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Wii storage solution announced via SD Card playback in 2009


2GB Wii SD CardNintendo has finally revealed a solution to the urgent Wii storage problem that’s been dogging them for a while now.

Satoru Iwata revealed that beginning in 2009 (in Japan), you will be able to play downloaded Virtual Console & WiiWare games directly off an SD Card.

This will be enabled via an update (a Wii System update I imagine) sometime in the future.

Honestly I thought this was the best solution as opposed to releasing an actual hard drive, which just wouldn’t work well with the Wii in my opinion. And while it’s a bit annoying to have to have extra SD Cards (bringing back memories of the “Memory Card” era last gen) it is a solution and I’m glad Nintendo has finally come to their senses regarding this issue.

Published on October 2nd, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , ,

Nintendo Wii 2 in development says Satoru Iwata. Release expected in 2010. Could it have holographic data storage?


Nintendo Wii 2 fortune teller sees it's coming

Nintendo Wii 2. Wii the second. The Nintendo “Us”. Whatever the name will be, it is surely quite far off, given Nintendo’s tremendously successful Wii console is seeing no signs of slowing down.

But regardless of that fact, Nintendo, like all first-party manufacturers, is already in the early stages of development on the Wii’s successor. Although next to zero solid details are known on the project, Nintendo at least openly admits that the Wii 2 is in development, something that Microsoft denies regarding the Xbox 720 (yes, these are logical / made up “code names”). And Sony has made it’s intentions clear regarding their desire for the PS3 to have a 10-year (or longer) shelf-life, which means the Playstation 4 is very far off indeed.

For reference, analyst Evan Wilson of Pacific Crest Securities has said to expect the Wii 2 will be released in 2010. I would expect the Wii 2 console in 2010 at the earliest, but most likely later since Nintendo tends to extend the lifecycle of a very popular system, such as the Wii that already 29.62 sold million units by June 2008.

Even though it’s so early to be talking about this, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata recently had quite a bit to say on the subject when speaking to Forbes. To quote him: “We are always preparing for the next hardware. We are under development. But the hardware is a kind of box that consumers reluctantly buy in order to play our games. — Every hardware needs some revolutionary features. This time around, it happened to be we had a revolutionary user interface. Will it be the same for the next generation? I really can’t tell. It’s natural for the current customer to expect Nintendo is going to once again do something different… If the people are expecting so many different things from Nintendo, it’s going to be difficult for us to go beyond that expectation again.”

As a result, Nintendo is never one to shy away from different technologies. As a new joint research agreement between Nintendo and InPhase Technologies has surfaced, and it suggests a radical new approach to digital storage space.

So what exactly is this technology? The technical title is “Miniature flexure based scanners for angle multiplexing” from inventor Bradley J Sissom and it is a solution to increasing the capacity of holographic data storage. What’s interesting to us gamers, is that Nintendo appears on said patent as a joint applicant.

So how does this technology work? Well, holographic storage requires a laser to be split into two beams. Data to be stored is encoded onto the signal beam via the special light modulator, before converging with the reference beam and stored onto a photosensitive medium. Reading the data from the medium relies upon a beam being emitted onto the medium at precisely the same angle, wavelength, and position of the reference beam.

Unlocking the greater capacity offered by holographic storage relies upon adjusting the reference beam during the recording/writing phase. Altering the beam allows multiple holograms to be stored in the same volume on the holographic storage medium, which is where the patent comes into play.

The patent reads: “… disclosure is herein made that the claimed invention was made pursuant to a Joint Research Agreement as defined in 35 U.S.C. 103 (c)(3), that was in effect on or before the date the claimed invention was made, and as a result of activities undertaken within the scope of the Joint Research Agreement, by or on the behalf of Nintendo Co., and InPhase Technologies, Inc.” — And a Joint Research Agreement is, “… a written contract, grant, or cooperative agreement entered into by two or more persons or entities for the performance of experimental, developmental, or research work in the field of the claimed invention.”

So as you can see, this technology is for storing information in a drastically new and better way, by way of holographic data storage. And due to all the flak Nintendo has received because of the Wii’s lack of a hard drive or means to store data, it’s no stretch to imagine that Nintendo will not make the same mistake twice. At least, when it comes to the future-gen Wii HD, whether that means hard drive or high definition.

Could this be what Reggie meant when he said Nintendo was serious about the Wii storage problem? Possibly so. Who knows. It’ll be interesting to see what future product(s) this patent brings.


Nintendo President hints at Wii storage space solution


Nintendo Wii hard diskNintendo President Satoru Iwata recently did Nintendo’s 07-08 Year End Financial Briefing Q&A. The total sales for the fiscal year just ended from Virtual Console and in a small part WiiWare (already launched in Japan, May 12th in the US and May 20th in PAL regions) was 7.8 billion yen (about $75 million)!

Mr. Iwata made a notable remark regarding the Wii’s internal memory (on storage space running out). To quote: “Statistically speaking, it is true that there are a small number of customers who feel that the flash memory is too small, while many others find that they have plenty of memory. However, because this small number of people are none other than the most avid players, we know we have to review the best possible solution to eliminate their inconvenience.”

Yes please, give us an external USB hard disk. Aesthetically speaking it’d be nice if it were in the shape of the Wii’s vertical stand. Since I doubt they’d allow third-party USB sticks to be loaded from. Right now I’m using a 2GB SD Card to store all games, but moving them back and forth is a bother. Besides, how long will anyone’s 512MB internal flash memory last once the bigger WiiWare games launch?

PR document via Neogaf, picture from VCreviews

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