Nintendo’s Strict File Size Limit to Blame For Sonic CD’s WiiWare Absence

Nintendo Wii owners may have noticed that while SEGA’s new port of Sonic CD is coming to many many download platforms, WiiWare isn’t one of them. SEGA has told GamesRadar that the reason for this is that the CD quality sound won’t fit within Nintendo’s strict 40MB file size limit for games on the platform.

In an excuse that carries a whiff of that old “the SNES doesn’t have the technology to render blood” chestnut, Sega has explained that the WiiWare platform lacks the chops necessary to replicate the CD-quality sound of the technologically-mindblowing-circa-1993 original – so, no Sonic CD for Wii owners.

Unfortunate for Wii owners. But at least if you’re not fussed about the new additions or Japanese soundtrack, there is still the option to play the original game on the GameCube title Sonic Gems Collection.

Source: GamesRadar (via GoNintendo)

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    1. I agree. This is exactly why i stick with Microsoft and Sony with Sonic games. Nintendo needs to upgrade their systems. Hopefully the Wii U will have a bigger size limit. If it doesn’t, than that will be completely pathetic of Nintendo. I don’t like the Wii because it’s motion control is just waggly and flimsy.

  1. I actually expected this when I didn’t see the Wii icon in the trailer. Can’t blame Sega but Nintendo has to remember there are SD cards for a reason

  2. I have one reply to this – call me insensitive, but:


    1. Kinda makes sense. Nintendo want players to keep playing at a constant rate and make the most out of it, rather than having long waiting times for huge downloads stopping you from actually USING the console for a while until the download is completed. Plus, the Wii isn’t that huge on memory anyway.

  3. wait… they can port Ocarina of time but not Sonic CD?

    since when was Sonic CD bigger than a Zelda Game?

    1. N64 games have surprisingly low file sizes, since they were on cartridges and didn’t have CD quality music. CD’s hold more data than cartridges, which is one reason why Sony and SEGA went the CD route with the PlayStation and SEGA Saturn.

    2. Ocarina 64 is about 25 MB’s according to all the roms which complies with Virtual Console standards.
      Sonic CD is about 80 MB’s in rom size which would not work with the standards at all :/

      1. Thing is when you first get your wii you have 512 MB and sonic CD is 80 MB. And if you don’t have enough memory. GET A FREAKIN SD CARD!!!

        1. SD Cards wont matter. You see when you start up a game from the SD card. The Wii will temporarly copy the games files to the harddrive to make it function. Wiiware titles and VC titles can’t run directly on the SD cards. So if you go have Sonic CD on a SD card but your Wii’s memory is full or not enough memory to play it. It wont start up.

          Stupid? yes! but hey this is Nintendo’s fault.

      2. Thus, if you want it on the Wii…

        You have to settle for half of the game ^^’ Sonic CD Part1 and Sonic CD Part 2.


    3. Ocarina fit on an N64 cartridge, and had extremely rudimentary synthesised music – remembering that in 1993 that the only real choice of video game audio was between synth and fully uncompressed CD audio and that most Mega-CD games opted for the latter, I’d say that it makes quite a lot of sense.

      And hell, even if you do compress Sonic CD’s OST to 128k MP3, (minimum tolerable quality) it still goes over the file size limit. Of course, then there’s the two FMV sequences and the game itself to add on top of that – starting to see it yet?

      1. Sonic CD’s music isn’t exactly full stereo quality, its all still monotone and there isn’t that many tracks, the only music in CD that i would class as MP3/CD Quality was the beginning and ending theme, not even half of what Zelda had, its also pure sprite based, where as Ocarina of time was full 3D, the only major difference between them is ones a cartridge and the other a Disc, SEGA wasted all that file space with a game that isn’t even 1/4 of the size Zelda was, it just baffles me why such a small game has such a large file size.

        1. On top of the game’s already large file size, we also have the content that’s being added, like widescreen support, a new spin-dash and other possible things. This port is simply not going to fit the 40MB size limit.

        2. I don’t know about the EU/JP version, but the US soundtrack was definitely full CD-quality audio – you can put the Sega CD version in any ordinary CD player and listen to the OST if you so wish. The only tracks that were at all compressed were the Past tracks, which were integrated into the game’s ROM file as PCM audio – and no, even if those were also put into MP3 quality, it still wouldn’t sit within Nintendo’s strict size limit. And Zelda fits snugly onto a 32MB N64 cartridge, because the music is basic and synthesised, and there are no FMVs – that good enough?

  4. Nintendo is slowly digging their own grave. Their better have more online support for WiiU. With current DLC and online distribution popularity they wont survive with 40mb limit.

      1. Can’t tell if trolling or just stupid.
        If not trolling, then get the hell out because Nintendo’s not going anywhere for now. Not saying that the other companies won’t take their king position, but Nintendo are not going quietly into the night. NOT FOR ANOTHER 50 YEARS (you do realise that Nintendo are one of the oldest companies that do games now? Search up how they started.)

        1. lol rightttt because nintendo already holds the “king” position with the wii and 3Ds….lol considering any actual person who play video games things the wii is a joke….and the 3DS has hard the worst launch than any other nintendo console…yeahhhh…they’re doin fine…

  5. imo sega should release ether a new sonic collection game for wii that has sonic 1-3&K and CD simply because the wiiu will mean no GC games which means no sonic gems collection that and in the uk there redesigning the wii to not play GC games. Ether way idk why they could’nt release this game for Eshop atleast seeing i don’t think theres a file limit on 3ds. But oh well guess i’ll just stick with playing gems collection.

    1. Yeah they can release in the eShop at a later date, there is no limitation. The port to Wii U should also be very easy. Nintendo has also confirmed that the 40 MB limit will not effect the Wii U.

      1. YES! YES! Now if only they will reduce their price like the 3DS. That’s another reason why I stick with Microsoft and Sony is because of Nintendo’s overpriced stuff!

  6. Expected this. Still no excuse to not put it up on the 3DS eShop, since that horrible Gameloft game, Let’s Golf 3D, is over 100MB (remember reading somewhere that it was roughly 200MB in size).

    1. It’s got an FMV, an entire high-quality CD soundtrack, another one for the credits (which go for a while)…now you start to see why Sonic CD cannot be part of WiiWare.

  7. Or they could just release it on a $10-$15 disc like TellTale is doing for the Back to the Future games by having all 5 epsiodes on a single disc for $20. It couldn’t be that hard, could it?

  8. Why not make a 3DS version? I mean the cutscenes at the beginning and the end would look awesome in 3D. Though I don’t even recall Gametap having it on their service despite having Blue Spheres, Knuckles in Sonic 2, and even Knuckles Chaotix.

    Though if I can admit something I’ve never liked Sonic CD’s special stages ,to be honest I hate all special stages in Sonic games, doesn’t matter if it’s modern or classic (Sonic 1′s because of the rotate button, Sonic 2′s because Tails screws Me up but I want to play the game as it canonically happened which is Sonic and Tails together, and S3&K because you screw up once the giant you were just in vanishes even if you quit the level so you’re given less and less chances if you screw up) the lesser of all the evils is blue spheres since they’re mostly the easiest ones, but I also feel that special stages interrupt the 2D (or 3D for those of you who actually did enjoy Heroes) platforming sections too much (in fact I always use the Super Sonic cheat in Sonic 2 and in S3&K once I’ve got all fourteen emeralds I play that completed file from the start with all those emeralds and only make exceptions and play the special stages again if a character doesn’t have all of them in a save file)

    But Sonic CD’s special stages are the special stages I hate the most in the classics (I mean who’s bright idea was it to make the shallow water make the countdown timer go faster when you’re in it) Now I’m not going to mention how I play the game as it’s the same way many play Earthbound and Mother 3 without any console or handheld, but I can only get all the time stones thanks to that way. The game’s just lucky I’m a stickler for getting the good endings otherwise I wouldn’t bother with collecting the time stones, I mean I try to hit the UFO’s and just when it looks like I have a direct hit it turns out I miss it completely, even worse is when I land in the water trying to get one of them.

    But enough of that I do think it would be cool to have a 3DS version of Sonic CD, but as you can see by My two paragraphs up above I hate it’s special stages, I just hope if they do make a 3DS version they make it so that you can retry it’s special stages until you win instead of failing one and being forced to try and beat again until the next level in the zone (or next new zone if you failed the three in the previous one).

    Still I do wonder if the 3DS would be powerful enough to handle Sonic CD? I mean they’re making a version of Sonic Generations for the 3DS (sure it’s not the same as the console version but Sonic CD other than it’s special stages is a 2D game and judging from what I saw in Kid Icarus Uprising the 3DS can handle games that have a lot of spoken voice acted dialog) then again I have no idea how powerful the 3DS is, all I know is the previous DS was able to handle the Genesis (Megadrive for those of you outside the U.S.) games in Classic Collection, I mean sure some games ran slightly slower and I did notice glitches in stuff like the bonus game where you have to use the electric spheres to reach the top, but they weren’t anything deal breaking, in fact I hardly noticed the slowdown in S3&K, the only issue I really had was you couldn’t see some stuff off the screen including bosses badniks and sometime the character you were controlling but I learned to deal with it.

    Then again like I said I have no idea how powerful the 3DS is. Which reminds Me you think by now Sega would have put two and two together and released SegaSonic Arcade in 3DS form or a compilation for the 3DS, I mean I know the issue was the trackball but on the 3DS the touch screen could easily replace the trackball controls.

    1. The issue is not about power (the Wii is far more powerful then needed to run Sonic CD). The issue is about storage. Nintendo decided to not build hard drives into the Wii and use a 512 MB flash based storage. Sonic CD is about 100 MBs which means it will use a lot of your storage (and the Wii has to share this storage with the system menu and all the built in channels). Nintendo thought they could remedy this by allowing users to use SD HC cards, they are available up to 32 GB, so that is plenty space, right? Wrong! Because the Wii was not built with the idea of using the SD cards for launching games (in fact it is blocked), so every time you load in a large game from the SD card it has to copy that game onto the system’s internal memory (the 512 MB one) which again causes a storage problem (you most likely have to move a lot of your games off the system’s storage before being able to launch this one game). Thus, Nintendo decided to just keep the WiiWare app limit to 40 MB.

      You are right Sonic CD can easily be released for the 3DS [it is more then powerful enough]. The 3DS has 2 GB of internal memory (used for the system menu, and built in apps) but it has SD HC (which launches games directly and does not rely on the internal memory)which allows you to have more then 32 GBs of storage. Basically, Sega can make it happen easily in the future (although I do not know if they can make the cutscenes or the game 3D, I do not really expect them to).

      The upcoming Wii U will also not have this storage limitation at all. Nintendo has already acknowledged this problem.

      1. Actually, Nintendo did a Wii system update a year or so ago and games can run from the SD card now. I reckon it’s because Nintendo don’t believe that many people would be willing to go out and buy large SD cards for the bigger games.

        1. He explained this already, you didn’t understand his statement about the SD cards – he said they couldn’t be launced directly from the SD card, but rather loading the game onto the built-in memory and running it from there!

  9. I’d be pissed to about this, but luckily I have both a X360 & PS3. 🙂

    See? It does pays off to be more than just a Nintendo nerd, and I’ve been one for heck knows how long. xD

  10. This gives me a “Sega does what Nintendon’t” vibe like no tomorrow. xD
    Thankfully I got a 360 and not just a Wii.

  11. Hehehe, funny stuff 🙂 Sonic 4 WiiWare? Yes; Sonic CD? Nope!

    So, will it be a PC port or a SCD?

    1. Well, even Sonic 4: Episode 1 suffered on WiiWare because of the file size limit. The music had to be compressed to MIDI files. I’d hate to hear Sonic CD tracks in MIDI format.

        1. MIDI: Numbers are read from a file and interpreted by a chip, which generates audio based on its own capabilities and how it interprets those numbers – MIDI is synthesised, like the NES, MegaDrive and Game Boy’s audio. This means that all the game needs to have is a string of numbers to feed the console, and the sound chip will do all the work.

          Wave Sound: Actual sound waves are depicted exactly in digital form, read from the game itself, and turned back into real sound by the console’s audio chip – wave sound is a copy of an original recorded sound, and takes up a massive amount of space on the storage medium.

          Ergo, Sonic 4’s soundtrack went from being recordings of professional-grade instruments in a studio on the Xbox 360 version to numerical playback by a simplistic game console MIDI synthesiser on the Wii version as a result of Nintendo’s ultra-restrictive file size limit – and this is exactly what Sega don’t want to have to do to Sonic CD’s soundtrack, especially seeing as one of Sonic CD’s key features was, as the name suggests, its CD-quality wave sound audio soundtrack.

  12. well sonic cd its a really heavy game and needs heavy consoles the wii its a lighter console thats why onlye gets nes snes games and not heavy games

  13. All you people who are laughing and trolling Nintendo can just get that crap out of your asses and suck on it. So what if they made a small mistake and weren’t able to repel firepower of a 40MB magnitude? They’re fixing it on their next system and learning from their mistakes. Just look how quickly they’re responding to mistakes from the 3DS launch. It’s much faster than what the other crap companies have done. At least Nintendo cares about their fans and wants to keep them interested. And for all of you idiots saying that Nintendo won’t last much longer, Nintendo has had years of constant success and won’t die out just because they fall behind once. It happens to every industry. All industries go through rough times, and are able to get themselves out of it (unless they’re involved with the US government, that’s a completely different story). One small mistake isn’t going to send a giant company into the depths THAT easily.

    All you idiots are wasting your time and need to wake the yosh up and see that your companies wouldn’t even be in this industry if Nintendo hadn’t saved it 26 years ago.

    1. Bollocks to that last statement, FlamesOfDeathWorms; Nintendo’s grand “saving” of the home console industry consisted of signing hundreds of developers and publishers into Nazi-grade exclusivity deals and suing these enslaved lackies for refusing to pump out the million gallons of unfinished shovelware that was required to keep the good ship NES afloat – most games produced for Nintendo platforms were, at the time, total crap, as Nintendo would bleed dry their third party companies’ resources and hammered them hard if they rebelled. Sega and NEC’s policies of the same era allowed whatever developers who hadn’t already been conned by Nintendo to better perfect the constitution of their art under their own jurisdiction – so while Nintendo undid some of the damage that Atari had done, the initially more arcade or home computer-orientated organisations not only helped to clear up the crash of 1983, but also managed to fix the ensuing damage that Nintendo themselves had brought on.

      To be honest, we don’t owe Nintendo anything like as much as today’s gamers make out, and the least that they can do is continue serving their existing customers instead of gambling their resources on the success of a console that hasn’t even been released yet – and although I’m willing to admit that it’s not the biggest of their problems, the 40MB WiiWare size limit would be a damned good start.

      1. Honestly, the first comment made sense. The wiiU even stated that, “It will support downloaded gamecube games”

  14. Ha ha!! You all got fu@$ing bi!@ slapped by this guy!! XD

    Good on ya’ FlamesOfDeathWorms!! XD

  15. Wow, people are still trolling Nintendo over not getting Sonic CD?

    We’re in 2011, dammit.

  16. But doesn’t ocarina of time have a bigger file size then Sonic CD?

    I think sega just doesn’t like nintendo.

      1. Nah, you’re right. Saying sega didn’t like miner do was a half hearted joke.

        But I’m
        Still depressed Sonic Boom won’t be there.

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