Wii U 8GB only has 3GB of usable space

Nintendo's Wii U comes in 8 or 32GB flavours, but neither has as much space as advertised.

Nintendo's Wii U console comes in either 8 or 32GB flavours, but it looks as though neither option will offer nearly as much capacity as advertised, leaving game downloaders feeling the storage squeeze.

Nintendo explained the capacity limitations of its new console in a bizarre video featuring glass jars and a lot of coloured beads. The punchline to this odd clip, Kotaku translates, is that the 8GB Wii U actually will only offer a mere 3GB of usable space, while the 32GB option suffers from similar limitations.

When you format the 8GB console to use it, for instance, you'll get 7.2GB left to play with. Then the console takes up a chunk of space for things like your player account, which totals a hefty 4.2GB.

That leaves you with 3GB of room, which Nintendo explains is enough space to store New Super Mario Bros U, which takes up 2GB, but won't be enough to house, say, Nintendo Land, another launch title that takes up 3.2GB of room. Don't expect to fit downloadable games or DLC onto this system's internal storage, unless they're tiny and you use one at a time, that is.

The 32GB Wii U, meanwhile, ultimately ends up with about 25GB left. That's more palatable, but of course it's more expensive -- the 32GB Wii U costs £300 compared with the £248 8GB model.

Nintendo's advice is to plug in an external hard drive via USB, and rely on the extra external storage that this extra gadget will afford you. You can use up to a 2TB HDD drive, but Nintendo warns against using a solid-state drive, as apparently this can impact gameplay. We have no idea why, as flash drives are generally quicker to access than hard drives.

That advice will be cold comfort to any shoppers left unable to download more than one tiny title come Boxing Day however, and for a company that made its name with accessible, easy-to-use gaming tech, asking customers to buy and connect an external hard drive is a bit rich.

Nintendo's not the only company hogging hard drives with its own gubbins -- Microsoft recently acknowledged that its 32GB Surface tablet actually only offers 16GB of free space, once Windows RT, Office, built-in apps and recovery tools have been installed. Apple's iOS software for the iPad is a winner in this respect at least, taking up a mere 1GB of space.

Are you annoyed by Nintendo's cramped discs? Or are you willing to plug in an external hard drive and forgive? Tell me in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

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About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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