The internet speculation machine has been gearing up of late over a recent press release
announcing that Japanese middleware provider eSol has been selected to provide its "'PrUSB/Host' USB host stack" for use in the Wii. How to interpret this inscrutable piece of techspeak? Well, the release goes on to state that PrUSB/Host provides "optional Mass Storage class driver enables using USB flash memory, other mass storage device and digital camera as the external storage."
Many sites (including our buddies at Engadget
and Wii Fanboy
) have used this announcement to speculate that Nintendo might be planning to announce USB mass storage support for the Wii in the near future. GamingTarget
went so far as to say that USB storage on the Wii "looks like it will finally become a reality." Nintendojo
hedged its bets a little more, saying, "It's not quite an official announcement of expanded storage possibilities for Wii just yet, but Nintendo now has the potential for such a statement."
The only problem is, the Wii has always
had this functionality, and Nintendo has always
had the potential to make such a statement. Check out this copyright notice found on the inside of the Wii's System Setup Operations Manual (from November, 2006):"This product contains PrFile(r)2 FAT file system, PRmail client library and PrUSB/Host USB host stack of eSol Co. Ltd."
That's right ... this days old press release is announcing a feature that was already in the Wii nearly six months ago. ESol isn't announcing a new business deal or a new feature for the Wii -- it's simply trumping up an existing relationship in light of the Wii's recent success.
We've contacted Nintendo for an official comment but, based on the evidence, we don't think there's reason to believe Nintendo has changed its current position that this is something they "could" explore in the future
[Update: Fixed broken Nintendojo link.]