Wii U Will Let You Plug A Three Terabyte Hard Drive Into It

By Ishaan . September 13, 2012 . 2:20pm

While the Wii U only has between 8 and 32GB of internal storage (depending on your model of choice), Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime, says that you can plug your own three terabyte hard drive into the console if you want to.


Speaking with Engadget, Fils-Aime shared: “The reason we did it that way is that the cost of that type of storage memory is plummeting. What we didn’t want to do is tie a profit model to something that’s gonna rapidly decline over time. We’ll let the consumer buy as much as they want, as cheaply as they want.”


The Wii U will come in two packages—a basic set for $300 and a deluxe set for $350. You can find details of both those packages here. Wii U will launch on November 18th in North America.

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  • $30632660

    Now I’m starting to feel like my 500 gb external harddrive is not enough for this beast lol

  • MrRobbyM

    I knew my 1TB external would come in handy one day. Thanks Nintendo.

  • malek86

    “The reason we did it that way is that the cost of that type of storage memory is plummeting.”

    This is a bit ironic because HDD prices have actually increased a lot over the past year due to the floods in Thailand.

    Anyway, I like that they are offering the chance to let you use any HDD, like Sony did. But I would like it even better if they gave you a way to insert it inside, possibly with a SATA connector. Ah well, can’t have everything. And who knows, with games presumably not using installations, maybe even 32GB will be fine. My 360 Slim is still surviving off the 60GB drive I got years ago, and I even have 30GB of free space.

    • Tatsuya1221

       Actually, the flood didn’t have that big an effect on the HDD industry as a whole, they saw that they could double the price and people would pay it, so they did, if you don’t believe me you can google it.

      • Anime10121

         @malek86:disqus and @Tatsuya1221:disqus , dont know which one of you are right, but it is true that hard drive prices have went up exponentially.  Two years ago, I bought two 2 terabyte drives for $100 a piece.  Now youll be lucky to find a 1.5 tb drive for that much.  Its sad, cuz I NEED more hard drives, but will NOT pay more for less!

        • SirRichard

          Is it still that bad over there? The PC retailer I use has had its prices return to normal by now, and the prices have dropped. Before the flooding it was hard to find a 2TB for under £100, now they’re not that much more expensive than 1TB drives (~£80 for a 2TB drive, ~£60 for a 1TB).

          • Anime10121

             Yep, average price for a 2 tb drive is about $130 now, and thats for an internal drive.  The ones I bought a couple years ago were externals (thus already having  cases) and they were 30 bucks cheaper!

          • SirRichard

            Damn, that really sucks for you lot. Hopefully they’ll start coming down again soon, there’s no real reason for them to be so high any more.

          • malek86

            Still a bit high. Today, a 1TB Caviar Green costs as much as I paid before for my 1TB Caviar Black.

            Externals are a bit better though, for some reason. But then, external drives tend to be slow. In this particular case though, the Wii U will probably only have USB2.0 and not SATA like on the 360/PS3, which would limit the speed anyway.

  • Farid Belkacemi

    They did the right thing.

  • idofgrahf

    In other words, we don’t want to include a harddrive because it will cut into our profit margin…they can easily put in a 500gb hdd for less than 25 dollars (since Nintendo is a bulk buyer and have no doubt deals with companies like Hitachi or Samsung, they can get it a lot cheaper than the average consumer and a average 500gb hdd is about 50-60 bucks at microcenter)… 

    • Steven Boivin

      And I have a 1TB Hard drive that has 90% of its space empty that I can use instead of forking over that extra cash. What’s your point?

      • Shogunreaper

        And what about the average consumer? Most people don’t go around buying extra hard drives.

        Also only 3TB? Yeah, way to future-proof Nintendo.

        • SantiagodelosSantos

          Not sure how someone will fill a 3TB HD

        •  Did you just say ONLY 3 TB?  How the hell would you fill 3TB?

          • Shogunreaper

            Oh sorry, i guess i was just thinking long term, you know since this is the first new console in like 6 years, and this might be the last generation of consoles.

          • MrRobbyM

            The only way I would imagine someone filling up 3TB is if they buy a LOT of games digitally.

          • sd28

            so if Sony and microsoft don’t give you 3TB will you complain that they are not thinking long term or just accept it

      • Budgiecat

        External hard drives are more prone to crashing though : /

      • sunK1D

        Are you gonna buy a 1TB HDD for everyone else?

        You people are so gullible. Nintendo is making most of you spend another $100 on top of their hardware price and you’re all dying to keep sucking it.

        Like the other guy said, Nintendo could have added 500GB which would had been more than enough and would have cost them barely 20-25 bucks.

        How many of you that have a 160GB PS3 or a 250GB XBOX feel the need to upgrade? The people that actually do upgrade are probably less than 1% of the user base. With 8/32GB on the other hand, you’re basically forcing everyone who buys a wiiU into forking extra cash on a HDD.

        • Yes, but would the customers have received better if Nintendo actually threw in an HDD and raised the price, regardless of whether they wanted it or not? At least with the current decision, customers can actually do some bargain hunting of their own, as well as freely looking for the HDD size they prefer. Sure, a little extra work, but I’d say the freedom more than makes up for it.

        • I would believe your BS comment if the money for the extra space went to Nintendo.

  • XYZ_JolteonZ980

    Are the console makers really charging some premium on HDD costs, if the HDDs are as low as 30 or so dollars for 120GB on the consumer level, surely thats really even much much cheaper on the makers level? it cant really be way more costtly to scale up from 32 to any standard size?

  • eilegz

    so can this use ntfs? 

    • Saintdante

       This is what I’d like to know as well I have a dedicated external for my PS3 formatted in Fat 32 but I’d like to use my 2 TB external if I do ever get the Wii U.

      • XypherCode

        Partitioning would likely do the trick. Or just format the drive of the file system of your choice. The console will mostly likely support flash drives so Fat/Fat32 or even NTFS will work and if it is partitioned maybe it’ll just read what file system is supports. :)

    • ForteWily

       I would not bet on NTFS support, considering the hoops that Nintendo would have to jump for a Microsoft technology. And yes, the roadblock to that would be legal (IANAL).

      FAT is tricker… Microsoft does own the technology (and most corresponding patents), but most of those are invalid or can be written around in some fashion. It use on numerous standards, and tend to be the file system of choice in a number of basic manners. It would be hard not to see support for at least that, but it is a bed of nails… so I remain unsure about it.. That said that applies to FAT-32 and older not xFAT64 which is something else entirely.

  • riceisnice

    Please, only 3 terabytes? Where am I gonna put all my favorite animal crossing Wii U pattern designs?

    • puchinri

       I lol’d. And love it. But now I’m sad, because we have to wait for AC:WiiU. ;n;

  • amagidyne

    Oh, okay, that makes more sense. Thought the 32gb limit was weird.

  • SirRichard

    That’s neat, I suppose, but now I’m going to agonise over what size of external drive I’m going to need.

    And I wonder if it really is as simple as just connecting it up; I know you need to do some formatting for external drives for the PS3, so what’s the case here?

    • Locklear93

      If they’re doing it right, it’ll be a simple matter of “connect, hit yes at format prompt, wait.”  It’s possible to make a format complicated by allowing you to partition or select filesystems or sector sizes, but there’s no real reason for something like that if the drive is just for the console.  The system could very rationally just allocate all space on the drive to a single partition and go with it.

  • KHSoraKeyBlade

    That’s what I like to hear Nintendo. 

  • Announce that it’s going to be region Free, and I’ll buy it in a heartbeat.

    • Budgiecat

      don’t hold your breath

    • Nintendo consoles have NEVER been region-free.

      • Yamaneko22

        On my European DS Lite I can play both DS and GBA games from USA and Japan, so that’s not true…

        • zeldana

          That’s the only reason I’m still holding on my DSL, despite having a 3DS.

        • The DS is region-free, yes. But the DS is not a console, it’s a handheld.

      • puchinri

         Were the home consoles never region-free? I can never remember that. It’d be nice if those went region-free now since the portable consoles aren’t anymore.

  • One of my favorite aspects of the Wii U.

  • drproton

    “The reason we did it that way is that the cost of that type of storage
    memory is plummeting. What we didn’t want to do is tie a profit model to
    something that’s gonna rapidly decline over time. We’ll let the
    consumer buy as much as they want, as cheaply as they want.”

    Exactly the opposite of what Microsoft would do.

    •  Yeah, im suffering with my 60 gb hdd, but i REFUSE to pay for their overpriced hdd´s :/

  • Reggie’s explanation sounds so reasonable it kinda makes me suspicious.

  • Zonic505

    So glad to hear we can add-on additional storage memory. Now I just hope there’ll be games worth downloading to fill the initial 32GB.

  • Airgetlam

    I doubt anyone would even come close to using 3 terabytes even if they went digital download only. But it’s nice to have the option. Still need more incentive to buy a Wii U though. 

    • neo_firenze

       Yep, the game discs are 25GB capacity and if we assume 1 game = 1 disc, you could put a minimum of 40 games per 1 terabyte.  And realistically, significantly more because most games won’t take up a full 25GB. 

      I have a 750GB drive in my PS3 and it doesn’t come anywhere close to full even though I have dozens of PSN games, 50+ PS1 classics, dozens of PSP games, and a handful of full PS3 games. 

      At any rate, glad to see Nintendo taking this consumer-friendly approach here (which, to give credit, Sony did with the PS3 too).  Way better than Sony’s misstep with expensive proprietary Vita memory card formats, Microsoft’s downright robbery with their super-inflated proprietary 360 hard drives, or Apple’s extreme memory pricing with no alternative for more storage space. 

      • Airgetlam

        Agreed. The Vita memory cards were ridiculously expensive. But Apple’s non expandable memory is the worst. In this day and age where apps are getting larger and larger (for example Infinity Blade 2 is 1.2 GB) they can’t really expect people to be content with just 16 GB even with icloud. My ipad is already full and I just got it. Tablets should definitely include expandable memory as their apps are also larger. 

        • Christopher Nunes

          $100 for a 32G Vita memory card… sorry, but I’m waiting for a price drop. That’s just ridiculous, maybe $80 for it maybe more reasonable.

      • malek86

        I’m not sure we’ll see game installs anyway (and if we do, they’ll probably be more similar to the PS3 rather than the image dumps of the 360). 750GB will probably be way too much. Heck, I imagine I could even settle for like 120GB.

      • ddh819

        i wish the ps3 would let you move demos at least, if not paid games, to an external usb drive.

  • kupomogli

    “The reason we did that was to trick our customers into paying for their own storage in order to cut costs while still making our console look cheaper.”

    Fixed, Reggie.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Well, if they indeed put the big storage there, it will force the consumer to buy the console on much expensive price there.

      I myself really like this step they are taking as i still have 2 terabytes HDD that i haven’t use here.^_^ So it is a good moves lol.^_^

    • Suicunesol

       And I’d rather pay the cheaper price than pay extra for harddrive space I’m not gonna use. If someone wants extra space, they should buy it themselves. No one should complain–after all, HD space is cheap, right?

    • I redirect to my point above: [Link]

      It’s not “made it look cheaper”; they “made it cheaper”. You could use the “price trick” argument only if the console needs the extra storage device; it doesn’t. People who play light games will be plenty happy with the built-in storage, and if/when they want more, they can freely expand.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    This is really a nice news for me here.^_^ If they do attach bigger size HDD for the hardware there, i am more than certain the price will be more than 300/350 there.

    Lucky me, i still have one free 2TB lol while my other 4TB is already more or less full lol.^_^

  • Cameron Ward

    how would you plug in a terrbyte hard drive. for a future purchase, does anyone recommend a certain type of terrabyte hard drive that is made for additional space and not to back stuff up?

    • Mr_SP

       The same way you plug in any hard drive – “terabyte” is a matter of storage space, 1000 GB, not a specific type. Open up the slot on your Wii U or PS3, and there will be plugs for power and connecting. Just slide the HDD in firmly, put in the screws that come with it, and you’re done.

      All HDDs would be compatible, but you’d have to look around or ask someone at a computer parts store (or a game store, if they plan to stock a couple) to help you find a good balance between storage size and read speed. But in my experience, you’d be hard pressed to find a current HDD where you’d actually notice the difference between read speeds.

      If anything, you’ve just got to watch out for whether you’re buying a full sized HDD for a PC (which are cheaper, larger, and faster) or a Laptop HDD (which are smaller), and that you’re buying a HDD itself, and not an external HDD (which is just a normal HDD in a box with a USB cable). Most likely, you’ll need the second, like the PS3 uses, considering that the Wii U isn’t exactly big.

      Admittedly, this is a bit of a fiddly thing for Nintendo to do, even if I do see the point.

      • Cameron Ward

         i just dont feel like spending like 999 dollars on another storage thing even if it will expand the space of the console…is there a good, but cheap one?

        • This would cover your needs for practically the entire generation: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822178114  Lower capacities would also be fine and get you into lower pricing

  • Four USB ports and SD. They should make it to where you can have 4 X 4TB HDD + 128GB SDXC on top of the 32GB internal…just kidding!

  • Beta Tabe

    So if there are 4 USB ports that means you can plug 4 3 Terrabytes hard drives? So in other words, 12 Terrabytes!?

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

      Holy  space batman 

  • wahyudil

    Like the idea, but I still want to buy the Deluxe set … all the bonuses just for $50 is a crazy deal …

    • Those bonuses are the exact reason that I’m going to be doing that as well. 

      • Christopher Nunes

        I pre-order the deluxe version as well! Plus it’s black! An awesome color for the system! ^_^

  • Göran Isacson

    Soo question: they mean ALL kinds of external HDDs, or some kind of specialty HDD? Because if the former, well… kudos to you, Nintendo. The price may be a bit rich for me at this time, but I could conceivably get at… some point. It might be worth the price of admission for a new Bayonetta alone, as well as the awesome looking Tekken Tag Tournament 2 edition. Not to mention easy transfer of virtual console games, extra storage space as I please,

    Just a question though: has any information of the Europe release date been given?

    • sd28

      any kind 

      honestly i would look into buying it during Christmas as there is sure to be a bunch of holiday bundles

      • Göran Isacson

        Holiday bundles might be a good idea, yeah. I would have to wish for money in that case, because funds are ever so sparse right now…

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    ……..my External harddrive body is ready 

  • Just Tim

    Damn, did Nintendo just go #BeastMode on this one!?

  • I have a 1.5TB and a 2TB hard drive lying around at home.

    Hopefully I can just shove my internal drives into the WiiU.
    Otherwise, I could probably just rig said HDDs up to some kind of converter.

  • you guys do know you can get a 1tb as low as 60 why are you acting like its as much as buying another system?

    • puchinri

      Surprisingly, 1TB can be very cheap, especially from reliable suppliers even.

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