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Wii U's USB storage, BC, and digital promo laid bare

10:30 PM on 11.14.2012 // Tony Ponce
  @megaStryke

These Nintendo Directs will be the death of me

Earlier today, I shared an English-language Nintendo Direct that detailed many of Nintendo Network's features. Who would have guessed that the Japanese branch would follow up a few hours later with yet another Direct with little warning. Nintendo truly is a company of shinobi.

You can watch Iwata's latest info dump above, but it won't benefit you unless you are fluent in "Nihongo." Thankfully, NeoGAF user cvxfreak was gracious enough to summarize the entire shebang. I've posted his notes past the break, or you can hit the link above and jump right to the source NeoGAF page.

Up for discussion are parental controls, USB storage options, backwards compatibility, and the Deluxe Digital Promotion. The Wii U will be able to read external hard drives up to 2TB in capacity, but it must be properly formatted so that it only works with the console. USB-powered HDDs are not 100% guaranteed to work unless you use a two-pronged USB Y cable. Wii Virtual Console titles can't be played on the GamePad, but Nintendo is working on launching a Wii U Virtual Console that will allow such functionality. And the points your earn as part of the Deluxe Digital Promotion can be used not only on the Wii U eShop but also on the 3DS eShop, Wii Shopping Channel, and DSi Shop.

Read on for the rest.

Parental Controls

  • Nintendo realizes that some parents may fear that their children may use the Wii U's internet functionality without permission. Wii U has Parental Controls.
  • Can restrict content based on user age, CERO (Japan ESRB) rating, internet functionality, internet browser, e-Shop spending, Miiverse functionality, friend registrations, videos, data management, internet settings
  • Wii U keyboard input can save user input habits and predictive input in a specific database that depends on the game and user. Wii U does not save input data that you don't want other users to know into the database.
  • Miiverse settings can be turned on/off depending on the save profiles per game.

USB Data Storage

  • 8GB = 7.2GB, 32GB = 29GB in terms of actual save data. Wii U uses around 4.2GB when using the system for the first time.
  • NSMBU is ~2GB, Nintendo Land is ~3.2GB. So, both won't fit into the Basic set at the same time.
  • Wii U lets you put data onto a connected USB media drive.
  • One USB drive at a time only.
  • Cannot disconnect the external drive while plugged into the Wii U and receiving power.
  • You can use general drives.
  • In terms of powering the HDD while connecting to the Wii U, if you do not use a Y Cable Type drive (2 USB cables), then Nintendo cannot guarantee it will work properly.
  • Nintendo can guarantee functionality if the HDD plugs into a power outlet.
  • No games on USB Flash Memory due to games not running properly all the time (whatever this means...)
  • Wii U will read up to 2TB only for external hard drives
  • In Data Management, you must format the connected media drive. Note that this means you cannot use the drive with a PC.
  • You can move data from internal Wii U storage to external USB media in Data Management and vice versa. Data on both internal and external media will appear in the menu.
  • At launch, only 1 USB hard drive can be connected, but through a future update, more than 1 will be possible and you will be able to move data between them freely.
  • SD Cards can hold PC data, Wii Virtual Console, Wii Ware, and Wii save data, but cannot be used to save Wii U game save data.

Backwards Compatibility

  • Wii games, Virtual Console, Wii Ware stuff cannot be played using the GamePad screen, but only on the TV in Wii Mode
  • Iwata: "We understand that there are people who were looking forward to playing Wii games, Virtual Console games, and so forth on the GamePad, but unfortunately we cannot accommodate those users' expectations."
  • There are plans for a Wii U Virtual Console that WILL be compatible with the Wii U GamePad. Please look forward to it in the future.

Nintendo Network Premium

  • For Premium Set buyers only
  • Point service
  • Make Nintendo Network ID, then login to find and user the service
  • After logging in, you can see the points you have earned
  • Buy with download card or download number
  • Earn 10% back on purchases
  • Earn back purchase points in ¥500 increments
  • Points earned can be used with Wii U/3DS e-Shop, Wii Shopping Channel, DSi Shop


Tony Ponce, Former Contributor
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