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Friday, May 23, 2008

Wii Storage Space

The Wii console has 512 Mb of storage space.
I no longer feel this is enough.

Matt at IGN said a while back that he felt the storage capacity on Wii is no longer adequate.
When I read the article.. I disagreed, because I had not run into this problem.

In the past, all we had to download were Virtual Console games, and a few Wii Channels.
Now though, we have a couple more additions...
  • Game specific Wii channels [Mario Kart Wii, and Wii Fit]
  • Wii Ware
Wii Ware are new games that you can download directly onto your Wii console. As of this writing, it has only been available 2 weeks or so. Nintendo releases new titles on Mondays.

The first Monday, I had no problems. I downloaded 3 of the released 6 titles, and it was great. This past Monday however, I wanted to download 1 title, but I could not, due to lack of space.
If I still want to download the title, here is what I have to do to clear up space:
  1. exit the Wii shop channel
  2. go to Wii Options > Data Management > Wii Channels
  3. now you have 2 options
    a. you can delete unwanted Wii Channels
    b. or.. you can copy unwanted Wii Channels to an SD card
  4. go back into the Wii Shop Channel, and download the title you wanted in the first place
option a.
If you delete Wii Ware or Virtual Console titles, they can be recovered later from the Wii Shop Channel. Nintendo has made it fairly easy to find previously downloaded titles[Just go to the Wii Shop Channel > click Start Shopping > and then click Titles You've Downloaded.. you can now re-download them for free]. The Wii Console saves your Wii Channel and Save Data separately, so if you just delete the channel, your save data is still on your Wii console. When you download the channel again in the future, your save data will be there waiting for it [unless you specifically delete that too].

option b.
Option b... move the data to an SD card.
There are a few problems with this method:
  1. moving is a 2 step process. First, copy the desired channel onto the SD card. Next delete it from your Wii system memory.
  2. Copying to the SD card is reallly slow.
    Lost Winds - 258 blocks - 32.2 Mb on SD card[according to my Mac]
    7m 50s - time to copy from Wii to SD card
    55s - time to copy from SD card to Wii
    55s - time to download from Wii shop channel
    note - this is with an internet connection that tested:
    9749 kbps download, 481 kbps upload
    also, this does not include the time it takes to load up the Wii Shop Channel, and navigate to the proper area
    5.7s - time to copy from SD card to MacBook
    8.9s - time to copy from MacBook to SD card
    My guess is the reason it takes so much longer to copy the file from the Wii to the SD card is because the Wii is performing some sort of encryption on the data. This is only a guess though.
  3. The SD card could get lost.
One good thing about option b is the fact that you don't need to have an internet connection to retrieve your archived games.

After thinking about it for a minute,
My current recommendation, for those needing more space, is this:
Delete Virtual Console titles, and Wii Ware to make room.
When you want those titles again, just re-download them for free from the Wii Shop Channel.
The only caveat here is that your Wii needs to be connected to the internet to re-download.

A few options Nintendo has to correct this problem:
  1. Modify the Wii console to give it more storage space.
    Advantage: an easy and seamless solution.
    Disadvantage: costs consumers more $$, if you already have a Wii, you will feel sad..
  2. Update the Wii software to allow use of SD cards, USB flash drives as a seamless extension of the internal storage.
    This seems like a good idea, but it does require extra [although it is cheap] purchase by the the consumer of said SD/USB flash memory. Also, I'm not sure if there would be any dip in speed while using this external memory. There are other problems with this method... for example.. what happens to channels that are on the screen when you take out the SD card?
  3. Update the Wii software with new functionality as follows.
    This is the least disruptive, and I would think, the easiest item to implement.
    It also goes back to a more Nintendo/Apple-esque feel,
    Just an idea.. may need some tweaking.
    Add a little filing cabinet icon to the Wii channels main screen.
    When you click on this icon, it will show you all the software that you have purchased, and can download onto your console [an added bonus would be to make this list searchable by name or other criteria]. If you want to delete a channel, let's say LostWinds, just drag the channel into the filing cabinet. Really, all this does, is delete the channel, but it makes it feel like you are filing it away. If you ever want to get it again, just click on the filing cabinet, and select Lost Winds. It will download in the background [Wii connect 24] and will show up in your channels when it is ready.

    Also, a mini version of the above described functionality should be available in the Wii Shop Channel. This will allow you to clear off space for new titles while you are still in the Wii Shop Channel.


time to download LostWinds from Wii Shop Channel

1212kbps down, 388kbps up

1:21.5 until hit first block

1:07.0 until hit second block

1:09.4 until hit third block

:22.5 until the download complete screen is seen

4 minutes total

9749kbps down, 481kbps up

23.7 until hit first block

13.6 until hit second block

13.7 until hit third block

5.9 until the download complete screen is seen

55 seconds total

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