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Wii to Get New Hardware - Possibly Hard Drive? 151

HoboBob writes "It has been suggested that Nintendo will be unveiling some new hardware for the Wii at the E3 media festival, and some are speculating that it could be a hard drive. According to the article: 'Confirmation back in April that Neo Geo games will begin being added to Wii's Virtual Console download service adds weight to the speculation, considering Neo Geo games are huge — some clocking in it at up to 330MB. One of those bad boys would put serious strain on the Wii's memory.'"
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Wii to Get New Hardware - Possibly Hard Drive?

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  • by Canthros ( 5769 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:05AM (#19394533)
    Duuuuude. I would almost kill for some Samurai Shodown. Dag.
    • by xtracto ( 837672 )
      Hehe, for me it is the King of Fighters series the ones that would make me buy my classic controler... and download one of those. Of course I am a bit skeptic after buying Super Mario Bros for the VC as it runs faster than normal (PAL issue)*, its flickery and has other general playability issues... which in my opinion make the games not worth the overpriced price.

      * Yeah, I have already applied the updates and tried with 50 and 60 HZ configuration... and the game still runs *faster* than normal (including t
      • Re:Neo Geo games? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by LKM ( 227954 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:22AM (#19395243) Homepage

        Of course I am a bit skeptic after buying Super Mario Bros for the VC as it runs faster than normal (PAL issue)*, its flickery and has other general playability issues...

        I did not notice any flickering or "playability issues," but actually, I think the speed issue is a bugfix rather than a bug. The NES PAL version ran too slow compared to the Japanese and US versions, right? Nintendo fixed that for the Wii release.

        • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

          We've had continual problems over the years with PAL ports of gamers developed in the US or Japanese market for the N64 and GC. Particularly action/adventure games with timed components in them which become impossible to complete with the game clock sped up. Even a 'perfect' path will find you not completing the stage before the deadline.

  • Form factor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Agent00Wang ( 146185 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:07AM (#19394545) Homepage
    While I think having more space would be great, I'd hate to lose the Wii's small form factor in my entertainment cabinet. Maybe it'll be somewhat modular rather than an external box attached via USB or some other wire?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Agreed. Nintendo always seem to like using pre-existing, proven tech, rather than making their own. Considering the price (and size) of a 2gb USB drive nowadays, why not use them?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Phisbut ( 761268 )

      While I think having more space would be great, I'd hate to lose the Wii's small form factor in my entertainment cabinet. Maybe it'll be somewhat modular rather than an external box attached via USB or some other wire?

      What I'd actually like instead of a hard drive is the ability for the Wii to read directly from the SD card, instead of forcing me to copy the data from the SD card to the Wii's internal memory before using it. Would make managing backups much easier, and even at 300MB, a NeoGeo game can eas

      • by Fozzyuw ( 950608 )

        What I'd actually like instead of a hard drive is the ability for the Wii to read directly from the SD card, instead of forcing me to copy the data from the SD card to the Wii's internal memory before using it.

        I agree with you 100% on that. I find it odd that they have this 'expanded memory' but it's pretty much pointless outside of a 'closet' to store stuff you're not using. I wanted to toss my saved games and VC games on it, but nope, Wii cannot read them. I see little point for it, unless 3rd parti

      • by cHALiTO ( 101461 )
        Not only read directly from memory, but instead of adding a 'hard drive' why not just add support for USB mass storage devices?? then you can choose what to use: USB keys, card adapters (maybe you got some memorysticks/CF/whatever cards lying around.. I have a 1G MMC that's not compatible with the Wii's sd card driver., and of course you can attach a hard drive with a USB enclosure to it, so it's obviously better than limiting yourself to just a hard drive attachment.

        From there, it'd be quite simple to add
        • by jZnat ( 793348 ) *
          You have just summarised pretty much all the things that are wrong with the Wii's hardware support that pissed me off. I'd like to add that Nintendo should also focus on releasing some unreleased games on the Virtual Console (e.g., the Fire Emblem series (5 games total) for the rest of the world, or the TurboGrafx16 to Australia) or even improved games (e.g., online support, bug fixes, actual save states, etc.). They could also introduce non-think-of-the-children online play for games that don't require g
          • Yeah, there is a reason the Wii has its own friendcode. Too bad that reason is so you can send messages on the message board and trade miis.
    • by Ant P. ( 974313 )
      Why not USB? It'd be seriously retarded of Nintendo to screw over everyone who's bought a Wii to date when they could just push out a firmware update with mass storage drivers.
  • SMB (Score:5, Funny)

    by rlp ( 11898 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:14AM (#19394583)
    I'd rather see a software upgrade to support SMB. Then my Wii could access files on my server. While we're at it, they could add a DivX channel for video playback. Oh yeah, and a Java VM ... and a pony.
  • correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by hamanu ( 23005 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:15AM (#19394597) Homepage
    neo geo games were maximum 330 mega BITS, not megabytes.
    • Re:correction (Score:5, Informative)

      by Elledan ( 582730 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:24AM (#19394699) Homepage
      Correct: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo_Geo_(console) [wikipedia.org]

      Specification for ROM size was up to 330 megabits, hence the system displaying "MAX 330 MEGA - PRO GEAR SPEC" upon startup. While no technical changes were required to achieve it, some games over 100 megabits followed this screen by displaying an animation touting "The 100 Mega Shock". The original ROM size spec was later enhanced on cartridges with bank switching memory technology, increasing the maximum cartridge size to around 716 Mbit. These new cartridges also caused the system to display "GIGA POWER" upon startup, indicating this enhancement.

      So think roughly N64 cartridge sizes.
      • indeed.. a Neo Geo game is not much bigger than a N64 game.. I don't think that would be a good reason for a HDD.
    • by Stalin ( 13415 )
      Thank you. I was going to post this if someone else had not already.
    • by vitaflo ( 20507 )
      And uncompressed. VC games are compressed to save space for this very reason.

      The only thing a HD would be useful for at this point is any CD based game, or new games created just for VC that have higher space requirements.
    • I guess there never will be a time when everyone knows console carts are always in megabits and not megabytes. Wouldn't expect that mistake here.
  • by mlk ( 18543 )
    If they add a decent sized micro-drive (8G should be enough), and DVD playing abilities I will be a tad irritated. My lovely new toy getting a serious update this soon after it being released is not nice.

    USB HDD support would lessen the blow, as would good support for movie formats, and Flash 9 support in Opera.
    • They announced that there would be a DVD version released this year even before the platform launched last fall.
      http://www.gamespot.com/news/6161611.html [gamespot.com]
      • by Sancho ( 17056 )
        That doesn't mean that there will be a new hardware release. The Wii hardware is more than capable of decoding DVDs, and the drive itself is a DVD-rom. Nintendo should be able to offer DVD playback via a software
      • They announced that there would be a DVD version released this year even before the platform launched last fall.
        Nintendo announced the same thing about GameCube, but the "Q" version of the hardware didn't make it out of the NTSC J region.
    • Agreed except for the DVD playback. I have a standard DVD player and an upconverting on my HDTV. I really don't need a third player. The hard drive on the other hand...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cowscows ( 103644 )
      I seriously doubt that they're going to release a new version of the wii that includes any sort of hard drive. I don't think releasing a Wii HD makes much sense for Nintendo either way, but if they were to do so, they'd almost certainly do it as an external add-on. They're still easily selling Wii's by the truckload in their current form, why would they add anything else to it to cut down on their margins?

      DVD playback is more likely, because it wouldn't require much in terms of hardware changes, the Wii al
      • by brkello ( 642429 )
        Because they did it with the DS?
      • by bicho ( 144895 )
        DVD playback concerns more than hardware expenses.
        I would hate DVD playback. To encumber an unencumbered console. what with royalties, patents, region codes and whatnot.

        An external storage device support to ease loading issues from the dvd, on the other hand, would be very nice.
        • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )
          The Wii is already "encumbered with royalties, patents, region codes and whatnot": it can play MP3's and display JPEG's.
        • by radish ( 98371 )
          Errmmm....the Wii is already "encumbered" with all of those things. There are plenty of patented and licensed technologies in there, for which royalties were undoubtably paid - and the games are already region locked [joystiq.com].
  • I hope they just do a firmware update so that I can use a usb drive or the sd card. I doubt I will personally use the virtual console to go beyond 4gb that an sd card can give me. The only reason I would want an hdd would be if it could play movies and music. I really wish that there was a way to get some type of 5.1 sound (not pro logic II) and some DVD software. I know everyone has a dvd player but it would be nice to have just one magic little box to do everything. And a wireless nunchuk would be cool
    • by archen ( 447353 )
      I hope they just do a firmware update so that I can use a usb drive or the sd card.

      And the CF card is exactly where they should go. I don't know why people are bitching about the lack of hard drive when you can have plenty of solid state storage right there. Right now a 4gb costs a mere $65. I mean the xbox only came with 8-10Gb. There are millions of wii consoles out there already, so developers cannot assume there will be one, but that's irrelevant if used for storage. CF cards also have built in DRM
  • by Dance_Dance_Karnov ( 793804 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:19AM (#19394649) Homepage
    to release new hardware? or to release a patch to let us use network or USB storage? or to re-encode all the redbook audio and fmv with real codecs so that those games don't clock in at anything over 50MB? speaking of, how the hell hard is it to whip up a usb keyboard driver?
    • by xtracto ( 837672 )
      to release new hardware? or to release a patch to let us use network or USB storage?

      To release new hardware of course... just look at all those overpriced hardware accessories for the iPod, Xbox, PS? and other equipment which are available in "standard" form factor. If they let you use your Maxtor HD then they wont see a penny of that.
      • They may not directly see money, but if there's a bunch of add-on devices then they could probably sell a lot more. Mind you, it doesn't seem like they are having any trouble selling them the way they are, but adding extra features with almost no development time is probably a good investment.
        • by *weasel ( 174362 )
          And adding 'new' hardware that's just off-the-shelf tech with a Nintendo logo is what they do.

          We're far more likely to see a Nintendo-branded SSD solution than SMB drivers, USB HDD support, SD-support for VC titles, SDHC support, etc.
    • by Yoozer ( 1055188 )

      or to re-encode all the redbook audio and fmv with real codecs
      While the Saturn may have had this, I don't think this was the modus operandi for Neo Geo games - most of the animated sequences use parallax scrolling to suggest camera rotation and layers of sprites for panning. The audio is either ADPCM in a module-like format (tracker) with some FM synthesis sprinkled through.
  • Saturn Games (Score:2, Interesting)

    I hope they come out with some Sega Saturn games, such as NiGHTS [wikipedia.org] or Dragon Force [wikipedia.org]. That would certainly fill a great hole in Virtual Console's arsenal.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Except the fact that pcs with triple the power strain to emulate the 8 processor beast. I mean sure it would be great, even if I already own about 150 saturn games, but I dont think it has the umph. Ofcourse my speculation is based off of years of tinkering with Saturn emulation, which even today none of the emulators are close to even loading 100% of the games, let alone running them.
    • I agree completely, although the game I would most look forward to is Guardian Heroes [wikipedia.org]. Especially since its predecessor Gunstar Heroes [wikipedia.org] is already one of the games available.

      One of my favorite things to do in Guardian Heroes was to set up automated battles and see who would win. You could have some classic match ups, such as "Little Boy vs eight Wolves."

      Good times!
  • by poormanjoe ( 889634 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:30AM (#19394753)
    Whatever optional add-ons Nintendo comes out with for the Wii will just add to the system, not take away from. For it is my option if I want the hard drive to play all the old games I grew up with, but for others they have played those games and are not going to spend the money for the nostalgia of owning them again. Either way I decide whether or not I want to pay the money for the HDD. I'm not being told you must have it for our platform. The same goes for HD-DVD. If I am happy with my DVD collection, and it would cost me thousands to get the same collection in HD format I am probably not interested. If I don't have a DVD collection, then maybe I am highly interested in HD-DVD.

    Main point is its my choice.
    • by JFMulder ( 59706 )
      Just wondering, what's your take on the two SKU strategy for the 360?
      • Just wondering, what's your take on the two SKU strategy for the 360?

        Isn't it a three SKU strategy since the introduction of the "Elite", or did I miss a discontinuation notice on the Core?
    • by DarkJC ( 810888 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:44AM (#19395543)
      It's obvious what parallels you're drawing here, but really they're two completely different systems. For example, leaving an HD optical storage option out of the picture (or even offering it as a choice as Microsoft has done) works for the Wii, because it's not hugely powerful, doesn't support HD resolutions, and doesn't need all that space in the first place.

      However, once you offer something as a choice to the consumer, it means that you for the most part cannot use that to enhance the gaming experience for the consumer. In the case of the optional 360 hard drive vs. the PS3's built in hard drive, many games on the PS3 use the HD for streaming data to for optimizing load times, like Oblivion or some upcoming games like Uncharted (which, due to the hard drive, will have no load times). They can do that because it's standard. Likewise, when Microsoft chose to keep DVD as the standard format for game delivery, I have a feeling that they'll be coming to regret that decision in a year or two. It's not going to be a dealbreaker, but it will definitely become more apparent as time goes on that with all the space assets take up in HD games, you really do need a higher capacity storage medium. They left consumers the option of the HD-DVD drive addon in case they wanted to watch HD movies, but that approach doesn't let them take advantage of the superior storage those discs have to offer.

      What does this have to do with the Wii? Well, the tone of your post seems to be touting the Wii as the superior choice because you think Nintendo is doing you a favor. For the Wii, the exclusion of the hard drive and HD/DVD playback works, because it's not an HD system and there isn't enough content to really support the inclusion of a hard drive. But to try and draw parallels to the other systems which frankly are offering completely different experiences just reeks of fanboyism to me.
  • compression? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Floritard ( 1058660 )
    Don't tell me these games aren't compressed. Even old school NES games compress like a mother. Are these roms stored without compression? That's quite a few less games I can be buying from VC if I'm filling up my Wii with uncompressed data. Especially N64 and NeoGeo.
  • I think as a big F U to the other two console giants (which, don't get me wrong, I enjoy the 360 and the PS3 as well...to put a play on teh_pwnerer's words, any device that plays games I enjoy) Nintendo should release a 100 gig add-on hard drive, and charge only 100 dollars for it. Or, include it in a bundle with the wii and only charge 75 dollars extra for it.

    That likely won't happen, but eh I can dream
    • I think this is a much better idea than making the hard drive included in the unit. Many people have no need for tons of harddrive space, and will probably only buy 10 or 20 Virtual Console games. For them, the Wii has plenty of space. But for those who want to go out and buy 100 virtual console games, or download movies, tv, and music from "non-existent by probably exist in the future" movie, tv and music channels, then I would say that it would be a great idea for them to offer the ability to upgrade.
    • Yeah right. Have you seen how much Nintendo branded sd cards cost? Extortion.
  • by Churla ( 936633 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:02AM (#19395059)
    Just come out with a nice firmware update to more fully utilize the USB support.

    a) USB HD
    b) USB keyboard

    Do that and I am peachy keen fine with the world.
    • With the USB keyboard, browsing on the TV becomes more convenient to watch YouTube videos with your friends, and for parents to more easily monitor what Junior's looking up on the Internet.
    • by Fez ( 468752 ) *

      b) USB keyboard
      Why bother with USB keyboards and mice? It has Bluetooth support, too. I'd rather see Bluetooth keyboards, mice, headsets, etc.

      In an ideal world, they'd support more of both devices, but seeing as it only has 2 USB ports, I'd rather save them for something like a mass storage device or other large, immobile peripherals that need the extra transmission speed that a wired connection could provide.
  • start releasing some of the games we all used to love playing! more contra, metroid, zelda, early final fantasy games...dragonquest anyone? The current selection is getting better but on the whole it's mostly a bunch of old old old games that i either don't remember ever being released or couldn't care less about much less pay 8 dollars a game for!' Why not battletoads? kid nikki, Xanadu etc etc etc. no more systems until you release a more extensive line for all your systems currently on there. And ser
    • Bond most likely isn't going to happen since Rare is owned by Microsoft now.

      Sad, but true.
      • Also, Sony owns the Bond license, which would likely be required to re-release it.
      • Bond most likely isn't going to happen since Rare is owned by Microsoft now.
        What is worse is that the Bond franchise is owned by EA. So even if Nintendo got permission from Microsoft (which is possible considering Rare are still releasing GBA/DS games), they would still need to get permission from EA...
      • As I understand it, Nintendo owns the rights to all of the binaries Rare created for their consoles. Not sure about the source code. The Bond license is the real issue.
        • Go get out a hex editor and starting changing that Binary so that instead of James Bond 007, it's Generic Shoot-em-up number 72. If it's the same game with the same graphics, and same features, I don't think anybody will care that it isn't Bond.
    • by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
      "early final fantasy games...dragonquest anyone?"

      S-E has already established that they'd rather sell you $40 re-re-re-re-remakes rather than $5 downloads. FFIV is currently being remade for the DS; expect it to get remade at least one more time beyond that before the SNES ROM shows up on the VC.
  • Forget the large cartridges, the HDD would allow downloading of classic CD-ROM based games, such as TurboGrafx CD, Sega CD, or (dare I say it) Sega Saturn. Who cares if S-E is going to be a bitch about Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games when we could get our Ys and Lunar fixes? And Saturn VC support would have a lot of potential for bringing over all those games that were previously never released outside of Japan.
  • Realistically (Score:2, Insightful)

    by irwtdvoys ( 926650 )
    It'll most likely be peripheral improvements:

    - Wireless sensor bar (many people myself included have made one. [wiihacking101.com])
    - Light gun attachment (seen at last years E3 [ign.com] but never released.)

    Or how about a Wii WebCam (eToy type device) that would fit with the big N's new ways to play philosophy.

    I doubt Nintendo will add DVD playback as it makes the console less of a console more of a home entertainment system (PS3) which isn't what Nintendo wants, they have no devision telling them to include video + music playba
  • by geders ( 206556 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:20AM (#19396071)
    Ok, seems a bit of overkill to make a harddrive attachement for use only with the Virtual Console. The majority of people using the Virtual Console will never purchase anything larger than an N64 title (max is about 64 megabytes).

    Let's assume they use a 10GB 1.8" harddrive (or flash equivalent) that's integrated into the angled stand that ships with the console (if one can even purchase bulk quantities of those anymore). That would let you buy roughly 150 of the largest N64 games to fill that storage space. Or over 100 of the largest Neo Geo games. That seems to be more purchasing than the smallest tiny niche portion of the Wii market would buy. This argument disappears if original downloadable content ever arrives for the Wii.

    So, if you are going to come out with a harddrive attachement, give it a "normal" size of 80 GB or larger, and allow us to "store" our Wii disc based games on there. Now you would have the ultimate system for lazy people like me that click around in the Wii menu to play old VC games instead of getting up and walking across the room to put in a new Wii disc to play something different. It would be great if we could "surf our Wii channels" and have access to all of our games.
  • I'm sure there are plenty of people who want a 100% genuine oldskool experience, but from my experience with emulators, older games often look so much better with some scaling, especially the hq*x [hiend3d.com] kind. If there'
  • Possibly? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Here's hoping for a cartridge slot to blow into to bring back the old-school feel.
  • Perhaps the best way would be if Nintendo sold a USB harddrive with, say, 25 of their top selling Virtual Console games already installed on it. All you'd have to do is plug it in and play. A Wii software update would ensure that the machine could read the drives well before they hit the shelves. To move units they'd make it slightly less than cost of drive + cost of 25 games downloaded. Who knows, maybe they could even put something unique to the drives like Folding @ Home for Wii on there. (No doubt

    • by thebosz ( 748870 )
      Um, the Classic Controller does have a Z button. In fact, it has two.
      • Well great, that only strengthens my complaint. I appreciate that they want people who have a GC controller and memory card to be able to "carry over" their old save files, but I don't see any reason why new Wii owners can't use the VC controller and save to the Wii's memory. Nintendo built both machines, they should be able to interrupt & redirects request for memory card access.
  • I've been reading the comments and the three letter acronym popped out USB.

    Single USB support for flash disks or hds would kind of pwn, it won't make the console bigger, and you would be able to... ...BACK YOUR DATA UP! , my last console was a playstation I and I know how painful it is to lose your game data...

  • The Wii supports SD cards... considering I can get a 4 GB SD card for less than $80 (a fraction of the price for 360 memory), I don't think storage is much of an issue to save a couple hundred MB.

  • by rlp ( 11898 )
    While we're building a wish list - I'd like to see a small keyboard (to use with Opera) that plugs into the WiiMote and uses the WiiMote's bluetooth interface.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger