Nintendo will allow Wii U owners to feed their forthcoming console a 1UP mushroom in order to grow the existing internal memory.
This dramatically expands the limited capacity of the Wii U Basic and Premium models, which boast 8GB and 32GB out of the box. The pair was revealed last week along with their release dates: Nov. 18 in the U.S. and Nov. 30 in the U.K.
"The reason we did it that way is that the cost of that type of storage memory is plummeting," said Nintendo America COO and president Reggie Fils-Aime to Engadget. "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."
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True enough, Nintendo kept the Wii U price point rather low: $300 for a white Wii U Basic and $350 for a black Wii U Premium.
Wii U's open relationship with memory upgrades
In addition to making Wii U cheaper, putting the hard drive decision in the hands of owners makes it consumer-friendly. For example, they can attach any old 3TB external hard drive via USB and forget about it.
This compares to the Xbox 360, which supports just 16GB via USB and has you jump through hoops to get there. That keeps Microsoft's proprietary Xbox 360 hard drives high in price and annoying to install.
Being able to upgrade the Wii U memory at launch sounds easy. The only trouble that you'll have is finding a system on day one.
And, Wii U pre-orders have been selling out. Walmart, Best Buy, Toys "R" Us, Target and Sears are no longer taking pre-orders. GameStop is out of the Premium model, but is still selling the entry-level Wii U Basic model.