console would need to cost sufficiently more to compensate. it'd be needing hundreds of gigabtyes to be a viable all in one solution, so pretty much a desktop drive.
  • external storage options would be good, but what? USB3.0 based portable drives would probably be the ticket (the ones that don't need their own power). nintendo would be smart to brand one as an official add-on, like 1tb or something. would come in around $100 at current market prices. no rip offs here, just a very fair prices hard drive to entice people to use the download service, which ultimately makes them more money.

alternatively you could have SDXC support, although buying multiple smaller cards at 32gb a pop would be the best value right now. and if downloads aren't going to be at a reduced price, where's the money going to come from to be buying all this extra flash based storage.

i'm planning to buy discs unless nintendo solution to storage is efficient enough in price and performance. i can't see how its possible without extra investment. a small drive that needs upgrading like the wii's internal memory isn't going to wash it.



Zaphod_Beeblebrox said:

Our Wii has been in standby mode since February of 2008. The overheated GPU problem (flickering pixels) was caused by improperly attached heatsinks (manufacturing defect). It was not caused by standby mode.



hillbill26 said:

Oh jeez. I don't think i want to wait a whole night for a download, considering i'll be too anxious or excited for the game to become playable on the console. But, hey, if it takes that long, then the wait should be worth it, since if it takes all night it might be a great game. Take Super Smash Bors. 4 for example. But, things like this haven't really been done before, so it might take a while to speed up the process with future consoles. I'm sure the wait will be worth it though.



NSBlueLighing said:

Why nintendo!!!! WHY EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES!!! Your asking the hackers to basically steal from you!!! I cant see it being that hard to change a code in a document of the game to allow it for use on another console....unless Wii U introduces accounts like PSN and XBL 0.0



WaxxyOne said:

"this isn't unprecedented for Nintendo — nor other consoles, which have offered standby mode downloads for some time"

Unless of course you're one of those with a PS3. Poor saps...



HaNks said:

actually the external drive thing could be a GREAT thing if it allows people to hack the console sooner, screw region restrictions.



skywake said:

A few things
1) External USB2 HDDs are ~4-5x faster than DVD drives and about as fast as a modern Blu-Ray drive when the disks are running at full speed. That's only after optical disks have spun up to full speed.
2) HDDs are cheap as chips and I'm sure many people have a spare one lying around.
3) Not all games will be ~10GB, some will be more but many will be less.
4) At 10Mbps, a standard-ish BB speed, you'll be able to download 4.5GB/hour. At 10Mbps you could start downloading a "Super Mario Galaxy HD" at 5PM, have tea and it'll be waiting for you at ~7:30PM.
5) The ability to download overnight does not mean you'll HAVE to download overnight it just means that that will be an option. It's a great option if you have peak/offpeak quota or don't want to annoy everyone by hammering your 'nets when everyone is using it.
6) Lastly... many ISPs have partnerships with various companies. In Australia my ISP gives me iTunes, XBox Live and ABC iView (Australia's version of BBC iPlayer) off quota. Other ISPs do similar things and I'm sure it's the same in other countries. I wouldn't be that surprised if Nintendo follows...



alLabouTandroiD said:

The download process on the 3DS still could be better imo. I'd love the console to be shut down after a sleep-mode- / standby-download. If it can be done with computers i don't see why it shouldn't be possible with a Ninty console.
Not a big fan of leaving systems in Sleep- / Standby-Mode all day.



Sean_Aaron said:

I wouldn't certainly hope you'd be able to. I buy DVD .iso's off Rifftrax all the time and they take about 1-2hrs. - not bad for a 4.5GB file when the servers are located across the Atlantic.

I'm not sure why people are concerned about USB 2.0 speeds - I mean as skywake said, it's faster than the DVD drive you're currently loading games off of!

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