I am an avid passionate PC gamer, but I decided to buy a Nintendo Wii to play with my girlfriend and my nephews when they visit us.

Unfortunately I have zero knowledge of console in general, coming from "PC Steam world". I am wondering if also for Wii do exist a digital distribution of game patches (in particular), DLC, etc.

Do I need to connect my Wii directly to internet or is it possible downloading patches with PC and use a memory card or a USB device to transfer them to the Wii?

  • 1
    Wii games can't have patches (in the traditional sense). Back when people found out about a game-breaking bug in Metroid: Other M, the only recourse was to mail the game disc back to the publisher for them to manually fix your game. Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 15:19
  • The only time a non-downloadable game for a Nintendo system can ever said to have actually been patched was Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire which had the berry glitch. Because the games have to be able to connect to future titles that don't exist at release, they are able to run "new" code provided on boot via a link cable, and apparently, the bug was in the saved data, so they could fix it that way. For all other serious bugs, the game itself had to be exchanged. Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 21:51

3 Answers 3


There is no official way to apply updates to a Wii apart from connecting it to the Internet.

Wii games are never patched: Nintendo has a strict no-patch policy, with the idea that a game shouldn't ever need patches after release to be feature-complete or free of major bugs. The result of this is threefold:

  • You don't need to connect it to the internet to play games that don't have DLC features
  • Games that are obviously unplayable at release just don't happen
  • The rare major bug that does slip through QA is a big embarrassment for Nintento and the publisher

The Wii does need a network connection for some non-essential features. These include:

  • Game DLC, leaderboards, and multiplayer
  • Wii messaging, polls, news, weather, Mii Parade, and other non-game system features
  • Buying and downloading Virtual Console games

The one essential thing the Wii needs the network for is when a newly-released game requires a particular system version in order to run. The first game I noticed this with was Rock Band: Beatles, which wouldn't run until I updated to (if I recall correctly) system menu 4.3. With a newly-purchased Wii you won't run into this for some time, but when you eventually do it will be a show-stopper if the Wii doesn't have network access.

Even for system updates and features that do require a network connection, a constant connection is not required. Once the data is on the Wii or the update applied, you can disconnect the Wii from the network and use the Wii normally.

  • It was my understanding that games which require a higher firmware version contain an update to that version. Is this wrong?
    – Fambida
    Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 1:29
  • It's possible. I don't have any first-hand knowledge on that point. It seemed to me that it was doing the update over the network, but that might have been my own assumption. Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 8:43
  • Wii discs do have "revisions", which often fix bugs - so this isn't technically true.
    – Hiccup
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 19:09
  • @Hiccup A new pressing of an updated disc isn't a patch though, and Nintendo still has a no-patch policy for the Wii. One purpose of new disc revisions is to deal with the aforementioned “major embarrassments”, since there's no other mechanism. Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 21:29
  • 1
    @Hiccup This is a 6-year-old post. This was an uncontroversial and well-known policy at the time… and six years and two Nintendo consoles later, I'm not sure whether I can (or whether it's worth it to) find documentation of the policy. It wasn't a technical limitation, it was a policy enforced on their licensees, linked to their licensee QA policies. Yes, Wii DLC is a thing, no, the system's game loader doesn't provide a means of applying stored patch files to disc games at load time, consistent with the no-patch policy. Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 17:04

Wii games don't have patches.

All the games are standalone, I've yet to come across any Wii game that has a patch associated to it (not to be confused with Wii system updates which they seem to do every once in a while).

Edit: Virtual console games can be patched though. The answer above was in regards to games that come on disc.


It's rare, but some games do come with DLC, like Guitar Hero/Rock Band songs. You have to connect your Wii to the internet for these downloads; unless your Wii is modded, in which case you can access them via external drive.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .