While plenty of gamers have begun playing their new Wii U consoles, many others are still waiting to play the consoles they picked up today. Before you can play a game from the huge lineup of launch titles, you must first download and install a 5GB firmware update — an update which, if Twitter is to be believed, may take hours to download.
The content of this update is necessary to access online features, transfer data from a Wii, or access the Miiverse, which more and more gamers are bemoaning as features that should come already installed on a new console.
Inconvenience aside, the size of this update has already led to some concerning issues. L.A. Times writer Ben Fritz experienced such a slow download that he believed the system to be frozen and attempted to restart it. Because he restarted the system during a major update, his system became corrupted and completely inoperable. Others experienced power outages, resulting in the same problem.
After you’ve downloaded your firmware update, there comes the question of how much memory is left on your console. It would seem that the 7.2GB Wii U console would have less than 3GB left, a situation which essentially necessitates the use of external memory. Though flash memory tends to be beefier and cheaper these days, 7.2GB of onboard memory in a market where 120GB, 250GB, and 320GB are more often the norm gives a lackluster impression. For reference, my bottom-tier Android phone has more internal storage.
In the US, the update is inconvenient — in other regions with lower bandwidth caps and overall connection speeds, a download of this size may represent more than just an interruption. For some, downloading this patch could take days, not just hours, and the month’s remaining bandwidth could be cut down by a full 20%.
While this hulking update is a letdown, and potentially more for international gamers, it’s likely not enough to counter the rush of laying hands on a new console and playing a brand new generation of games. It wasn’t a flawless start, but the Wii U is far from out of the race.