Going digital with Nintendo… the progress report

Last month I posted an entry about my challenge to go completely digital with Wii U. It’s been over a week and I’m ready to report on a few things I’ve learned while trying to make this entire thing a reality…

I knew that this would be quite an uphill battle, especially since I live in Australia and am subject to bandwidth limitations and generally terrible Internet to begin with. However, I felt that it needed to be done to prove that if I can do it, than anyone can.

The first hurdle I’ve come across is that the USB hard drive I had lying around, a 500GB Seagate GoFlex, doesn’t seem to work all that well with Wii U. I was hoping that I could just hook it up and it go, but apparently not. I bought New Super Mario Bros. U on the Wii U eShop and the system automatically tried to download it to the USB drive without any prompts. It took forever to get to 75% before it crapped out and the drive suddenly disconnected itself. That was the end of that and so I’ve ended up just disconnecting that drive altogether and downloading the game directly to the 32GB of flash memory you get with the Premium Wii U.

Of course, we can’t really do much with 32GB of space so I’ve decided to buy a Seagate Expansion Desktop USB hard drive, a 2TB one just to cover all the bases and really commit myself to this challenge. This USB hard drive is recommended by Nintendo (UK) among others, so everything should be fine. I’ve already spotted this drive for 99AUD and I’m sure I can find it for cheaper if I looked around.

The second hurdle, as already mentioned is the generally crappy Internet we have around here. It’s not THAT terrible, but compared to most places around the world, Australia isn’t winning any awards for its communication network infrastructure. I bought New Super Mario. Bros U on the day of the Wii U launch and downloaded it pretty easily, it was only about 1.8GB so it took only a few hours to download. Now, a game like Assassin’s Creed 3 on the other hand is 17GB, a total monster for a downloadable game. At last glance the download estimate was somewhere around the 60 hour mark… *whine* but I want to play AC3 noooow! Okay, I’ll wait… only solution for this is patience, I guess.

The last hurdle I’ve come across is that not everything I want is on eShop. For example, I watched a video of someone playing Scribblenauts Unlimited on YouTube earlier today and really wanted to get the game. Unfortunately, after looking all over the eShop, I can’t seem to find it! Usually if there’s a game released that’s retail only, the game will still be listed on the eShop, but there’s no listing at all despite a community existing for the game on Miiverse. I know the game is out in Australia, at least I think it is… but it’s nowhere to be found on the eShop which makes me very sad. Maybe it’ll come out in the future since it seems like it hasn’t been released in Europe yet and the Oceania territory (Australia and New Zealand) is tied to Europe since… we’re so European or something… or just not ‘Merican enough. I dunno, it’s strange and I know more of these problems will pop up in the future where I’ll end up wanting a game that doesn’t have an eShop release.

So then what do I do? Do I wait and bide my time, hoping that one day the game will eventually be released on eShop or simply buy the physical copy at retail because I have no choice? Well, we’ll come back to this challenge in a couple of months and see just how things have gone. So far it’s been difficult with a bit of learning to be done, but I’m still pretty confident that this can be done…

Oh, I almost forgot. I am completely aware that if my Wii U dies that there’s going to be a huge nightmare with my Nintendo Network ID being tied to a single Wii U console and the whole issue with Nintendo being so restrictive about this entire thing with user accounts their lack of flexibility on this entire issue… I’m willing to take the risk because so far it’s really convenient to just have New Super Mario Bros. U ready to go on my Wii U. No need to go over to my media rack and flip through all those discs, I just start up the Wii U via the GamePad and I’m ready to go, with or without the TV.

Anyway, stay tuned in a couple of months for the next update… hopefully I have a nice collection of eShop downloaded games for my Wii U that I can boast about.