News Article

Simple Workaround Allows You To Play Wii U Games Off An SD Card

Posted by Damien McFerran

Play your cards right

Before the launch of the Wii U, Nintendo confirmed that software could not be played from an SD card, but it would appear that it is technically possible - provided you have one of those cheap USB card readers handy.

YouTube user Shokio discovered that if you pop your SD card into one of these readers and then insert it into the Wii U USB port, the system will treat it as a standard USB thumb drive, and therefore allow you to move - and play - software from it.

The video evidence is below - let us know if you've also discovered this ingenious workaround.

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User Comments (36)



Dbc said:

Yeah..Good to hear. I'll try as soon as i get my Wii-U.



19Robb92 said:

That's awesome. I have a SD card adapter and a 32GB SD card, so that's almost twice the Deluxe/Premium memory right there.

Pretty nifty solution since it only says USB storage and nothing about any specific HDD requirement. Would be nice if Nintendo allowed for this to continue and don't patch it to make it go away or something.



KneehighPark said:

Wonder if the same thing would work with Micro SD cards, and using a Micro SD to USB adapter.



akabenjy said:

Now what if someone uses an SDXC card. WIll you need to reformat it to FAT32? I'm interested because I have a Class 10 128GB SD Card.



19Robb92 said:

Well, it seems like the WiiU only recognizes the USB adapter itself as a HDD unit of some kind. So as long as the SD card adapter can read SDXC cards it should work I assume, since the WiiU isn't the unit reading the SD card (so what the WiiU can or can't read by itself shouldn't matter).



Lan said:

And this wasn't obvious to everyone in the beginning?



akabenjy said:

@19Robb92 I'm interested in this because although Flash memory is more expensive I prefer the smaller form factor and I personally feel like SD cards are more reliable in the long term. Plus I wouldn't need any more space that 128GB



19Robb92 said:

It should have been?

Nintendo said that you wouldn't be able to save games on a SD card. So I assumed that meant you wouldn't be able to.. Silly me.

Same here. I'm very interested, and I have an adapter so I'm definitely going to try it out (once the WiiU hits EU). Hopefully it'll work fine.



Lan said:

@19Robb92 SD card means device in the SD slot. An SD card in an SD to USB adapter acts exactly the same as a flash drive.



drdark said:

@19Robb92 and @Lan
There's no point getting into a slinging match, but just to lay down some facts:

  • Yes, there's no logical reason why it shouldn't work, if you're used to using USB sticks and SD cards with PCs. Some people aren't and that's fine.
  • Another thing to consider is why Nintendo doesn't want people saving their large(r) Wii U stuff to SD cards. There are a variety of 'Class' specifications out there which specify the speed of these cards.
  • For the same reason Nintendo doesn't recommend running games off USB-only powered HDDs or USB Memory Sticks, relying solely on SD cards would probably be a bad idea. Any temporary loss of power [or a faulty card reader] could corrupt the memory.
  • Given the size of HD stuff, any loss of data would be way more of a headache than it was in the days of the Wii.

P.S. Having said all that, the 3DS uses the SD slot [I have a 32GB Class10 in mine] and that works fine, but I expect the overall system architecture is very different, and the majority of games are unlikely to be over 4GB.



Lan said:

What's the front SD slot used for on a Wii U anyway? Game saves or pictures and music or somethin'?



FredyGarbagis said:

Hope it doesn't affect performance, but I'm planning to get a HDD to use exclusively with the console.



19Robb92 said:

Really? Well, okay then. I guess that depends on where you live then, no one I know, except the guys who are very tech knowledgeable, would know this. Definitely not common over here.



snax007 said:

Nice tip, but unfortunately a SD card in a USB card reader is still only USB 2.0 speed and slower than a SD card in Wii U's SD port. At least in theory.



RupeeClock said:

I still wouldn't recommend running games from a SD card like that, their access speeds are not on par with USB flash drives or external HDDs.



Zombie_Barioth said:

Thats rather brilliant in my opinion, not that its an extraordinary discovery but its something most people probably wouldn't think about unless they had one lying around.

The only remaining question is how well does it work?



Dreadjaws said:

Well, when I get my Wii U I'm getting an external hard drive for it. There's no reason for me to care about SD card support for a console that's not portable. I mean, if I have to take the console somewhere else, I can't fit it in my pocket, so an SD card for extra storage is not precisely convenient.

The 3DS, on the other hand, is an entirely different thing. If I was forced to use an external hard drive for it, it would be ridiculously inconvenient.



SKTTR said:

Hmm. Just unlocking a function even the Wii had from beginning.
Isn't worth much, since SD cards aren't that big (approx 32 GB), and you need a real hard drive (1000GB at least) if you download most of your games.



Samholy said:

cool. so thats opens door to the hackscene...
kinda like any R4i, DSTWO or ACEkard. I can bet you will see these guys making cards for the WiiU eventually.



rjejr said:

@Samholy - This was my 2nd thought.

My first thought was - another security hole like the "hacked" menu yesterday.

If the SD card used for Wii transfers works faster in the Wii U SD slot then this doesn't matter, but if somebody has a bunch of SD cards laying about but no thumb drives for some reason then I could see this being useful and saving some money in the process.



Mk_II said:

@Samholy no it doesnt. Just like using a USB harddrive doesnt. Security is not bypassed by simply using external media.



WesCash said:

That's cool. I have an SD reader so that could come in handy when I eventually get a Wii U.



Auracle said:

This sounds useful. However, I doubt that I will be downloading many retail games, at least in the beginning.



dragon_rider said:

@drdark Why would USB-only HDDs be bad? If AC-powered HDDs were being used and there was a power outage, that kind of HDD would suffer as well.



Shane904 said:

I don't think Nintendo could block it, even if they wanted to. Although it would be silly for them to block it.



Link-Hero said:

Did not expect NL to post an article of one of Shokio's videos. I'm subscribed to him, so I already saw this.



Henmii said:

Are we talking about Wii u e-shop downloads? I thought you could simply play them straight from a SD card, like you can on the Wii nowadays! Don't tell me Nintendo has taken another step back!!



blackside said:

This is news? It was always stated Wii U could read usb storage. So why is this a surprise?



peerlessdstreet said:

Shokio is so flaw... i posted that on his youtude... said i got the 8gb with black ops and a 32gb sd card for 379.00 and to put it in a adapter ... i put mario u on my sd card and it works fine.. im a at@t system tech and you can use that to fool cpus that its a hhd.. hes so flaw..."i found it out" you fake dude lmao unsubscribe lmao

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