Sources have confirmed that what we already told you is now fact. Nintendo will pass on adding a hard drive to the Wii2 and instead go with an 8GB flash storage drive. Expansion will be possible using SD cards, from what we have been told.
The decision not to include a hard drive apparently has more to do with durability and cost than anything else, according to a lurker from the shadows. This shadow dweller, however, claims that Nintendo has not closed the book entirely on the possibility of a hard drive add-on down the road. They might have no other choice than to offer it, as 8GB isn’t going to get it and users are not going to put up with swapping SD cards. So, at least at launch there will be no hard drive, just don’t say never.
The optical disc unit, we are told, will be a unique unit that is not expected be a Blu-ray compatible unit. Instead, it will be a CD/DVD combo drive that is able to read a special 25GB single sided optical disc. We are told that the actual disc format is similar in some ways to the old HD DVD format, but it uses a unique structure for the Wii2 titles. At least right now there is no word of Nintendo offering HD movies in this format, and we believe that this will never happen.
As for our take, we think the choice of only 8GB of flash storage is too shortsighted by the company, unless they are going to offer a hard drive or large flash storage upgrade option at a later time. If Nintendo wants the console to be a serious console that will attract developers to port the “A” titles over to this console, as well, they are going to need more storage. For example, many of the latest add-on download packs on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 check in at almost 1GB. It isn’t going to take but a few of these before the 8GB is full; and as we said, users are not going to put up with swapping SD cards.
As for the 25GB optical format, we are surprised that Nintendo would elect to do something unique, rather than adopting the Blu-ray standard and using a Blu-ray drive in the Wii2. While the price of Blu-ray drives continues to tumble, we don’t see the same for a proprietary drive; but drive and format will be unique and that will reduce the piracy potential of the unit.
In the end, we find Nintendo’s decisions surprising and we believe that anything less than 16GB (really 32GB if you want to know the truth) just does not make sense. We like the idea of a flash memory storage solution, but at 8GB it just isn’t big enough, unless Nintendo has an add-on plan for the future.