Wii U’s First Firmware Update Is Huge And Took Over An Hour To Update

By Spencer . November 18, 2012 . 10:04am

wiiu-32 The Wii U shipped without out Miiverse, eShop, the Internet Browser, and backwards compatibility. Your console has to complete a lengthy firmware update before you can access these features. I updated my Wii U before the console launched and it took 55 minutes to download. Then there was another 30 minutes of waiting to install it.


The time to update your Wii U may take even longer now and if you start the process do not unplug your Wii U to quit. You could brick your Wii U in the process and it looks like that happened to a few people already.


Nintendo doesn’t say how big the firmware update is, but it appears system software eats up a significant portion of the console’s storage space. I have a 32 GB Wii U and with firmware version 1.0 (a stock Wii U before the update) there was 25 GB of free space.


New Super Mario Bros. U and other Wii U titles can be played without the firmware update. Unless you enjoy watching progress bars, we recommend starting the firmware update overnight.

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  • Wow…O.o

  • Didn’t Nintendo implement an internal download manager? I would think that could be a significantly reliable precaution – or rather, a solution at this point.

  • malek86

    Looks like I’ll need to move my UPS to the Wii U temporarily when I download the first update.

  • protofox

    wow..to brick your new next gen console the 1st few days u have it…i… dont even want to think of that.. anyone else see vegeta’s rage in DBZ abridged..that would have to be my level of rage.

  • pothier.adrien

    Blahaha, Project Café indeed, you have quite the time to go drink some.

  • AyaisMUsikWhore

    This is true. I got home with mine at around 11:30 am, I started hooking it up at 11:45.. Started the update.. It didn’t finish until 1:45 and I have fast Internet speeds. The Wifi box is right underneath it too and it was still slow.

  • Wow, this is pretty unfortunate. Hopefully, post-launch units will come with the update installed, so the risk of bricking is minimized in the months to come.

  • Mark

    It’s 1-1.5GB for anyone interested

    • XypherCode

      I saw somewhere that it’s about 5GB.

  • landlock

    It never easy huh? sounds like a pain in the …

  • Grenalie

    Good thing I’m waiting.

  • XypherCode

    If it’s an hour then that might be about 3-4 hours for me :(

    But isn’t it normal to have a 32GB system and 25GB usable/available for the end user?


    for all those reactions i gotta say : FAIL !!

  • eilegz

    5GB day one update…. I cant believe why nintendo couldnt just update the thing before it ships them… or put a update on DVD or something…. If this its nintendo from era before this wouldnt be released and would have been delayed until qualitty assurance fix this.

    What  big screwup, 100 mb firmware updates from sony its bad enough but 5 GB its just insane….

  •  they should just give us option to download using pc and then install it using sd card
    or something

  • SetzerGabbiani

    It is indeed a lengthy process, but after you’re done it’s all good.  Been messing around with some of the features.  It’s going to be pretty sweet when Nintendo really gets things rolling.

    This is simply the angst of early adoption.

  • Nemesis_Dawn

    A couple sites were reporting that their downloads took up to 4 hours.

  • BTA

    From what I heard it’s only ~1 GB and doesn’t actually take up any more space after installing. It’s annoying but not a huge issue, and it’s not like the day 1 patch wasn’t known about beforehand.

    • Nemesis_Dawn

      Actually 5G. And if you have the 8G model, you only have 3G left when it’s done.

  • Aoshi00

    Sounds like a very long update, kinda dampens the enthusiasm for people who open the box and want to enjoy the brand new system right away, imagine how the kids feel lol.. and that is for people w/ fast connection, imagine w/ slower DSL which I had several until several months ago before switching back to cable (damn verizon still doesn’t have FIOS in my area after all these years). I remember I was very pleased w/ Wii Sports on launch day..

    I just want to play Mario Wii U, pre-ordered the game before but decided
    to cancel it..  I’ll wait until perhaps Amazon carry it or something to
    save 7% sales tax which is like $25..

    I hope Nintendo would finally have an easy way to make all the purchases be on one account instead of transferring data btwn systems and wiping the original one.  I’m always nervous things would be lost transferring btwn the 3DSes, click this and that on both systems at the same time..  also just stop being so stubborn (lazy?) and get on w/ the times alrdy, add “accomplishment” or whatever so it has trophy/achievement equivalent..  they won’t make playing games less fun.. just a good system to tie everything into one account..

    • ThunderGod_Cid

      You only have to do the update when you try to connect to the internet or preform a system update, I know because during the setup process I couldn’t remember my router’s password. I said screw it, I’ll do it later, and proceeded to play NSMBU without a problem. 

      The update adds the eShop channel, the Wii menu(which allows you to play Wii games), MiiVerse, Nintendo Network features, and few other things. 

      You do the system transfer if you want to transfer your Wii’s save files and WiiWare/Virtual Console games. 

      And the Nintendo Network is pretty much like PSN/Live with all your purchases/downloads tied to your NN account, instead of your console.

      So yeah, they DID fix most of those issues you just listed.

      • except the achievments/Trophys which is one of the many reasons I loved Devil Survivor overclocked.

      • Aoshi00

        Yeah, I realize one could choose not to update a system, but whenever I pop in a game and if it asks for updates, I would not refuse it and let it finish, which was the case w/ most PS3 games, always having big update patches everyone once in a while, and it took very long for a slow DSL connection.  Even if it’s a long process, I would still d/l everything first before I start so everything is up to date.  While this is technically optional, it is still something that needs to be done at some point.  And once the process starts, it can’t be stopped or you risk bricking the system.  Normally most people would just want to take of it and get it over with, but who knew it would take so long right?  At least now I know what to expect.

        Definitely nice to hear the purchases are tied to account instead of system now.  I had games spread out on my DS, DSi, 3DS, and 2 diff. Wiis before (well Wiis were region locked)..  Hopefully they would make “accomplishment” a requirement sooner than later, like how earlier PS3 games didn’t have trophies and weren’t patched..  It’s just weird when you have multiplatform games and the other two of trophy/cheevos while Wii U is the only one lacking it. keeping track of your gaming history..

  • I didn’t think it could get much worse than the PS3’s update process but there you go. The best part is when you pop in that new game and you have to update the firmware AND do a mandatory data install. By the time it’s all said and done I don’t have time to play or don’t feel like it anymore.

    NEXT GEN!!!

    • K Mantle

       Hopefully, the newer games will have the required update on the disc (like the Wii and the PSP, don’t know if the PS3 does it too), so there will be no need of downloading it

      • PS3 makes you update to get online the updates aren’t on the disc.

        • Elvick

          PSP, PS3 and PS Vita let you use a PC to download an update then just use whatever to transfer it to the device. I’ve never done it, so don’t know if it’s faster though.

          • I used to do that back when Internet connection wasen’t very good.

            It’s a LOT Faster, took about 5 minutes maybe less on my PS3.

          • K Mantle

            That depends. My PC is connected via an ethernet cable, and my PS3 used the wireless connection. Downloading via PC is a lot faster than using the consoles (specially the PSP).
            Still, I (have to) use a crappy telmex modem, so maybe is and issue of the device (curse them and their inferior-but-extremely-overpriced services)

        • K Mantle

          Wonder why. Is not like there’s not enough space on the blu-rays
          Anyway, thanks for the info

        • Nemesis_Dawn

          That’s both true and false. In later printings, PS3 games tend to have the older updates on the disc. The earlier your copy, though, yes, it will not have the update on the disc. For example, if you have an early copy of GTA IV, it will not have trophies until you download the patch. Newer copies, however, have them on the disc.

  • So are you saying I should wait?

  • Jesse Thompson

    I’d rather buy a second PS Vita and format it to JP for my Project Diva f than buy a WiiU.  And wow, Nintendo.  You really, REALLY hate your customers.  Clicked over to kotaku (which I don’t usually do) and watched the JP demonstration of the Basic vs Premium.  Yeah, you seriously hate your customers guys, glad I’m not one of them.

    • Robert Leonardi

       erm you do know that you could play PDf on any psvita of any regions right ? (PS vita isn’t region locked)

      • the memory cards are locked to an account so he would have to switch to his jap account for PDf.

        • Robert Leonardi

           ah i see, i was just saying that cuz i was able to play ToIR on my vita and had no problems with it

          • Jesse Thompson

             It’s as Mike says, I’d do that so I could connect my JP PSN account and get DLC for PDf. :)

  • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

    Not to nitpick but shouldn’t “The Wii U shipped without out Miiverse, eShop, the Internet Browser, and backwards compatibility.” be “The Wii U shipped without Miiverse…”~?

  • Nitraion

    Hmm waiting…. better version with bigger storage and more game….
    nintendo is screw up in here they should include it already and brick your console if failed? ==”…. that’s scary did they include insurance? 

    • revenent hell

      Well it appears it only bricks the console if you pull the plug durring the update ….I wouldnt update it in stormy weather though just to be safe

      • Nitraion

        Well haha what a coincidence it’s rain and stormy season in here ^^”

        • revenent hell

          tell me about it…the weather where I live is never consistant……one night the power went out nine times….and there was no save point in front of the Boss for a game I was playing every time I got to him the power would go out…oh that was a frustrating night to be sure.

          • Nitraion

            Wow power went out nine times that’s really sucks… XD
            Maybe i have some power outrage 2-3 times in a day but its very loong its like 20 hours or 1 day… *_*Firmware update can be really scary if you failed you will be brick you know O_o not mentioned the connection in here is really2 sucks i am having hard time to play online if the netcode for corresponding game is not good…I am having hard time for PS3 firmware update the official site update is really helpful but again if game firmware update with big size that really sucks… ==”Maybe handheld can be alternative but i am not really fond with handheld my eyes kinda hurt if playing it…. So Nintendo i hope you fix this….or maybe upload firmware on your official site? that will be really helpful…

  • Imagine how long my 60kb/s internet took to download the firmware.
    I hope they have a pre-installed firmware for their future shipment.

  • DemonicX

    *Sigh* Nintendo needs to get it together…

  • revenent hell

    ..and to think ive hated sony ps3 updates…….This would royally piss me off…I was contemplating getting the WiiU but this is absurd.
    I seriously hope they change this in future because…eewwy.

  • midgard229

    nintendo this is pathetic. Whats the point of releasing an un finished console. this is why it should have launched tuesday. seriously, a day 1 patch? sad.. 

  • isotrex

    Can’t they provide another means of update like maybe download it on your PC and transfer it on your flash drive and install it from there. Or… update directly from a disc. I really hope there are options like those mentioned.

  • Kevin Tan

    The Wii U can run Wii games and do the Wii transfer WITHOUT the Day 1 Update.  I personally tested this on a Wii U Black console with Xenoblade and had the option to go into Wii Mode.  The Wii U upscales Wii games like the 360 incidentally. :o

  • OathkeeperSoraXIII

    glad I didn’t get this on day 1, i’ll wait until xmas when I have a bit of extra dosh and the firmware is already on the console. thanks siliconera for keeping my money safe

    • Just a heads up that the firmware probably won’t be on the console at Christmas either. They will likely be manufacturing the exact same model for the next couple of months at least, and making changes to it could slow down production, which I don’t think they want to do in the middle of the holiday season.

  • XiaomuArisu

    The poor guys which buys a Nintedo system on release.

  • Learii

    will every update take this long? or is it because is the first model

  • Göran Isacson

    … Sooo I’ma just wait until next year to get one. Or however long it takes for this patch to be installed into the actual machine.

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