The internal 512MB memory of the Wii has been under constant scrutiny since the console launched last November. With all the classic and desirable games that the VC would eventually offer, there was a worry that the on-board memory—which serves to store not only downloaded games, but also game saves and firmware updates—would fill up far too quickly. The external SD bay on the outside of the console helped, but surely wouldn’t be a final storage solution.
Well, all that speculation has been laid to rest as Japanese middleware developer eSOL announced that Nintendo selected the company’s "PrFILE2" FAT file system and "PrUSB/Host" USB host stack for integration into the Nintendo Wii. Though the actual software shipped with the Wii, this official announcement comes at an odd time; perhaps hinting that the new functionality for using external USB drives is on the way. From the press release:
Both software products constitute fundamental functionalities in the Wii console – managing and transferring data and files with external media. In particular, PrFILE2 provides file management functions which read and write data of the SD memory card, as well as other media;. PrUSB/Host functions are used in Wii, to provide USB host functions.
These software capabilities allow the Wii to utilize an external USB storage drive through one of the ports on the back of the console, though no official announcement by Nintendo has been made. Whether or not Nintendo is planning to allow the use of any USB drive or only proprietary ones is still unknown, let alone whether or not they will ever actually implement this solution. Given the relatively low price of USB thumb drives these days, I’m hoping we’re given the option to use our own in the future. Lord knows we don’t need more proprietary preposterousness shoved down our throats. Nintendo's reluctance to commit to the idea, though, is somewhat hard to swallow. Friend codes are one thing, but more storage is a necessity that will become increasingly apparent as more N64 games are thrown up on the VC. Come on, Nintendo. Get with the times.