By Jared Newman | Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 11:12 am
Funny thing about the Internet age: When a video game company announces a significant improvement in its console, there needn’t be any countdown to implementation.
So it went at the Game Developers Conference today, where Nintendo announced common-sense SD card support for the Wii and said users could reap the benefits right now. Sure enough, when I updated my console (which, admittedly, took about 5 minutes), a small SD icon appeared in the lower left side of the Wii menu. Popping an SD card into the console’s front slot and selecting the menu icon revealed a bounty of open channel slots, ready to store my data. Kotaku reports that cards of up to 32 GB are now supported.
While downloadable games — such the classic NES titles offered through the Wii Shop channel — could be transferred to an SD card before, it was impossible to play them without transferring the file back to the Wii’s internal memory. You can now download games directly to the card, or transfer existing ones from the Wii’s internal memory, and load them from the SD menu. To protect against piracy, the Wii still uses a bit of system memory to load these games, but it’s a much more serviceable solution than before.
If you’re the kind of Wii owner who hasn’t drifted far from Wii Sports and maybe a few classic Virtual Console selections, you’ll probably never use the SD support. Still, it’s a big deal because of last year’s addition of WiiWare, a library of new games available for download. Nintendo has been quietly adding titles to the WiiWare catalog since last May, including the excellent World of Goo, but the Wii’s 512 MB built-in flash drive made it difficult to download too many of them. Maybe SD support will change that.
Now, if only Nintendo would allow demos for those WiiWare games, then we’d really have a fully-functional console on our hands…