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Nintendo's Homebrew-Blocking Update Hacked

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the initiative-applied dept.

Wii 157

ElementC writes "Team Twiizers, the group behind almost all of the Wii Homebrew scene, has released an update to the Homebrew Channel (and installer) that allows for installation on a Wii with the most recent update installed. While the team still recommends against installing the Nintendo update, those who accidentally updated or purchase games that require the update are no longer left out to dry. This update to the Homebrew Channel also adds SDHC support, a feature Nintendo has not implemented in vanilla Wiis. The community has also created an app that updates just the Wii Shop Channel — allowing users to purchase Wiiware and Virtual Console games without losing their homebrew. It took the team only two days to get the fix out."

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Is this one of those "secret support" things? (5, Interesting)

Centurix (249778) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525083)

Like when Nintendo doesn't condone it, but leave little bits of stuff "open" for someone to find and break to keep a scene healthy?

Re:Is this one of those "secret support" things? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525105)

no, it's one of these "stupid security holes in all their software" thing where just glancing in the general direction of a function reveals 20 exploits :-)

Re:Is this one of those "secret support" things? (3, Interesting)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525125)

No. They're writing DRM. You don't have to try to make DRM breakable. They all come that way.

Re:Is this one of those "secret support" things? (0, Redundant)

Centurix (249778) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525141)

Ah, the DRM. I always forget the DRM. Curses.

When will they learn??? (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525287)

DRM does not work.

Mathematically speaking.

Come on, I think I will make my children write a thousand times on a blackboard "DRM does not work", so at least _they_ won't bother trying when they grow up.

Even when they secure the path all the way from the UV-ray disc to each dot in the LCD/plasma/OLED display in 2038, all one needs to get the color of each pixel with greater than 99.999% accuracy is half a dozen US$ 100 cheap cameras, some tripods and a calibrating movie... [and a 64-bit timestamp :-)]

Re:When will they learn??? (4, Funny)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525325)

And who will be permitted to own a TV and a camera at the same time you think?

Re:When will they learn??? (2, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525467)

DRM does not work.

Mathematically speaking.

Door locks do not work. Because it is always somehow possible to bypass them - be it by picking, drilling, bashing the door down or smashing a window.

They do, however, keep honest men from temptation.

Re:When will they learn??? (5, Insightful)

MrMr (219533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525599)

They do, however, keep honest men from temptation.
Honest men aren't tempted by an unlocked door. Door locks are designed to convince the casual thief to rob your neighbour.

YAY :-) ROTFLOL (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525895)

(people here at work thought I was having a seizure...)

That is the best definition of door locks' effectiveness I ever read.

But, anyway, the important thing is: once one thief (eventual or lock-picking) enters your home, he takes your TV and stereo; once one copyright infringer copies your movie, the whole internet has access to it via BT. :-)

And answering KasperMeerts above:

And who will be permitted to own a TV and a camera at the same time you think?

even in a police state the would have difficulty tracking all cameras and/or impeding clubs/families to own a digital tv and a camera. Notice that I told about a rig that does not involve breaking up the big-screen TV. Once one is willing to open his/her TV up, it's just a matter of substituting the physical screen for some millions of data entry points and recording away. But with nice calibration, even perfect/near-perfect digital copies via the analog hole are possible.

Re:YAY :-) ROTFLOL (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525943)

once one copyright infringer copies your movie, the whole internet has access to it via BT. :-)

Not on a closed platform such as a games console they don't.

Re:YAY :-) ROTFLOL (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526723)

I have a hacked PSP that proves you wrong.

Re:When will they learn??? (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527685)

Door locks are designed to convince the casual thief to rob your neighbour.

I'm pretty sure this is, in fact, NOT what they're designed for.

Re:When will they learn??? (1)

Beezlebub33 (1220368) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528377)

Well, it's an amusing way to put it, but it is pretty accurate.

Door locks can be circumvented (picked, broken, go through window, etc), so it's silly to think that somehow its going to really prevent a thief from robbing you. However, it presents a barrier. A thief will take the path of least resistance, and if you have bigger locks on your door than your neighbor, they will rob your neighbor. No, I don't want a thief to rob my neighbor, but better them than me. Even better for the thief to be convinced to go to a different neighborhood.

Re:When will they learn??? (5, Insightful)

doublebackslash (702979) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526989)

Actually, DRM does not equate to a locked door. Here is what DRM, generally, does:

It encrypts the content with a key (sometimes unique to an instance of the media, sometimes it is shared among a whole release) and then that key is sent to the consumer via a different channel. For example on DVD players (of both new and old) the key is embedded in the DVD player on a chip (or, so much less securely, inside a sotware player).

This is DRM's only trick, hide the key a little bit!

In the end in order for the user view the content it has to be decrypted. Since the user has the key (in some form) to view the content then they can use that key to remove the DRM form that content.

I hope that you can see the DRM is not a locked door, it is more like a locked door with the key under the doormat!

Re:When will they learn??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25527023)

I hope that you can see the DRM is not a locked door, it is more like a locked door with the key under the doormat!

And that changes the analogy how?

Re:When will they learn??? (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527475)

Actually, using your example of the DVD player, wouldn't it be more like a locked door with somebody on the inside holding a key and unlocking the door everytime somebody (trusted) knocks?

Analog signal cannot represent interactivity (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525809)

Even when they secure the path all the way from the UV-ray disc to each dot in the LCD/plasma/OLED display in 2038, all one needs to get the color of each pixel with greater than 99.999% accuracy is half a dozen US$ 100 cheap cameras

True, analog reconversion defeats digital restrictions management on non-interactive works. But Nintendo publishes video games, which are interactive works.

Re:When will they learn??? (1)

FourthAge (1377519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526107)

That's not how DRM works in 2038. It works in the only way it could: by preventing you passing copies of information across the network, unless you have the rights to distribute those copies. Maybe you try to get around this by telling the network that the pirated files are "original", "freely redistributable" and that you are the creator... but then, you just identified yourself as the pirate. Not what you want in an era where the penalties for copyright infringement are actually enforced.

You can't hack your way around this: if you want to get online, you have to play by the network's rules. Of course you could always make your own network, possibly with blackjack and hookers, but if the usefulness of a network is O(n^2) in the number of users...

I think what you really mean is "DRM does not work, mathematically speaking, on a standalone machine". If the claim was more generally true, then why would anyone care about the possible applications of TCPA?

Ultimately there is too much investment in what some call "imaginary property" to simply drop the whole idea of copy protection. People are going to find ways to make it work. When this happens, we all have to make sure it will work for us. Personally, I want it to work with Linux and other free software, which is not as crazy as it sounds, because copy protection functionality can (and should) be implemented by a hypervisor that runs on top of the existing OS. This is important for security as well as openness, because the hypervisor can be small enough to be bug free.

Re:When will they learn??? (2)

Otto (17870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526611)

You can't hack your way around this: if you want to get online, you have to play by the network's rules. Of course you could always make your own network, possibly with blackjack and hookers, but if the usefulness of a network is O(n^2) in the number of users...

If it is possible for you to pass your own information across this network, then it's possible to send information across this network anonymously. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darknet_(file_sharing) [wikipedia.org]

And while a darknet is necessarily more limited than an open system of sharing, you'd be surprised at how effective one can be, even with a small population. All it takes is one person on the darknet to obtain a copy of the material and put it up for everybody to get it. Private sharing networks are not uncommon, and often interlinked by virtue of members being in more than one.

Re:When will they learn??? (2, Interesting)

hummassa (157160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526893)

Otto, above, made most of my arguments for me.
With encryption, no one can know what I am passing in the network.
Hell, one can even encrypt and embed (steganographically) others' copyrighted works _inside_ one's copyrighted works (I can make a video with six hours of me sitting on a chair picking my nose and steganographically embed on that video the whole "SpiderMan 2040" feature) Not to mention that false identities will _ever_ exist, and one can distribute (and download!) the works under a false or stolen ID all the time...
But, thank you for playing! :-)

Re:Is this one of those "secret support" things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525427)

How's your Blu-Ray cracking going?

Re:Is this one of those "secret support" things? (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525651)

You tell me
http://www.slysoft.com/en/anydvdhd.html [slysoft.com]

Re:Is this one of those "secret support" things? (1)

FourthAge (1377519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525773)

So confident are you that DRM can always be hacked. I'm surprised that the stack-smashing Twilight Hack was even possible; this sort of attack was common against the original XBox, and you would think that Nintendo would have taken steps to prevent it.

Microsoft, at least, seem to have learned. It doesn't seem to be so easy to do this sort of thing on the XBox 360. It looks like someone discovered a hypervisor bug some time ago, allowing unsigned code to run, but that's blocked in more recent versions. The pirates use firmware hacks for the DVD-ROM to run illegal copies of signed code, which is useless for homebrew.

Re:Is this one of those "secret support" things? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527101)

Using a hypervisor will always introduce a performance hit... Making the hardware more expensive to produce and ultimately slower.

The idea of a games console was that the hardware was static, thus you could program it directly without being hindered by any layers of abstraction.... For the best example of how the overhead of abstraction hurts performance, take some games written for the first xbox, and compare them with the corresponding windows versions running on equivalent hardware (700mhz celeron i believe, geforce 3 based video, 64mb ram, 8gb hd)

Cool. (1, Insightful)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525089)

Insert obligatory "the more you tighten your grip....etc.

Hooray... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525133)

Both Wii homebrew users are reported to be delighted.

Re:Hooray... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525807)

ScummVM is 'homebrew', and I enjoy playing my (LEGAL) copies of Monkey Island (1, 2, and 3) on my Wii, thankyouverymuch.

Re:Hooray... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25527121)

So the point of homebrew is to constantly emulate the same games you've played for years on your Windows PC, your Linux PC, your Mac, your XBox, your DS, et al (all of which, and more, if I am not mistaken, have the exact same ScummVM on it, which you have no doubt played hundreds of times already).

Not to mention the Wii port of the same ZSNES you've had on your Windows PC, your Linux PC, your Mac, your XBox, your DS, et al because you just gotta play Chrono Trigger for the eight hundredth time (the eight hundredth time is TEH BESTS!!!1!). Or the Genesis emulator. Or the NES, Master System, Turbografx, Game Boy, GBA, N64, et al emulators...

Oh, and maybe in ten years someone will make a new game or something. Console homebrew: Fostering freedom and innovation in video gaming!

Re:Hooray... (1)

Blublu (647618) | more than 5 years ago | (#25529063)

Exactly. The point of homebrew is that you should be able to run what you want to run on your Wii.

Re:Hooray... (2, Interesting)

dintech (998802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525813)

You're right though, the homebrew scene really does suck compared to the last generation of consoles. I was truly amazed at the things a modded xbox could do a few years ago. There doesn't seem to be anything close to that now which is a shame really.

Re:Hooray... (2, Insightful)

anubis7733 (1377725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25529005)

Despite the fact that the homebrew can't do a lot of crazy things, it does allow users to replay some old games that they may not have had played years without having to repurchase them. Sometimes people just want to be able to play through A Link to the Past again without having to rebuy the game. Also there's a lot of crappy WiiWare out there that may sound interesting but absolutely suck. Homebrew is a way to try out those games without losing any money on the bad ones like Pop.

SDHC support? (5, Interesting)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525137)

The biggest news out of the whole thing for me is that they have added SDHC support through a _channel_ in the Wii dashboard. People have been speculating why the Wii would not support SDHC and if it was some hardware limitation...well, it seems like it isn't. Which really makes me wonder why Nintendo has not added it, yet...in this day and age it's almost getting hard to find a non-SDHC card...

Seriously...WTF. This isn't the first time some 3rd party tool squeezes more functionality out of hardware. But this should really be a no-brainer to implement for the big N.

Re:SDHC support? (2, Informative)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525153)

The Wii still doesn't support SDHC. The homebrew channel does and homebrew apps will be able to.

This doesn't affect the Wii itself in anyway, so you won't be able to use it to copy save files to etc.

Re:SDHC support? (1)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525159)

I never said I could. But if it can be done with the Home Brew Channel, it could also be done with the vanilla Wii itself. Missing SDHC support is not a hardware limitation (as we can see now), it's merely the unwillingness of Nintendo.

Re:SDHC support? (4, Interesting)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525213)

who holds the sdhc patent? could be a patent related issue, they may use the standard hardware (which supports sdhc) to lower costs, but couldn't allow user to use it for licensing issues, also to lower costs.

just speculation, obviously

Re:SDHC support? (2, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525239)

Yes, it's almost certainly a licencing issue IMO. I imagine licence costs also provoked the switch from MP3 to AAC. If people are still complaining about the hideous space limits after next year's update (and I expect they will be) then I could see Nintendo ponying up for SDHC support. Maybe as a paid-for update as a way of recovering the licencing cost (see also Apple's 802.11n).

Re:SDHC support? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525315)

No. This isn't about patents, its about Nintendo being like Apple and Doing Whats Best For You (TM). They don't think that anyone would dare exceed the 512 MB system memory of the Wii, nor would anyone even think of filling up a 2 GB SD card with downloaded content. Honestly, who cares about SDHC support when Nintendo has 2 perfectly good USB ports that could be used for flash drives (and again, have with homebrew)

Re:SDHC support? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525449)

Nope, I'm still pretty sure it's a licencing issue.

Re:SDHC support? (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526199)

Given that the Wii has an SD slot, wouldn't they already have the SD consortium patent licenses needed for SDHC?

Re:SDHC support? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527979)

Not necessarily. SDHC is licenced seperately. If it's not using it right now, I doubt they bothered to get the licence. No point in spending 5c extra per unit on disabled functionality.

Re:SDHC support? (2, Interesting)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525765)

My guess is that Nintendo is pissed that everyone hasn't been buying their branded SD cards, and if they don't support SDHC, at some point when you can't buy SD cards from other vendors, Nintendo will start making even more money selling you their cards.

Re:SDHC support? (2, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525839)

According to the blog, SDHC support can be done entirely in software [hackmii.com] . So it's just a matter of coding it in, both for homebrew creators (there will probably be a lib for it, if not one already) and for Nintendo.

Re:SDHC support? (3, Insightful)

anthonyfk (1394881) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526721)

I think the biggest reason why SDHC support is not added by default was to try and prevent ways for people to stick Wii ROMs (which are >2GB) onto SD cards and access them from that way somehow. Of course, since the HBC and any other application can now do so natively, I guess this isn't a risk anymore.

Re:SDHC support? (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527529)

What's SDHC?

Re:SDHC support? (2, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527717)

The most recent revision to the SD flash card specification (SD High Capacity), it allows SD cards to break the size barriers that existed for the old standard.

Re:SDHC support? (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528341)

So it's not a physical limitation of the Wii to support them?

Re:SDHC support? (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528837)

Nope, which is why the 'hack' that was just released included the code allowing programs written to use it to access and use SDHC cards.

Don't encourage the crackers... (-1, Troll)

kiwioddBall (646813) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525155)

I feel sorry for Nintendo on this one.
The console is about as cheap as they get, and Nintendo put an incredible amount of research and effort into making the best games in the world. When do you folk feel a bit ethically obliged to let the company just make some money out of the good work they've done.
Secondly, the because its there argument. I cracked games in the past, way back in the days of C-64, All those Block executes on track 5 sector 5 etc. But I didn't distribute - I cracked it cause it was fun to do and for my own benefit - I didn't want to get in trouble, or ruin those software companies.
Thirdly Nintendo may not have deliberately broken the previous hacks anyway. All they did was release a new binary and the compiled code moved a bit in memory. I think a little too much credit may be being given here.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525193)

I feel sorry for Nintendo on this one.

That's nice. I'm sure profitable corporations need your sympathy.

The console is about as cheap as they get, and Nintendo put an incredible amount of research and effort into making the best games in the world. When do you folk feel a bit ethically obliged to let the company just make some money out of the good work they've done.

Nintendo sell the console at a profit. They make money off anyone who buys one, including the homebrewers. Anyway, Nintendo don't lease you a wii under a signed contract, they sell you one in a shop. Therefore, aren't they ethically obliged (not to mention legally) to let you do with it what you wish?

Secondly, the because its there argument. I cracked games in the past, way back in the days of C-64, All those Block executes on track 5 sector 5 etc. But I didn't distribute - I cracked it cause it was fun to do and for my own benefit - I didn't want to get in trouble, or ruin those software companies.

My goodness, not only did you not read the article, or summary, you also failed to even read the article title. NB: Home-brew.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (0)

DMadCat (643046) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525635)

"Nintendo sell the console at a profit. They make money off anyone who buys one, including the homebrewers. Anyway, Nintendo don't lease you a wii under a signed contract, they sell you one in a shop. Therefore, aren't they ethically obliged (not to mention legally) to let you do with it what you wish?"

They sell their product for profit?!!! The scoundrels! Because, you know, most successful companies just give their stuff away.

"Anyway, Nintendo don't lease you a wii under a signed contract, they sell you one in a shop. Therefore, aren't they ethically obliged (not to mention legally) to let you do with it what you wish?"

No, not when what you're doing with it is illegal. They are ethically obliged to do as much as possible to ensure you can't run illegal, unlicensed software on it.
Just from a glance at the wiki, some of the games being made available are clones of Nintendo's own games!

If you're going to defend homebrew do not take the stance that Nintendo should be happy and endorse it.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525749)

They sell their product for profit?!!! The scoundrels!

I disagree with you on this. They are well within their rights to sell the wii at a profit.

Because, you know, most successful companies just give their stuff away.

I believe you are mistaken.

No, not when what you're doing with it is illegal.

Since when is homebrew illegal?

They are ethically obliged to do as much as possible to ensure you can't run illegal, unlicensed software on it.

What about legal software, legally licensed from homebrewers? Or legal software which you legally wrote yourself? How are they ethically obliged to stop you running legal, licensed software?

Just from a glance at the wiki, some of the games being made available are clones of Nintendo's own games!

And none of Nintendo's games are clones of what has gone on before, and may well be available for free? People have been cloning ideas in computer games for years. That has nothing to do with homebrew.

If you're going to defend homebrew do not take the stance that Nintendo should be happy and endorse it.

If you're going to attack homebrew, don't just invent stuff about it being illegal and unethical.

Balloon Fight is a Joust clone (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525993)

They are ethically obliged to do as much as possible to ensure you can't run illegal, unlicensed software on it.

Illegal under what law, and unlicensed under what exclusive right? Please name a few "illegal, unlicensed" titles you're looking at, so that other people following this discussion can understand what you are talking about.

Just from a glance at the wiki, some of the games being made available are clones of Nintendo's own games!

So bleeping what? Game play is not copyrightable [copyright.gov] . In fact, Nintendo's own Balloon Fight, available in the North American versions of Animal Crossing (for GameCube) and Wii Shop Channel, is a clone of Midway's Joust.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (3, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527667)

No, not when what you're doing with it is illegal. They are ethically obliged to do as much as possible to ensure you can't run illegal, unlicensed software on it.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525195)

The console is about as cheap as they get, and Nintendo put an incredible amount of research and effort into making the best games in the world. When do you folk feel a bit ethically obliged to let the company just make some money out of the good work they've done.

Nintendo makes about $50 on each Wii, compare that to MS and Sony who lose money whenever a 360 or PS3 is bought. Plus, most homebrewers are exactly that, homebrewers, this isn't a 1337 W@r3z h@ck either, its simply homebrew.

Thirdly Nintendo may not have deliberately broken the previous hacks anyway. All they did was release a new binary and the compiled code moved a bit in memory. I think a little too much credit may be being given here.

Ah, yes, because there was so much else in that update. Oh and never mind the fact that it searched for modified saves and deleted them, that's certainly not intentional.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

sgbett (739519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525385)

I'm all for home-brew, and Nintendo trying to block it is one thing (a bad thing imho).

Whether or not they make a profit on each unit sold is another thing. You can't criticise a business for turning a profit on the products it sells just because its competitors are daft enough to sell at a loss!

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525409)

Microsoft reported they were breaking even on the 360s, I think sometime near the end of last year. They might even be profitable now. Not sure about the PS3, but it has been shockingly expensive here in Scandinavia for a long time.

Of course, that probably means Nintendo are closer to $100 profit per console by now :)=

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (3, Interesting)

mrbill1234 (715607) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525197)

Who said anything about cracked or pirate games? This is about installing homebrew and open source software on a hardware platform which has been paid for by the consumer who bought it - and Nintendo are not selling Wii's at a loss like Sony's PS3.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526699)

Part of the appeal of console systems is that, generally, a console owned by person A is the same as the console owned by person B. Consoles provide a uniform environment. Both for game development and game playing. If you're playing SSBB online, you don't have to worry about someone running cheats or maphacks.

Is it that difficult of a concept to grasp, that console makers like having a nice uniform hardware (per console) environment?

Don't like big bad Nintendo patching out all your mods? DON'T GET THE NINTENDO UPDATES THEN!

If you want to mod your system and play official games and use official services perhaps you shouldn't try to do it with the same unit.

Once you buy it, you are free to do with it what you want. Nintendo has no obligation to keep their inventory compatible with your out of spec system.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525201)

When do you folk feel a bit ethically obliged to let the company just make some money

It's always nice to start the day with a laugh. Thank you.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (5, Informative)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525217)

The console is about as cheap as they get, and Nintendo put an incredible amount of research and effort into making the best games in the world. When do you folk feel a bit ethically obliged to let the company just make some money out of the good work they've done.

Err, I really like Nintendo, I really like the Wii, and I'd really like some of what you were smoking.
1) The console price hasn't gone down AT ALL since it was released almost two years ago. Compare that to the prices of the PS3 or Xbox360 during the same timeframe. Also compare it to the fact that the Xbox360 is now way cheaper than the Wii while being much, much faster.

2) The last few months there were nothing but half-assed games coming out for the Wii, especially from Nintendo. I don't see "the best games in the world" anymore, anywhere. Think back to the last Nintendo press conference and tell me you were really positively surprised with what they came up with.

3) The Homebrew Channel can do a lot, but what it can't do is play Wii games off of burned discs. You still need a modchip for that. You can play copied WiiWare games, but team Twiizers officially denounces warez. They're doing it to open up the platform itself, not to open it up for the warez kids.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525367)

1) Probably because they haven't managed to slow down. Only an idiot would lower prices during high demand. 1b) False. The real 360 is still the Premium or Elite. The core is basically worthless, so the real price of the 360 is still 300+$. You can't even make use of most of the new dashboard without a 512MB card or a HDD.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528355)

1) Definitely agree, why cut your prices when your system is still selling out and the holidays are approaching? Even if it is the "technically" lesser system.

1b) I disagree, the $200 (USD) 360 now lets you upgrade with a free 512 MB card or a 20 GB drive for $20. First link I could find. [destructoid.com] Also, the Core has been pretty much discontinued with the Arcade taking its spot. The Arcade comes with the wireless controller, HDMI, and now you can upgrade to a 20 GB HD for 20 bucks more. Definitely the better deal at the moment. Although with larger downloadable games and demos, and HD install option on the next dashboard update, Elite or the larger HD upgrade might be the way to go. Too damn bad that you can't just throw in a standard 2.5" drive instead of paying out the ass for the Microsoft model.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525553)

...The console price hasn't gone down AT ALL since it was released almost two years ago. Compare that to the prices of the PS3 or Xbox360 during the same timeframe. Also compare it to the fact that the Xbox360 is now way cheaper than the Wii while being much, much faster.

As far as the Xbox/PS3 vs. Wii, it ALL depends on what kind of gamer you are. We all know that hardcore gamers aren't snapping up Wii consoles for all-night fragfests. Different gaming niches altogether.

As far as the price tag, Finance 101 my friend. They keep the quantities on the shelf low to generate some hype, and come out with some quirky "game" (WiiFit) every now and then to generate more hype to keep demand up. And Wii games aren't exactly contenders for Game of the Year, again niche market.

If YOU were selling a product with that kind of demand, I'd think "price reduction" would be in 99th place on the list of Marketing priorities while you cruise around on your private jet.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526233)

That might all be well and true, but if you read the post I was replying to again you will see that all I did was counter the OP's "The console is about as cheap as they get" argument.

I know there is no reason for Nintendo to dop the price, as it would undermine the "exclusiveness" of the Wii.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25526349)

As far as the price tag, Finance 101 my friend. They keep the quantities on the shelf low to generate some hype, and come out with some quirky "game" (WiiFit) every now and then to generate more hype to keep demand up.

Right. Nintendo increased production from 1.6M to 2.4M in a year, to try to meet the near-unprecedented demand. (See http://www.maxconsole.net/?mode=news&newsid=33095 [maxconsole.net] ) Where are they storing all those millions of consoles? The truth is, it's the consumers who make sure the Wii can't be found on shelves, by buying the damn things as fast as they get back in stock.

And Wii games aren't exactly contenders for Game of the Year, again niche market.

Riiiiight, games like Super Mario Galaxy can never win such prestigious awards...

http://videogames.yahoo.com/events/game-of-the-year-2007/best-overall-game-of-2007/1177115 [yahoo.com]
http://www.gametrailers.com/player/29286.html [gametrailers.com]

Not that I really disagree with you all that much, Nintendo have been careful about ramping up their production to not allow Wiis to pile up in stores, and *most* Wii games are shitty.

Both of those are attributable to common sense, though: Produce too many of an item, and you're paying to lease more factories than you actually need, and on top of that you also have to store your excess stock in expensive warehouses.

As to the shitty games, that's just down to the Wii being the market leader, and thus the target of shovelware publishers who want to maximise their sales by releasing games to the largest install base possible. Oh yeah, the Wii is cheaper to develop for, too!

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525591)

What would happen if the Wii's price was reduced? You would get more demand is what. And I don't think Nintendo would want more demand as there is enough of it already, what with the machine being sold faster than they can produce.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525735)

3) The Homebrew Channel + Waninkoko/Wiigator's loader does allow you to play burned games, fortunately or unfortunately.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (2, Informative)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527001)

The word 'plays' can be interpreted in a few ways here. 'It plays' can be considered that it simply runs the games, and the game (eventually) loads and runs. But if it causes the DVD to read @ 1x or 2x, causing 4-5x longer loading screens, would you call that playing? I've even tried Mario Kart online, and keep getting disconnected because it simply takes too long to load.

They're working on version 0.2, which apparently brings up the read speed to 3x which should help considerably. However, it's still not near flawless and may be downgraded from 'plays' to 'semi-works'. It's still a huge milestone for the homebrew community since you're now able to run patched discs without hardware mods.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525821)

3) The Homebrew Channel can do a lot, but what it can't do is play Wii games off of burned discs. You still need a modchip for that. You can play copied WiiWare games, but team Twiizers officially denounces warez. They're doing it to open up the platform itself, not to open it up for the warez kids.

So you can install this homebrew channel sans mod-chip?

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (2, Informative)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526073)

Yes, you can. You will need to make use of the Twilight Hack, so you definitely need Twilight Princess if you don't own a modchip. It's ok if you borrow it for an hour or so, you just need it to get your foot in the door.

Check out everything you need to know here: http://hbc.hackmii.com/ [hackmii.com]

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25526241)

Yes, but you need an original copy of "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess" for that. Then you just copy a save game onto a SD card. Google "wii homebrew channel", it is as easy as it gets.

But it is wrong to say that this does not allow playing "backup" games from regular burned discs. It is still early, but there already tools (that can be run from the Homebrew Channel) that allow you to play burned games without a modchip, and the compatibility list is increasing by the day. I heard you don't even need to patch the ISO before burning it anymore.

It is actually a pretty fierce struggle between homebrewers, hackers and pirates. Hackers open up the platform, usually for homebrewers, but then pirates step in to install WiiWare, VC games and, recently, to implement those backup loaders. And the thing is, I really don't think Nintendo gives a rats ass about homebrewers, but they have to attack wathever hackers do with their system because there is another group of people that uses those hacks to pirates games on it.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528963)

Not all that interested in burned games. I bought all the wii games I want (and likely will ever want, with the crap they're churning out now. :( ) including the aforementioned Twilight princess. ;)

Thanks for the hint.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25526743)

Whilst the homebrew channel doesn't run burned games, it can be used as a platform to 'softmod' programs which can run burned games.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526751)

The stupid thing is still selling like hotcakes, why bother dropping the price? Supply and demand my friend. While any geek worth their salt may be able to realize that a PS3 or a 360 is 'more value' than a Wii, dollar for dollar in hardware, the Wii has specific games and playability that appeals to people willing to pay for it.

When people stop buying them at full bang, I'm sure they'll drop the price $50 to increase sales.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (-1, Troll)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525225)

>>>When do you folk feel a bit ethically obliged to let the company just make some money out of the good work they've done.

When they produce good work.
That's when I hand-over the cash.
Not before.
Not when Nintendo has been known to produce junk like Starfox Adventures (a poor attempt at a Zelda clone).

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525253)

SFA was developed by Rare, not Nintendo. It also came out 5 years ago for the Gamecube. Would you care to try again, or is that really the best excuse you can come up with?

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (0)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525643)

Doesn't matter. 5 years ago I spent $50 on a disappointing game called Starfox Adventures. Nintendo/Rare/somebody still has that $50 in their pocket (plus interest). I am not pleased about that.

"Excuse"? I don't need an excuse to not purchase trash, whether it's made by Nintendo or somebody else. I also didn't waste my money on the latest release of Stargate Atlantis Season 4 on DVD ("crap" for short). Just because a manufacturer publishes something does NOT mean it's worthy of handing-over the greenbacks.

As I said, if it's worthy, then I'll buy it (Zelda Ocarina of Time was actually purchased twice; once on the N64, and again on Mini-DVD for Cube/Wii playback). I don't just throw-away my cash foolishly, and you will not succeed in making me feel guilty about not buying poor products.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526261)

It's called "game rental". Learn it. Use it. Love it. Avoid buying crap like "Starfox Adventures".

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527715)

Or piracy... Download, play, realise its crap, delete, unless your network connection is especially poor you wasted less time and money than renting.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (3, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525237)

People don't buy $250 systems just to play homebrew. Conversely, people that already have the system will dabble in homebrew to increase the value of their hardware, and allow it to do things it couldn't otherwise (like play Monkey Island, or watch DVDs).

If Nintendo is smart, they will put of a token fight - mainly to stay within contractual obligations with their game developing partners and keep them happy - while leaving plenty of loopholes for homebrew to exist. Best of both worlds for all involved.

Pandora? PCs? (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526099)

People don't buy $250 systems just to play homebrew.

No, but they do buy $330 systems just to play homebrew [slashdot.org] . Heck, if you define "homebrew" to mean "software released without a negotiated licensing agreement between the developer and the computer's manufacturer", people buy $300 to $2,000 devices for homebrew, called "personal computers".

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (4, Informative)

Idaho (12907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525293)

The console is about as cheap as they get

Uhm, for the hardware you get, it's actually rather overpriced (Nintendo makes a nice profit from each console sold). Also, the topic is about running homebrew software, not necessarily about running pirated games. (Yes, I know a lot of people will use it to do just that).

Thirdly Nintendo may not have deliberately broken the previous hacks anyway. All they did was release a new binary and the compiled code moved a bit in memory.

This is decidedly not true; they add code [thedailywtf.com] that specifically fixes the symptoms (current exploits against known holes), but not the real cause (horribly broken usage and implementations of crypto/hashing/signing algorithms, among others). This is why new cracks typically appear within a day or two. Putting in such code, however, can hardly be designated "accidental". Please do a little fact-checking next time.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525747)

>>>Nintendo makes a nice profit from each console sold

How much?

The reason I ask is because it's unusual. Normal operating procedure is to lose $10-20 per unit sold, with money earned off the backend (game sales). So what is the cost of Wii manufacture (per unit)?

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

Idaho (12907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526567)

How much?

As others have posted, about $50, see source [gamedaily.com] . This was in september 2007, and I can hardly imagine that production costs would have increased since then (to the contrary..) The price of the Wii is however still $/EUR 250 worldwide.

The reason I ask is because it's unusual.

It is. Good job for them, especially as compared to Microsoft where the total losses in the X-box division likely run into the 11-digit range by now; see here [blogspot.com] and here [blogspot.com] , and note that this is even before the infamous $2B "red ring of death" recall.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526787)

Normal operating procedure for everyone but Nintendo. As I understand it, Nintendo has almost always sold their consoles at a profit, being less driven to have the latest and greatest but rather the best licensing arrangements for games instead.

Ironically the two times I remember Nintendo bragging about having better hardware than the 'other guys' were the N64 and the Gamecube, arguably both miserable failures compared to other console systems at the time.

They still made a profit off each unit sold, IIRC though.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525371)

You should do research before opening your mouth, the October 23 system update did infact *deliberately* break existing homebrew for the simple fact that ~90% of it was patches for a bug in the Wii's IOS modules (firmware of sorts) that most homebrew application exploit in order to install content to the Wii's NAND (filesystem). Additionally the update blocks direct access to the Wii's NAND for most IOS modules, an attempt to stop people dumping the contents of their Wii's.

Most of the update (as with the previous one) are direct attacks against (the use of) homebrew, the fact that Team Twiizers managed to find new exploits in mere days just goes to show how incredibly skilled they really are.

I think not enough credit is given here.

Sources:
  - http://wii.marcansoft.com/wiimpersonator/reports/20081023-031234.log
  - http://www.wiibrew.org/wiki/Wii_System_Updates

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (2, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525423)

Nintendo put an incredible amount of research and effort into making the best games in the world. When do you folk feel a bit ethically obliged to let the company just make some money out of the good work they've done.

How does allowing me to run my own software on hardware I have purchased prevent Nintendo from making money? In fact, it makes me more likely to buy the console. At the moment I don't have a Wii - if it were possible to run Linux on it I would buy one and it would become my MythTV frontend. So they would make more money since they would have another customer. At the same time, because I would then have a Wii, I would buy games for it, so they would make more money. By preventing me using the hardware how I like, they have reduced the value of the Wii to the point where I cannot justify the cost of buying one. Forgive me for saying, but doing whatever you can to reduce the value of your product doesn't seem to be a bright marketing strategy.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25527087)

~30M sold and climbing while not seeing them on store shelves doesn't sound like a bad marketing strategy. Especially considering the price.

Re:Don't encourage the crackers... (3, Informative)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525461)

I had no interest in hacking my wii until I heard they had blocked it. That got me looking into homebrew and then I found mplayer for wii. That night I went out and bought a sdcard reader for my computer and installed the homebrew channel on my wii.

Not a surprise, really (4, Interesting)

Idaho (12907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525231)

Check this article [thedailywtf.com] to find out why this is not really surprising.

Yup, that is indeed Nintendo featuring on TheDailyWTF.

why support these companies? (1, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525341)

why support these companies that support DRM?? when MS or walmart use DRM there's a /. nerd outcry, but when apple or Nintendo do it it's ok because we can crack it?? news flash retards, ALL drm is crackable because it's a broken strategy

Re:why support these companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25526091)

why support these companies that support DRM??

Because they make good products? Not all of us are nerds with a cause who boycott any product that is vaguely related to any sort of copy protection or DRM.

Also, Nintendo attempting to block homebrew doesn't have anything to do with DRM. Get your terms straight.

Re:why support these companies? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526409)

why support these companies that support DRM??

Because there isn't a computer maker that supports SDTV output and doesn't support DRM. If we all had HDTVs, we'd probably be playing homebrew on a slim PC through a VGA or HDMI cable, with game controllers connected through a USB hub and/or a Bluetooth receiver. But there's a huge installed base of SDTVs out there.

This is good to hear (4, Insightful)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525407)

Anything that opens up the Wii platform is good news, so a hearty cheer from me.

If Nintendo created a proper home-brew platform, making it easier and cheaper to make small games and apps, the Wii could become a killer home entertainment platform (especially if they add DVD and local storage support). Something along the lines of the iPhone/Android apps store, where you can sell cheap games and they take a small cut. Currently the selection on WiiWare is pretty limited unless you want old NES games.

If they did that, I'd become a Wii developer overnight.

Re:This is good to hear (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526337)

If Nintendo created a proper home-brew platform, making it easier and cheaper to make small games and apps

According to WiiWare proponents, it already is. They say a Wii developer needs three things to get a license:

  • A corporation, partnership, or other business entity
  • Office space for a Wii developer unit, separate from any residence
  • A playable game for Windows (using OpenGL), Mac OS X, or Linux, ready to be ported

But have you considered developing for a slim PC instead? I've seen PCs from the major national OEMs that aren't much bigger than an Xbox 360, with two front panel USB ports for gamepads, ready to connect to any HDTV with a VGA or HDMI input.

Re:This is good to hear (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25529039)

If you need a license from Nintendo to develop its just not homebrew is it?

You need an "open" system for an active homebrew scene - something closer to your slim PC idea (oblig. does it run linux?) - but then you don't get the advantage of millions of identical machines to target.

Re:This is good to hear (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25526959)

For the record, GeexBox and MplayerWii support USB storage, Mplayer supports DVD. It shouldn't be too long before convergence.

Re:This is good to hear (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528677)

Agreed. I would love to buy a Wii for the unique games, but I can't bring myself to pay for a system that the manufacturer is ACTIVELY stopping the community from improving.

For my money the best console available is a cracked original xbox running XBMC and an upgraded harddisk. Cost you about AU$200 to put together. Has DVD, best media center software I've ever seen (open source), runs emulators for old PC, arcade, SNES and N64 games, has a catalog of thousands of native games (the newer ones still look pretty good) and as a bonus allows you quickly and easily rip your games to disk for no-more CD swapping. (you could use it for pirating rented games too I suppose, but I would never do that). Nothing on the market currently can touch that functionality.

Team TWiizers rocks! (2, Insightful)

eagee (1308589) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525769)

These guys are nothing short of awesome :). Only two days after the update. For those of us who couldn't possibly afford a Nintendo dev kit (or get one if we could since we're not publishers) this is the only way we're able to write games on an actual Wii. Thanks Team TWiizers!
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