News Article

Wii to Wii U Data Transfer Details Emerge

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Pay close attention

One feature pre-occupying the minds of some potential Wii U owners is the process to move their WiiWare and Virtual Console data onto the new console. With backwards compatibility a big part of the system — for some gamers — having access to years' worth of purchases is a welcome bonus.

Of course, with Wii not having a user account system as flexible as that on Wii U, we can't expect the process to be easy. Polygon has read through a Wii U user manual and found details of the transfer, and it's similar to the equivalent 3DS process.

  • Insert an SD card into the Wii U
  • Run the Wii System Transfer application
  • When prompted, put that SD card into the Wii
  • Download and run a transfer application from the Wii Shop
  • Data will be moved to the SD card, at which point you switch it back to the Wii U
  • The data will be moved onto the Wii U and then deleted from the SD card.

In terms of the data that can be transferred, it includes Wii retail game save data, WiiWare games and save data, Virtual Console games and save data, downloaded add-on content, Wii Shop points and activity records, and finally Mii characters.

In summary, it looks like you can transfer anything of value from your Wii to a shiny new Wii U; it may not be a streamlined process, but hopefully it'll get the job done.


From the web

User Comments (78)



ItalianBaptist said:

Is it everything on your wii system or do you get to pick which things to keep on the Wii and which to transfer? I'd like to keep the VC games on the Wii because the Gamecube controllers work swimmingly, but Wiiware games I'd like to transfer



Xilef said:

Probably not going to do this, i like having my all my consoles plugged in and doing this would pretty much make it pointless to have my Wii plugged in. Besides, my little brothers also has a bunch of save files on the Wii and i assume you can only transfer save files to one account. Might transfer a VC or two just to make sure my SD card on the Wii is clean though.



Dodger said:

I wonder if you'll be able to play VC games on the gamepad. I want to play more SNES games, but they look so ugly on large televisions.



iphys said:

Wii Shop points? I thought the Wii U eShop was going to use cash like the 3DS eShop, so we wouldn't be able to transfer points? Or is transferring points a Japan-only feature?



gameblaster64 said:

" may not be a streamlined process..."

How is this not a streamlined process? Seems incredibly simple to me!



Xilef said:

@Dodger I think they said you can't do that.I think VC is playable through the Wii U's Wii mode and the gamepad can't be used for games.

@iphys It is. It will probably transfer points and change it to cash (500 points = 5 dollars).



ThomasBW84 said:

In terms of picking and choosing what to transfer, I suspect this'll be an option. The wording from Polygon, which I've also used, is that all of these things can be moved. In the past Nintendo's allowed us to pick and choose transfer content, so I'd expect them to do the same this time.



FJOJR said:

Awesome Sad that my Wii will be reduced to being a backup Wii and glorified GameCube. Especially cause it will sit next to my GameCube. 6 years of great memories, 10 years for the Cube games.



Whopper744 said:

I hate to make it complicated, but I wonder if you can just transfer the VC games, or just the retail save data for example...



iphys said:

@Xilef I think that would be a taxation problem since Wii points cards have tax charged on top of them when you buy them vs eShop cards don't. If they just convert your 500 points to $5 and then tax you in the eShop for buying a $5 game, then you've been taxed twice. Plus, originally it was common for retailers in Canada to charge $25 for the 2000 point cards instead of $20.



RupeeClock said:

Here I imagined that you would run the Wii U and the Wii together, displaying the Wii on a TV screen and the Wii U on your GamePad.



King_Boo said:

that'll take me half an hour, the wii menu can only hold a page worth of games, and all my games are already on my SD card.



Haxonberik said:

Id rather conserve some save files on the wii than having them removed and put into the Wii U. Maybe if I get a second SD card I can copy and back again the save files I need. Man that´s going to be a long and boring Christmas setup process



Mickey said:

Put your special things in ANOTHER SD Card and then transfer to the Wii U... It's not rocket science



Haxonberik said:

Damn it Smash Bros. save is uncopyable, I really wanted that one on both for convenience.



Kevin said:

Any word if we can play the VC and WiiWare games on the pro controller yet?



Firejonie said:

Before launch day ( sometime next week), I'll get my normal Wii SD card and copy any save files I can copy ( sorry MK Wii and SSBB). Then I'll do the system transfer, then I'll put the SD card with the back up saves back into my Wii. Then I'll have my saves on both consoles ( except for VC games and online games like SSBB).



TheDreamingHawk said:

Hopefully the wii U transfer will allow for SD cards with data already on them to work. I have 6 pages of games on my 1 GB



Sun said:

@ Everybody. When transferring data from DSi to 3DS you were only able to transfer all data. The Wii U manual describes exactly the same procedure, so most probably you will only have the choice to transfer everything from Wii to Wii U. That or transferring nothing. That's it.



theblackdragon said:

@Sun: No, I was able to pick and choose what games I wanted to transfer from my DSi to my 3DS. It's 3DS to 3DS that only allows all or nothing.



Gate_Shikimuri said:

@Sun Actually, you could choose to copy all or Sound/Photo/DSiWare individually. You could even choose which DSiWare to transfer. I assume you got this mixed with 3DS to 3DS transfer, in which case you would be correct.



Squiggle55 said:

The SD card in my Wii has a bunch of stuff on it at the moment since all of the games don't fit on the Wii itself. I'm unclear if I can use that SD card to do this transfer or if I need an empty one to put into the Wii U first.



HandheldGuru97 said:

Sounds like it will be less time consuming than transferring stuff from a DSi to 3DS. I don't have much on my Wii, but I may as well move it over so I don't restart/redo all my Mii's.



theblackdragon said:

Guys, this is not the place to speculate and/or share details about hacked/modded Wiis, as per our Rules. Please do that kind of thing elsewhere.



pinta_vodki said:

Couldn't they just release an update to tie Wii into the Nintendo ID system, so that you could upload all the data to your account and then download it on the U? And the SD card method would be for those offline only. Would be much easier and you'd have all your purchase data in Nintendo ID instantly.



SMW said:

I wonder if this will let you copy demos as well. I'd like to save my demo collection. Its free entertainment. I'm cheap, I know!



kyuubikid213 said:

I'm going to keep my current Wii stuff on the Wii. The newer Wii games I get will go on the Wii U. Since I'm keeping my Wii, it wouldn't make much sense to get rid of everything and put it on the new system. Especially since the Wii U doesn't have GCN compatibility thus making a SSBB transfer harmful to me (1 WiiRemote and 3 GCN Controllers).



ShadJV said:

@Spark_Of_Spirit I have a question to add to this: how much space is required? Does it need extra space for the transfer tools? Does it compress the data for transfer instead of simply copying it?

I suppose most of this we'll just have to wait and see. I don't really want to complain about having to make sure I have an SD card with sufficient space for this, as I can think of no better method to transfer everything and Nintendo already is going out of their way to let us transfer content to a newer console (which they are not required to do, nowhere in the terms of service do they guarantee save data and digital purchases be transferable to new consoles).



Azooooz said:

I simply cannot wait for Wii U to launch. Any guys from NintendoLife staff will do unboxing of Wii U?



Emaan said:

Hopefully we can choose what. I'd rather keep my Virtual Console games on my Wii to be honest. Can we still simply copy Wii saved data over like we've been able to between Wii's?



Ristar42 said:

I wonder, does this mean the Wii will transfer those slow, 50Hz only PAL VC games to the Wii U.



oliver12345 said:

And I wonder what will happen to TurboGrafx VC games? I've got none but I remember that you need a GameCube Controller if you want to play with 5 people in some games. But the Wii U has no GC ports. So they aren't playable with 5 people anymore?



rjejr said:

Wii points? You mean I might someday be able to use those 200 points I've had for a couple of years now?

Is it possible that the SD card doesn't copy over the games and just what games the Wii has purchased and then re-downloads them onto the WiiU? I think most of us have way more games already on SD cards than on the system itself, and before the SD fix alot of my older games were deleted and never re-downloaded onto my Wii. Save files would need to be transferred but those tend to be smaller.



HawkeyeWii said:

I have 2 Wiis. Will I be able to do it twice, or will it only let me use one Wii, like a precaution to piracy.



sinalefa said:

I don't know if I got it wrong, but it seems to me that the system will copy your download history to the SD card, and then you put that card on your Wii U, allowing you to download all of the things you have bought.

Or that is how I want it and I am reading it that way. It would make sense as then I have all of my downloads available and I decide what to redownload to Wii U. It would also be way faster than copying my games one by one.



Marow said:

Step 1. Should the SD card be empty, or can it be the SD card you have your files on?



Pj1 said:

@HawkeyeWii I have the same question as you have!
Could Nintendo life find out for us please?
I think this is. Great idea thanks Nintendo



Tasuki said:

Sounds simple enough. Out of curiousity what is the size of the Wii U's hard drive space compare to the Wiis?

I ask this cause some of my VC games I have on the Wii memory and some are on SD card. I would like to have all my VC games on the system if possible.



renaryuugufan92 said:

@pinta_vodki thats exactly what i've been hoping they would do, just one more firmware update to allow us to tie our Wii's into the ID system and then the transfer process with be streamlined~



Grodus said:

Dang it! I was hoping I wouldn't have to have both consoles to transfer WiiWare and VC. (That it would bypass the lock on the one certain console) Thus, I no longer have access to my Wii. I can deal with it though...



WaxxyOne said:

I really hope they make this feature available. It seems like a no-brainer to me given that one of the much-touted features is the ability to play games while someone else uses the TV, but Nintendo has made non-sensical (at least to me) decisions in the past, so not holding my breath until they confirm/deny it.



artofmana said:

I presume game saves would be transferred in this process and could also be transferred via SD card alone for non online games.



TruenoGT said:

Unless one can use the gamepad or some of the social features work for VC games, I'll probably keep things on the Wii. Since the Wii uses less power than the Wii U, it will be more efficient to run them on the Wii.



ReshiramZekrom said:

I am hoping there is an option to copy-and-paste and not just saves-are-moved-to-Wii U-and-never-coming-back-to-Wii.



Syntax said:

@theblackdragon sorry about the wii mod discussions i had and I'll take full responsibility for my deleted comments and others who had responded them, no hard feelings?



brooks83 said:

I swear the Wii U launch is like an episode of LOST. You answer one thing and there are five more questions.



Sun said:

@theblackdragon You got me wrong.

@Gate_Shikimuri You clever guy I mistook DSi for 3DS. I didn't even transfer DSi data to 3DS but 3DS data to a 3DS XL. So, this should be my message:

When transferring data from 3DS to 3DS XL you were only able to transfer all data. The Wii U manual describes exactly the same procedure, so most probably you will only have the choice to transfer everything from Wii to Wii U. That or transferring nothing. That's it.



marc_max said:

Some games like Animal Crossing may not be able to be transfered. The Animal Crossing savegame stores the MAC address of the Wii that created it. If you transfer it to another Wii (using homebrew methods), the online functions won't work on the new Wii.

I hope they can fix this!



Magi said:

I'm down with all of it except step 4. Because of Wii's completely craptastic wireless security, I haven't had it hooked to the internet in a while and have since replaced my router with one that doesn't dumb itself down. I guess I'll have to rummage around through my box of misfit electronics to see if I can find an old router.



LavaTwilight said:

This is all kool and awesome but my Wii is in South Africa and I'll be buying my Wii U in the UK I have to somehow get my Wii across the ocean again!!!



RedYoshi999 said:

I'm glad to see Wii points being transferred, I've got 700 I can't spend on the Wii. This still leaves me with questions though, can you transfer save data like SSBB and MKWii? Can you use an existing SD Card that is already used in the Wii to transfer to Wii U?



rodoubleb said:

My SD card slot quit functioning several months ago. I've got over 200 VC purchases. Sounds like I'll be screwed out of transferring my purchases. Wouldn't have this kind of problem with STEAM. Even the ITUNES store now allows you to re-download anything you've EVER purchased from them on a new computer. Very very very sad when Nintendo's failing digital policies make Apple's seem enlightened.



XD375 said:

I want to know if we can tether certain games to certain Nintendo IDs.

I live in a large family and many of us downloaded many different games. My brothers are gonna kill me if they all get tethered to my ID.



theblackdragon said:

@Magi: What kind of super-secure network are you running? I use WPA2-PSK at home iirc (idk, i set it up a while ago lol) and it works just fine with my Wii — it's my DS that can't use it.



RetroGBHippie92 said:

I don't know whether I'm gonna gt a Wii U or not, depends if i'm gonna be alive to experience it again, I've demoed it already, but yeah...
I probably won't transfer my stuff, wouldn't your wii become ultimately useless if you just transferred everything over? It just seems to me that the wii won't be enjoyed for what it was, years from now and everybody will refer to it as 'That console' since everybody will be able to play their games on the Wii U and not have to use their old Wii. I didn't spend $400 on my Wii for it then become absolutely useless after 6 years of owning it.



rodoubleb said:

I emailed Nintendo about my concerns this morning. Either this article is incorrect, or NOA is blowing smoke up my pants.

Thanks for writing. I can understand why you would be interested in transferring your downloaded content from your Wii to the Wii U. To answer your question, Wii U owners can wirelessly transfer content such as Miis, and WiiWare and Virtual Console games to their Wii U systems.

You will simply need to have both systems in your possession and both systems will need to be connected to the Internet. Only the Wii U will need an SD card to facilitate the transfer. The process is very similar to transferring content from Nintendo DSi to Nintendo 3DS or from Nintendo 3DS to Nintendo 3DS XL; which has been received positively by consumers. Transferred Wii content is accessible and can be played through Wii Mode, an application on the Wii U's main menu.

I hope this was helpful!


Ryan P. Stoffel
Nintendo of America Inc.



FonistofCruxis said:

I'm glad that you can transfer save data unlike the DSi to 3DS transfer. Its also good to hear that you can transfer Wii shop points and Miis.



DarkEdi said:

The best option was to create a channel with the Wii U ID so we can play for example Ninja Gaiden Arcade in Wii and Wii U any time.



Mr_3DS said:

Alright, pretty cool. I got like 700 Wii points I'll be sure to transfer too hah



Sun said:

@RetroGBHippie92 Wii will never be pointless because Wii U is not Gamecube controllers nor games compatible (unless you own a Wii Family Pack).



citizen_zane said:

According to Nintendo's website (
"What Data is Transferred During a Wii to Wii U System Transfer, and what data is not Transferred?

The following is transferred during the system transfer process between a Wii and Wii U:

Wii Software Save Data
WiiWare and Save Data
Virtual Console titles and Save Data
Add-on Content
Wii Points
These points will be combined with the points on the target Wii U system, but cannot exceed a combined point total that would exceed 10,000 Wii Points
Wii Shop Channel Account Activity
Mii Characters
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection data

The following is not transferred during the system transfer process between a Wii and Wii U:

Data from Wii settings
Preinstalled WiiWare software and preinstalled Virtual Console titles.
Software and save data for which transfer is not permitted, such as WiiConnect24 data
Software that is present on both consoles
While the software will not overwrite what is already on the target Wii U system, the new save data will overwrite what is on the Wii U
Nintendo GameCube Game Disc save data"

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