Reggie Justifies Wii U Hard-Drive Storage Options

By Jorge Ba-oh 13.09.2012 19

Reggie Justifies Wii U Hard-Drive Storage Options on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion

NoA president Reggie Fils-Aime was recently quizzed on the Wii U storage solutions and hard-drive options.

One of the key issues raised by fans and press on the Wii U so far is just how limiting the base storage would be once full games, demos, virtual console titles and apps are downloaded onto the system.

There will be two options available at launch: A basic white edition with 8GB and a deluxe version with 32GB.

The Wii U does support two options to expand the default space - by popping in an SD/SDHC memory card or attaching an external hard-drive to one of the USB 2.0 slots. The reason the Wii U doesn't come with higher configurations out of the box is to "let the consumer buy as much as they want, as cheaply as they want", as Nintendo doesn't want to force additional costs onto the core hardware.

What must be noted too is that the internal memory is Flash based, with access speeds and reliability potentially improved over a traditional disk based approach.

Speaking to Engadget, Fils-Aime confirmed that there doesn't appear to be a limit as to how big the bolt on hard-drives could be.

You can plug in a full-on three terabyte hard drive if you want. I'll love you as a digital consumer. The reason we did it that way is that the cost of that type of storage memory is plummeting. What we didn't want to do is tie a profit model to something that's gonna rapidly decline over time.

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He has a point, I wouldn't actually be to surprised if future consoles from other companies started doing this too.

SDs are becoming much cheaper, consoles with built in harddrives are more expensive to manufacture, more expensive to sell, SD storage is probably cheaper and more efficient in general for both developer and consumer.

(still built in flash memory can't be that expensive can it)

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I can imagine Nintendo eventually releasing a 128GB "Extreme" model or something like that - give it a year or so. Or at least branded, "safe" hard drives.

I do agree, I think 32GB's decent enough for basic and it really just depends on the read/write speeds for the hard drives. Just weary a bit about the differences between a shitty drive and a more efficient one and how it can affect gameplay. I think I would go nuts if I have to transfer games to and from internal storage.

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jb said:

I do agree, I think 32GB's decent enough for basic and it really just depends on the read/write speeds for the hard drives. Just weary a bit about the differences between a shitty drive and a more efficient one and how it can affect gameplay. I think I would go nuts if I have to transfer games to and from internal storage.

It would have been nice if they were using USB 3.0. But the games on the hard drive will probably all be downloadable games that are smaller and generally easier to transfer. It'll probably fine. Even if it is too slow, developers should know to work with it in mind, which should just mean loading screens.

Fingers crossed it all works well. If it does, this is a great move by Nintendo.

( Edited 14.09.2012 06:58 by TAG )

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

Yes, I do hope that they use USB 3.0 as connection.

I find the approach Regis stated, very appealing. On the one hand the consumer decides, what kind of storage he adds and how much. If the engineers at Nintendo implement it neatly and with no limits into Wii-U, all is fine.
But I have to be assured, that I can plug an SSD, an HDD and a USB-Stick in. And that I can use this external storage as additional storage, meaning, that I may run games and content directly from it.
I am mostly worried to not listen to my downloaded music in Guitar Hero(!) and may not be able to make my friends hear, what I want to play as a band with them, because Activision was not able to implement this feature until the last Guitar Hero (Rock Band is able to load a preview from content from SD-card). I just don't want to limit additional storage that way Wii did. That's the reason for me for not playing a lot of downloadable content: Handling is too clunky!

On the other hand, the double bundling is not only a gesture towards the customer, but to check, how many are chosing the black model with more internal storage.

As for me, I want to pick up the black bundling, quadrupling the internal storage and some gadgets for only 50 bucks more, is a good choice. Nintendo is copying X-box 360 bundling, but it's a good thing to do so. Thumbs up for storage and bundling practise for Wii-U

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

I think that is a smart move and it is a move that industry as a whole are currently looking at. Do we really a HDD in our consoles? With stuff like Cloud storage becoming ever more popular and easy to access just like a standard hard drive using a high speed connection. It wouldn't surprise me if Sony or Microsoft did the same thing.

Laurelin said:
Yes, I do hope that they use USB 3.0 as connection.
[...]
But I have to be assured, that I can plug an SSD, an HDD and a USB-Stick in. And that I can use this external storage as additional storage, meaning, that I may run games and content directly from it.
I am mostly worried to not listen to my downloaded music in Guitar Hero(!) and may not be able to make my friends hear, what I want to play as a band with them, because Activision was not able to implement this feature until the last Guitar Hero (Rock Band is able to load a preview from content from SD-card). I just don't want to limit additional storage that way Wii did. That's the reason for me for not playing a lot of downloadable content: Handling is too clunky!

The article says it is only USB 2.0. Not as fast, but it should be cheaper and is probably good enough. I bet you'll be able to hook up almost any kind of external storage device. You mentioned SSDs; I'd be surprised if you couldn't use them, but you won't really get the speed boost from them because the USB 2.0 will hold it back. Still durable and quiet, though.

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18
nry (guest) 14.09.2012#7

USB 3 is way beyond the capabilities of most HD's beyond SSD's so it would be pointless - that, and it is new enough that Nintendo would not have had it in their design model methinks. USB2 is plenty and is quicker than standard HD's can achieve anyhow...

Now support for NAS storage, that is more like it Smilie

Seems like a cop-out, to me. They needn't have included a HDD, but they could definitely have designed the 'U to have a HHD bay so that it could use one. USB HDDs aren't ideal. Access times are slow, and solid state memory has serious price-to-space deficiency when compared to disc drives.

Therefore, a standard 2.5" drive bay would have been extremely beneficial. 32GB = 'deluxe'? I laugh at that notion. I have totally filled the 120GB bog-standard HDDs on my 360 and PS3. Yes, you can expand with USB HDDs, but as I said, access times on those are slow.

They needn't have included an actual HDD, but a bay to install one (like PS3) would have been very welcome, and would have cost them such pittance that it needn't be passed on to the consumer.

After all these years, I still see a Nintendo more concerned with making a buck than giving their console the requisite faculties to be a true gaming machine.

Yeah external HDDs can be a pain to load especially on a system.

Martin_ said:
After all these years, I still see a Nintendo more concerned with making a buck than giving their console the requisite faculties to be a true gaming machine.

Don't you think Nintendo would have chucked something else in and raised the price if that were the case? I feel like they were more concerned with not making the console affordable to a familial audience.

Either way loading from SDs has never been a problem to me, as long as SD function is better supported than it was on the Wii, those things are huge, cheap and efficient nowadays.

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Well, no. They're going down the right route with giving people options, but to this day the best option for storage space/price ratio is the HDD. As an addition to the others that they are doing, they could have included a HDD bay.

I mean, you have an SD card slot without an included SD card, why not a HDD bay? You can bet that if you could install an internal HDD on the 'U, it'd be the go-to choice for serious 'U gamers.

32GB SDHC - £80

500GB HDD - £47

Just a quick search revealed that. It's fair, since it's on the same site, and neither product is on sale or on any kind of special offer. So for nearly half the price, you get almost sixteen times the amount of storage. If you bought enough of those SD cards to match the space of the HDD, you'd be spending £1,280.

Obviously you wouldn't do that, you'd save a little bit of money by going for the 64GB cards, which are the biggest commonly-available consumer cards. There are bigger ones for industry (such as Lexar's 128GB card which costs $700), but the Wii U won't be able to use these anyway. Even if it did, do you want to sink that kind of money into storage for your Wii?

Ultimately, Nintendo missed a trick by not designing the console with an internal HDD port. It would have been very cheap, and SATA 3 has a data transfer rate of 3GB p/s. Not slow. Again, serious Nintendo gamers with a lot of content on their 'U will be either having to keep track of multiple SD cards, or having to use an external HDD - which is just a poor man's internal HDD with regards to consoles.

They're great for keeping lots of content mobile, from workplace to workplace, but not great for running software from them. If you're going to take your 'U somewhere, it still would have been vastly-advantageous to have an internal HDD. Faster, better, cheaper, and you don't have to lug around an extra box since it's inside the console itself.

For shame, Nintendo.

( Edited 15.09.2012 20:45 by Martin_ )

Fair points. To be honest I was only expecting a base 8GB model, the fact they've made two kind of indicates there will be more down the line, like how the 360 and PS3 have had.

I think probably one of the main reasons Nintendo are starting small is to prevent selling the system at too much of a loss, and in order to make a bit more hype with future 'models', especially if they want it to be long lasting.

Either way it seems like it's about money, they really don't like selling consoles at a loss, which is fair enough even if other companies have bitten that bullet on many occasions before.

It's a shame new models that mean early adopters get less for their cash are inevitable, but that's consoles. Maybe Nintendo will be nice enough to upgrade or update the base hardware for a minimal cost.. or maybe not.

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SuperLink said:
Fair points. To be honest I was only expecting a base 8GB model, the fact they've made two kind of indicates there will be more down the line, like how the 360 and PS3 have had.

But you can upgrade a launch PS3 to have 2TB of HDD storage if you want. You cannot upgrade the flash storage in your Wii U. It is what it is, forever.

SuperLink said:
I think probably one of the main reasons Nintendo are starting small is to prevent selling the system at too much of a loss, and in order to make a bit more hype with future 'models', especially if they want it to be long lasting.

Either way it seems like it's about money, they really don't like selling consoles at a loss, which is fair enough even if other companies have bitten that bullet on many occasions before.

I think you're misunderstanding a basic point that I'm making, which is that the internal HDD bay itself costs almost nothing in manufacturing terms. I'm not talking about including an actual HDD with the console. If their manufacturing is in order (they're Nintendo, so it is) they could get these bays for absolute pittance, not pass anything on to the customer, and still make money.

Or if they were that worried, drop one USB port or something. Perhaps forgoe the internal flash altogether, and have some cheapo 120GB HDD in the internal bay? That'd be cheaper than 8GB of flash memory.

Regardless of all that, they should have just included an internal HDD bay. If need be, add another penny to the price of the 'U. It's little things like this that really piss me off about Nintendo. It's such a simple thing to do, but they're apparently obsessed with 'doing things differently'.

I'm the kind of guy that would buy tons of stuff off the virtual console, except I wouldn't want it all scattered on various SD cards, or on another box sat next to the gaming box, which wants it's own power supply, etc.

SuperLink said:
It's a shame new models that mean early adopters get less for their cash are inevitable, but that's consoles.

That's Nintendo consoles when it comes to storage options. As I said, you can upgrade an old-as-fuck PS3 to have as much storage as the current model for minimal cost. A little over the price of a single game, and you'd have more storage than the current model (500GB vs 320GB).

Really, it just would have made all kinds of sense to include an internal HDD bay. That's all there is to it, in my opinion.

SuperLink said:
Maybe Nintendo will be nice enough to upgrade or update the base hardware for a minimal cost.. or maybe not.

Doubt it. The entire guts of consoles evolve over their lifespan. The innards of a current PS3/Wii/360 look nothing like the innards of their respective launch examples. So they'd basically be ripping everything out (except maybe the disc drive?) and replacing all the boards, effectively stuffing a whole new console inside an old shell.

You know Nintendo wouldn't do that for cheap.

It's a shame everybody is looking up so much to Microsoft for the wrong reason: not going for the best, but instead releasing new products with easily avoidable "mistakes". Whether it's a new Windows or a new Nintendo - their developers know people will be happy with, accept delaying - fixing things 5 years from now. All you need is hype, imaginary scarcity for a detached generation; and it's not dissatisfaction with the efforts of their colleagues - but to know what can; and never get there. Frustration is an epidemic system failure, consumption's meaning, life a fill of love of brand - later realising it's just land; because when time has passed, when all there's left, those final ten years worth of sand, of grains that slip, and pushed control(s): that's what we all dreamed to grip.

( Edited 16.09.2012 00:00 by God )

You are not alone. I am here with you. Though we're far apart...you're always in my heart. Love u!

I got a 1 TB HDD for $80, so I'm set. It is a great option, and easier than changing a HDD on PS3, or having to buy an expensive HDD for the 360.

@Martin_: The less moving parts inside the console (that is, a regular HDD), the better. Nintendo likes Flash memory for storage since there is no moving mechanism like in regular HDDs, and thus is less prone to damage.

Still 32GB is pretty pathetic .... Smilie

I use a 32GB SD card for my digital camera and that only cost me less than £20 ... and in a 3 week holiday that I recently went on and the card is 3/4 full! So imagine how long 32GB is gonna last on an HD console...! Smilie

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darkflame (guest) 19.09.2012#17

Well, no. They're going down the right route with giving people options, but to this day the best option for storage space/price ratio is the HDD.

And what of Speed/Durability/Power consumption?

Those arnt the only two factors.
Not to mention size needed to have that bay.

I agree completely with Martin_, but unfortunately the new 12GB SSD PS3 won't come with a HDD bay and will require proprietary memory.

Jim (guest) 22.09.2012#19

Look at it this way, these are the pros and cons I see with each options consoles give memory wise.

Xbox
+Decent Amount of memory is usually included with purchase these day

+Hot swappable (you can take the HDD out and replace it easily without having to format)

+USB memory stick expansion

-Proprietary expensive memory.

-USB memory stick limited to 16GB

-Need to install games on a lot of models since the drive is noisy as fuck can take up a lot of space.


PS3

+Again usually get a decent amount of memory with console

+Can use standard drives meaning cheap memory upgrades

-No hot swappable, you gotta format your drive when you put a new one in so better buy a big drive with your purchase or enjoy spending time transferring stuff over.

-USB drives can only back up saves, not installing discs or saving to USB memory sticks.

-Mandatory installs take up a lot of space


WiiU

+ You can wide variety of memory, USB HDD, SD, Memory sticks

+ Memory capacity isn't artificially limited

+ (Not sure on this one) but it's most likely hot swappable if it behaves the same way as 3DS.

- May look unsightly if you choose to go with external drive?

- Could be more prone to damage being left out in open connected by flimsy USB cable.

- 32GB and 8GB aren't very high capacity as a starting point

The WiiU drive speed is 22MBs read so probably no need for installs.

Also the USB2.0 thing being slow is a load of baloney, yes it would have been nice to get USB3.0 I do not deny this but...it's not like USB2 will have a detrimental effect on access times.

The disk drive is 22MB/s and USB2 read speed is around 35MB/s, so at worst your probably going to match the disk drive…which is faster than PS3's and Xbox360's.

I do hope manufacturers continue with this path of open memory options, it's just better for customers.

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