In the latest Nintendo Direct presentation, Nintendo revealed the true memory available for game content on the Wii U after all the system files are installed. If you’re getting the Basic Bundle, you may be disappointed, as the 8GB Wii U will only have a total of 3GB storage for your downloaded games.
System files, along with downloaded program storage space (for applications like Miiverse which require a day one update), account for nearly 4.2GB of memory alone, leaving the 8GB Basic Wii U with about 3GB and the 32GB Deluxe Wii U with around 25GB. It’s apparent that you’ll need to buy an external USB hard drive if you plan on having any storage space, especially if you get the Basic Bundle.
From the latest Nintendo Direct, you might guess that plugging in external memory to your Wii U was Nintendo’s plan all along.