Update: Nintendo solves Wii storage dearth with an SD card

A 2GB SD card will be able to hold about 60 games

Nintendo Co. Ltd. confirmed to Computerworld today that it has come up with a resolution for the dearth of storage on its Nintendo Wii gaming console -- downloading Virtual Console and WiiWare software directly to an SD card. "We have been listening to the customers, and we have been trying to come up with the solution that will not sacrifice the security nature of Wii but will cater to our customers' convenience," Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said during a media event in Japan today. "We will need more time to tackle it. But the basic direction has been decided."

The Wii console already has an SD slot that allows users to store games, but players must first download the games from an SD card to the Wii's internal disk storage, which is only 512MB in size.

(Editor's note: Nintendo has not yet clarified whether or not applications will eventually be able to execute from an SD card -- so the benefits of the technology upgrade may be limited to downloads.)

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The Wii SD card

Iwata said that when there is not enough room on the Wii's internal memory, you will be able to purchase and download Virtual Console and WiiWare software directly from the Shopping Channel to an SD memory card. "We will also make it so that you will need to go through just one process in order to transfer Virtual Console or WiiWare software stored on an SD card to the Wii console and then be able to play it."

In order to get the message out about the new Wii capabilities, Iwata said beginning this fall the company will include a three-and-a-half-minute long video into Wii as a Wii Channel when consumers purchase Wii hardware. "By doing so, we are hopeful that a number of consumers will review the video at least once," Iwata said.

The video will be an introduction of Wii Channels, WiiWare, Virtual Console and Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. "We would like to undertake more of these types of efforts so an increasing number of consumers are able to understand what Wii can offer when it is connected with the Internet," he said.

Iwata said that because the upgrades to allow SD downloads will require significant revisions to the Wii system, the capability won't be available until next spring. "For some of you, this may be considered late. But please know that we really appreciate your cooperation and understanding. We are working hard so we can begin the service as soon as possible," he said.

According to Computerworld's resident Wii gaming expert, editor Ken Gagne, a 2GB card will hold about 60 games.

Last month, Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo U.S. operations, piqued gamers' interest by saying that his company's answer to the storage issue would be "better than" a hard drive, but he offered no details.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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