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New Wii Menu Update Targets Homebrew Again 258

Posted by Soulskill
from the glad-to-know-you're-still-watching dept.
Nintendo has tried to block homebrew during firmware updates in the past, often unsuccessfully. Now, as it rolls out version 4.3 of the Wii System Menu, stopping homebrew modifications once again seems to be its primary goal. From Nintendo's support site: "Because unauthorized channels or firmware may impair game play or the Wii console, updating to Wii Menu version 4.3 will check for and automatically remove such unauthorized files." Since it's hard to bill that as an upgrade, they vaguely add, "In addition, there are some behind the scenes enhancements that do not affect any prominently-used features or menus but will improve system performance."
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New Wii Menu Update Targets Homebrew Again

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  • easy solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by Verunks (1000826) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @06:49AM (#32663194)
    just don't update, I'm still using 3.3 or 3.4(can't remember) and I can play all offline and online(yeah all two of them) games without any problem.
    here on slashdot many people criticized sony for removing otheros, but nintendo is trying to do the same with every update and they aren't giving anything valuable in return, at least sony usually adds new functionality with each ps3 update, I can't speak for microsoft since I don't have a 360, but I think they are adding new features like sony
  • Re:easy solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @07:01AM (#32663224) Journal

    I agree with you to a degree but there is a moral difference between Nintendo and Sony. Nintendo never advertised running your own software as feature, and in fact from the very outset mostly insisted you can not. Sony by contrast did exactly the opposite.

    Its fair to say anyone who bought a Wii did so either expecting not to be able to do home brew or knowing that the ability to do that might be interrupted in the future. You certainly can't say that about PS3 owners. Sony did a bit of Indian-giving Nintendo did not.

  • by Robotron23 (832528) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @07:02AM (#32663238) Homepage

    I updated the Wii Shop yesterday evening (I'm located in the UK) and the final part of the message ran something along the lines of "If you install this update and have third party modifications to your system, it may render your console inoperable."

    The store part is not even necessary to use - one can own a Wii and never need to access it, however for those who enjoy classic games and aren't keen on PC emulation the shop is fairly useful, and a gamecube pad works well with most (all?) of the old console titles.

    I was thinking about the implications for homebrew as Nintendo rolls out these updates periodically just as it prompted me to install; a lot of people fond of old games will no doubt be more inclined to use USB-compatable old-style pads on a computer using emulation software and adapted games; the software is easy to find via Google. If anything Nintendo is cutting off a subsection of trade here; but causing inconvenience for a small minority is apparently okay as long as their interface and channels are updated every so often. But one thing that homebrewers may have to do without are the independent 'Wiiware' titles that aren't as widely emulated as the console games of the past. A few of these titles are pretty good; would it be possible to mail the creators of these titles to request a release for PC and Mac?

    I know of one game (World of Goo) that has had a Windows release for awhile now priced a lot cheaper than it is on the Wii shop.

  • Re:easy solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eraesr (1629799) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @07:04AM (#32663244) Homepage
    You're kidding right? You're wrong on so many points. First of all, if you don't update you lose access to the Shopping Channel. I also wouldn't be surprised if future first party titles carried the update as well. Also, Nintendo isn't removing any features at all. At least, not features they put in there themselves in the first place. Sony's Other OS functionality was functionality they put in there themselves, something that could arguably have been used to promote the system. It may have been a reason for people to buy the system. With these updates, Nintendo isn't removing any features they put in there themselves or which were used to promote the system. They are completely different things.

    As for adding new functionality, Nintendo has been adding new functionality to the Wii from time to time as well (dare I say more than Sony has done with PS3). This update is the first anti-piracy-only Wii update that doesn't add new functionality (or fix other problems).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @07:18AM (#32663292)

    Sadly for Nintendo there are already two exploits known to work on 4.3U, this one (http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Smash_Stack [wiibrew.org]) and this one (http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Indiana_Pwns [wiibrew.org]). Granted you have to have a copy of the game to use them but for most people that is not a problem.

    The main thing they blocked are bannerbomb (http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Bannerbomb [wiibrew.org]) the exploit used by most everyone to "softmod" a Wii which allowed you to place a file on the SD card and run it via the system menu and the hackmii installer (http://hackmii.com/2009/08/hackmii-installer-v0-3/ [hackmii.com]) which installed the Homebrew channel and bootmii. The hackmii installer should be updated in the coming days as they've been stockpiling exploits and not releasing them to the public in case the one they currently used was ever blocked.

    All that said there is no reason to update anyway if you already have homebrew. The shopping channel can always be updated with a homebrew tool and accessed on any version of the system menu. They didn't add anything new to the System menu this time around it was just aimed at removing homebrew just like the last update (4.2).

  • Re:As a Wii Owner (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hal_Porter (817932) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @07:25AM (#32663304)

    It's not about homebrew it's about piracy. Games consoles are sold at a loss and the manufacturers make money out of selling games. If people can run arbitrary code on them they can also run pirated games and that means the manufacturers make a loss.

  • Re:As a Wii Owner (Score:5, Informative)

    by ajw_h (732374) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @07:31AM (#32663318)
    But the Wii has almost never been sold at a loss.
  • by spathi-wa (575009) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @07:34AM (#32663330)

    ... truth is that a large part of any console's cost is recovered by content, and without that cash innovation will die and/or consoles will become more expensive. Nintendo always owns a part of the Wii - they paid for it...

    Not true, not in this case. Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo has never sold Wii consoles at a loss, not at launch and not now.

    e.g. http://www.gamespot.com/news/6157690.html [gamespot.com]

  • Re:As a Wii Owner (Score:2, Informative)

    by theeddie55 (982783) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:06AM (#32663444)

    It's like if Sony would actively try to prevent the PS3 from being used to play bluerays ??

    That's a silly comparison, it's more akin to if sony were to remove the other OS feature from the PS3 (no, wait, they did that already)

  • Re:As a Wii Owner (Score:5, Informative)

    by bzzzt (313005) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:29AM (#32663618)

    Bullshit. You can send it in for repair even if it's out of warranty or even repair it yourself if you buy a new drive. (google shows a lot of sites selling parts)

  • Just get a Wode (Score:5, Informative)

    by The_Marone (610210) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:52AM (#32663756)
    If you're that worried about losing the ability to load games from an external hard drive, just buy a Wode. It fully emulates the Wii's optical drive and is oblivious to any updates Nintendo does to the console. That's what I use and it's amazing, it even rips your discs to the hard drive for you. My kids haven't had to touch a game DVD in months. WODE [wodejukebox.com]
  • Re:As a Wii Owner (Score:4, Informative)

    by wisdom_brewing (557753) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:16AM (#32663940) Homepage

    Games consoles are sold at a loss...

    PS3 - yes
    XBOX360 - yes
    Wii - No...

    Each console sold is profitable, that's the beauty of the Wii not competing on hardware...

  • Re:easy solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by jeffmeden (135043) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:18AM (#32663966) Homepage Journal

    Gosh, if only there were some sort of knowledgeable repository for information, sorted into easily searched pieces to allow for quickly finding [google.com] what [wiktionary.org] you [wikipedia.org] want [englishforums.com]...

  • The Eternal Battle (Score:4, Informative)

    by scurker (1381139) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:59AM (#32664456)

    It's amusing to me the back and forth between Nintendo and homebrew, and homebrew just about always tends to come ahead in the end. Every time an exploit is patched, a work around is usually available in the next few days.

    The sad part of the story is that Homebrew was never about piracy, but about giving the ability for people to play around with the Wii architecture. In the beginning some of the Homebrew developers even offered to help patch/expose certain exploits [hackmii.com] only to be completely snubbed by Nintendo. Now the developers don't even really care about disabling piracy given Nintendo's smug attitude.

  • by DeadCatX2 (950953) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @10:05AM (#32664528) Journal

    When you bought your Wii, you were actually buying a license to use Nintendo's hardware. You agreed to this license when you first powered the device on.

    From the EULA [nintendo.com]

    Chapter II: Unauthorized Software, Services, or Devices or Unlicensed Accessories

                Your Wii Console and the Wii Network Service are not designed for use with unauthorized software, services, or devices or non-licensed accessories, and you may not use any of these with your Wii Console or the Wii Network Service. Such use may be illegal, voids any warranty, and is a breach of this agreement. Such use may also lead to injury to you or others or cause performance issues or damage to your Wii Console or the Wii Network Service. We (and our licensees and distributors) are not responsible for damage or loss caused by unauthorized software, services or devices or non-licensed accessories. We may take steps to disable or delete any unauthorized software, services or device installed in your Wii Console, for example, by detecting and disabling them through the Wii Network Service and/or game software. If we detect unauthorized software, services, or devices, your access to the Wii Network Service may be disabled and/or the Wii Console or games may be unplayable.

    Chapter III: Updates/Changes

                You understand that the Wii Console specifications and the Wii Network Service are constantly evolving and that we may update or change your Wii Console or the Wii Network Service in whole or in part, without notice to you. Such updates may be required for you to play new Wii games or continue to access the Wii Network Service. We may also upgrade, change, or terminate the Content or game software or may discontinue offering Products without notice to you.

  • Re:As a Wii Owner (Score:3, Informative)

    by duguk (589689) <dug@nOSPam.frag.co.uk> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @10:19AM (#32664664) Homepage Journal

    It's like if Sony would actively try to prevent the PS3 from being used to play bluerays ??

    That's a silly comparison, it's more akin to if sony were to remove the other OS feature from the PS3 (no, wait, they did that already)

    That's an even less-informed comparison. Sony PS3 was sold as OtherOS as a feature. Homebrew Channel is certainly not!

    This is more like Sony upgrading the firmware on the PSP and making it so you needed a 'magic battery' to downgrade again (for whatever reason you might have)... Oh wait, no, they actually DID do that.

  • by marcansoft (727665) <hector @ m a r c a n s o f t.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @10:37AM (#32664856) Homepage

    Smug and clueless. Consider the following timeline: On October 23rd, 2008, they released their first "real" update (attempting to block exploits). Shortly after that, homebrew was available again, of course. However, softmod piracy was blocked because at the time homebrew did not provide full system control (i.e. BootMii), and we did not publicly disclose the exploit that we used to install the Homebrew Channel. Then someone released a separate exploit for other reasons (to install DVDX which we had neglected to make available at the time), and the pirates latched on to it as their "gateway" into the system.

    Then they went through two updates and 7 months, trying to patch the holes that we used to install homebrew, never once attempting to patch the hole that was the root of all softmod piracy on the Wii at that stage. Then we released BootMii on May 13th, 2009 which gives the user full control (for WiiLinux, NAND backup and restore functionality, etc.) and therefore can be used to launch softmod tools. Nonetheless, I'd say the vast majority of pirates kept using the old hole. Nintendo kept trying to block our homebrew exploits and ignored that one silly hole that the pirates so love.

    Now they've finally fixed the hole so loved by Wii pirates. After 20 months.

    Of course, then there's the way that they're currently deleting The Homebrew Channel: by hardcoding our channel ID. They did that last time. We changed our ID to JODI, a reference to Jodi Daugherty, "Nintendo of America's senior director of anti-piracy" who ignored, then cyberstalked and harassed bushing when he tried to report a sensitive bug. Now the Wii System Menu contains code to delete "JODI". We'll just switch to another ID.

  • by amentajo (1199437) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @10:51AM (#32665028)

    Newer games bundle the update on the disc and require you to install them before playing.

  • Re:As a Wii Owner (Score:3, Informative)

    by Moryath (553296) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @11:32AM (#32665580)

    Funny. Nintendo charged me an arm and a leg to repair a Wii that was dying with a KNOWN engineering flaw (their fucking faulty heatsink that caused the video hardware to develop flicker pixels everywhere) when it was just 1 year, 3 months old.

    And then I had to get 4 people deep into their support line a year later, when their "system update" caused the thing to not properly find my local wireless network. Turns out something they had "upgraded" in their code had broken compatibility with my router's configuration (if your router's IP isn't also defined as the DNS for the Wii, it breaks) - of course, nowhere did the update's documentation mention this, and the three guys before the competent one kept saying I should ship the wii to them again and pay out for a "repair" a second time.

    So I'd have to say either you are the luckiest guy in the world and found someone willing to do something for you that they do for nobody else, or else you're a Nintendo plant lying out your ass.

  • Re:As a Wii Owner (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mister Whirly (964219) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:35PM (#32666620) Homepage
    I didn't have to talk to anybody. I went to the Nintendo site and found a page in the support section describing the exact problem I was having. I clicked on the repair button, was prompted for my Wii model and serial number, entered them and was told my Wii was eligible for free repair. It then gave me directions on where/how to send my console in, and links to print the pre-paid shipping forms. This must have been a manufacturer's defect that was covered even out of warranty is the only thing i can think of. I fully expected to at least have to pay shipping to send them the Wii and was surprised I had to pay nothing out of pocket at all. Especially considering I bought it used and never registered/transferred any warranty information. Apparently it sounds like this may not be a typical case, but it sure seemed pretty hassle free to me.
  • Re:As a Wii Owner (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mister_Stoopid (1222674) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:37PM (#32667528)
    I'm not sure I follow the analogy. Why would I buy a standalone coffee maker when I've already got a toaster that can have coffee-making ability added on with a simple, well documented software upgrade? Also, if the toaster had the coffee making hardware built in, why didn't the manufacturer enable it advertise that fact?
  • Re:easy solution (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:50PM (#32667682)

    You're kidding right? You're wrong on so many points. First of all, if you don't update you lose access to the Shopping Channel. I also wouldn't be surprised if future first party titles carried the update as well. Also, Nintendo isn't removing any features at all. At least, not features they put in there themselves in the first place. Sony's Other OS functionality was functionality they put in there themselves, something that could arguably have been used to promote the system. It may have been a reason for people to buy the system. With these updates, Nintendo isn't removing any features they put in there themselves or which were used to promote the system. They are completely different things.

    As for adding new functionality, Nintendo has been adding new functionality to the Wii from time to time as well (dare I say more than Sony has done with PS3). This update is the first anti-piracy-only Wii update that doesn't add new functionality (or fix other problems).

    >First of all, if you don't update you lose access to the Shopping Channel
    Wrong. (google for WiiSCU, or DOP-Shop) I'm on System Menu 3.2 and I still use the shop channel every weekend to add points to buy things out of the Rock Band store.

    >I also wouldn't be surprised if future first party titles carried the update as well.
    It doesn't matter if they did, preloader/priiloader exist. You can configure your System Menu to ignore any on disc updates and just run the game.

    >This update is the first anti-piracy-only Wii update that doesn't add new functionality (or fix other problems).
    Wrong again. This system menu update adds drivers for webcams. Only one game needs one so far, but the disc has the 4.1 update on it and there are reports of people running the disc on 4.2 systems and not having the webcam driver installed, making it unplayable.

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