The Wii U will finally let Nintendo users download full-size games to a Nintendo console (legally!) but today we learned about the pros and cons of how Nintendo will let people do this. There are some catches that you probably want to know about if you think there's any chance you'd be downloading the next Super Mario or Zelda to the Wii U.

We're going to be getting technical here, but this is a new console. Better to go in fully-informed. This info comes from a Nintendo Direct video that aired last night in Japan. First, you might be wondering which Wii U console you should get: the Basic or the Premium? The Basic Set has 8GB of Flash Memory, while the Premium Set has 32GB.


But, it's not so cut and dried. Tonight, Nintendo explained all of this with colored beads, glass bins, and a headless lady.

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If you actually format and use the Wii U, the Basic Set has 7.2GB of available Flash Memory, while the Premium Console has 29GB of real Flash Memory.

When you first use the Wii U, the console takes up a certain amount of memory for things like your account data, etc. The amount of memory that is initially required—of either the Basic or Premium—is 4.2GB. Yes, that seems rather large.

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That means, if you are buying the Basic, you don't have 8GB of available memory. Heck, you don't even have 7.2GB. You have 3GB available for the Basic; in comparison, the Premium Set has 25GB of available memory.

And what does that mean? Well, you will be able to store New Super Mario Bros. U on the Basic. It's about 2GB large.

You wouldn't even be able to store a 3.2GB game like Nintendo Land on the Basic. And both? Not happening.

Bear in mind that Wii U game discs hold 25GB of data each. If a developer fills one of those discs, their game would barely fit on a deluxe. Big DLC map packs and such? Forget that internal memory. This is not a surprise, though. Nintendo has said all along that you'd want an external drive.

Both consoles can be connected to external USB memory, which enables owners to store all of their games and content. (Both consoles can also be connected to external hard disk drives that are up to 2TB).

But there are some sticklers in the details: if it's a plug-in hard drive, you can connect it to the Wii U. If it's a portable hard disk drive that is supposed to be powered by the console, you will need to get a Y-cable to use it.

It is possible to use a USB Flash Memory drive; however, Nintendo does not recommend it as the drive's cycling capability can impact gameplay. So whether you are getting the Basic or the Premium, you are definitely going to need an external hard drive.

Wii U本体機能 ちょっと補足 Direct 2012.11.14 [Nintendo]