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Nintendo Penalizing Homebrew Users?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the thanks-so-much dept.

Nintendo 95

An anonymous reader writes "Bricked your Wii? Not only will Nintendo charge you for the repair, they will now add an additional fee if they detect any homebrew software. 'Should Nintendo have to pay to repair hacked Wiis under warranty? Maybe not, but they have no (moral) right to gouge customers out of spite for having the HBC installed. This actually poses a technical dilemma for us with BootMii. As currently designed, BootMii looks for an SD card when you boot your Wii, and if it finds the card and the right file, it will execute that file. Otherwise, there's no way to tell it's installed.'"

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Post First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710583)

Read later

Obvious Fake (1, Interesting)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710593)

First of all, I don't read German, but "softwarehack" is only one line of that receipt and I doubt it has the same meaning in German and English. Even so, if they were charging additional for hacked Wii's, it would probably be an extra line item. I would expect to see a normal repair fee on the invoice *plus* a "hacked wii fee".

Second, the email is a poor fake. It's anonymous, with typos and grammar mistakes. And what company ever refers to the possibility of their policies being illegal in a corporate memo? I quote: "yes we are aware of a small legal risk to be claimed on this in the court, but NOE more than willing to take the risk."

Re:Obvious Fake (2, Funny)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710709)

It's not a "hacked wii fee", it was obviously a higher repair cost since the Wii was hacked.

RTFA and you'll notice they say that they will charge 180-210 euro for repairs on hacked Wiis even though it's not the normal fee.

Seems like they understood it was risky legal waters as well but wanted to go that way anyway. But yes, imho it's the owners console and the owner should be free to do what the fuck he or she want to do with it. Imho it's ok to charge for a repair during the warranty period if the hack have led to the problem (I hate retards which like fail moding their consoles and then return them because they are "broken", fuck them.)

If the Nintendo warranty is more generous than their minimal legal requirements I guess they can say that you don't get the additional coverage on a hacked console but charging more just because it has other software on it?

Windows 7 upgrade, $50, $200 if you have firefox installed? ..

Re:Obvious Fake (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710719)

A new wii must be less than 180 Euros. Mine cost 300 AUD.

Re:Obvious Fake (1)

Joeyray (262122) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711107)

Wrong. Around 250 Euros it is in Germany. Try searching for it on http://www.amazon.de/ [amazon.de] for example.

Re:Obvious Fake (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711313)

Wrong. Around 250 Euros it is in Germany.

Wow, they're even cheaper in Switzerland (ca. CHF320/EUR210). That doesn't happen very often...

Although I picked mine up duty free in London for ~155 quid (CHF260/EUR170). :)

Sorry, no deal (0, Troll)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710721)

Windows 7 upgrade, $50, $200 if you have firefox installed? ..

Sorry, no deal. Won't even install it if you pay me $400 because I run firefox under linux. There ain't enough money in the WORLD!

Re:Sorry, no deal (5, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711027)

There ain't enough money in the WORLD!

Really? Seriously?

A lot of people say that (and I hate MS as much as anybody), but if I was offered even the insult of $1,000,000 USD to install Windows 7 .............. I have a feeling that there will be a few machines with Windows 7 on it.

Then I would hire a few dozen Japanese hotties with pig-tails and school girl outfits to do all of my actual work on other machines and I would just have to *suffer* through it. At least when I get pissed off at the Windows 7 machine when it starts screwing up (inevitably of course) I can have a bunch of my "employees" come in sucking lollipops to give me my "tech support".

Ohhhhh, and I am sure some of that $$$$ will be used to buy several well placed poles in my office......

Re:Sorry, no deal (0, Redundant)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711169)

+3 Funny.

LOL !!!

Re:Sorry, no deal (1)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711567)

Sell out. It used to be about the penguins, man.

Re:Sorry, no deal (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712207)

Ohhhhh, and I am sure some of that $$$$ will be used to buy several well placed poles in my office......

Finally!
Someone who didn't forget Poland!

Re:Sorry, no deal (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 5 years ago | (#27714531)

Made me laugh, but I have no mod points today.

Re:Obvious Fake (2, Insightful)

fuliginous (1059354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712129)

If you use the device outside its intended purpose and that purpose is clearly discernible then it has to be your cost. If I take my regular car rallying and the suspension breaks it is hardly reasonable for me to attempt to claim repair under warranty. The car was built for the road not 140mph down a bumpy unmetaled track. If I fit a nitrous kit to the car and it pops a cylinder good luck proving it was a build flaw and therefore a warranty claim.

Re:Obvious Fake (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 5 years ago | (#27732525)

If you use the device outside its intended purpose and that purpose is clearly discernible then it has to be your cost. If I take my regular car rallying and the suspension breaks it is hardly reasonable for me to attempt to claim repair under warranty. The car was built for the road not 140mph down a bumpy unmetaled track. If I fit a nitrous kit to the car and it pops a cylinder good luck proving it was a build flaw and therefore a warranty claim.

Your example suggests the warranty claim should be denied because the car was forced to exceed it's normal tolerances. Hhomebrew software doesn't make the Wii "run" any harder than commercial software.

Re:Obvious Fake (2, Informative)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 5 years ago | (#27714225)

Windows 7 upgrade, $50, $200 if you have firefox installed? ..

You must not have a Wii, because it's quite a bit more complicated than that. For the sake of the community, allow me to explain:

There are ways to run homebrew on a Wii without leaving (much) trace. The problem is that this is really inconvenient to do, so most users opt to install the Homebrew Channel. This is where Nintendo believes their justification comes in. The install method includes using a hacked save file for Twilight Princess. The horse's name in the game has been changed to induce a stack smash, enabling some shell code to run that launches the Homebrew Channel installer.

This of course poses certain risks, but to date I don't think anyone has had any problems since Nintendo has been taking measures to prevent the Homebrew Channel from being installed. So basically, it either works fine, or not at all. I have yet to see the HBC pose any real risk or hear of it causing problems.

And that's just scratching the surface. There are custom IOS modifications that can allow you to run backups, play actual DVDs, change your system menu themes, and a plethora of other things that could potentially cause problems if not used with caution.

Preloader (I mentioned it in an above comment) works by renaming the system menu and installing itself in its place. When SM4.0 was released, there were some problems that would cause your Wii to report that it was bricked. This has since been fixed, and I don't think the Wii homebrew communtiy worried about it too much because the problem was a known issue and has since been fixed.

And don't get me started on pirate WAD installations that let you install virtual console and WiiWare titles for free. What I'm getting at is that it's painfully obvious when a Wii has been modified. The current IOS is v60, and a lot of IOS mods install to IOS v249 or 247. One look at your Wii's NAND will tell the tale.

Re:Obvious Fake (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#27724491)

It's actually not surprising that Nintendo are doing this.

I had my Wii for less than a month and the drive died in it, so I sent it off to Nintendo and they wanted to charge me AU$150 for a new drive. Needless to say I was pissed off, it took taking them to Consumer Affairs before they'd back down and repair it under warranty.

They claimed it was user damage, even after I explained that it had been used twice and not moved from where it was installed. It's not the first case I'd heard about Nintendo trying to fleece customers with repairs.

This whole idea of charging more for a device with HBC installed is exactly how Nintendo operates. If they see a space for profit, they go for it. I mean, who else are you going to get to repair it?

Sure, if it was an Xbox 360 or a PS3 you'd find a repairer, but Wii repair places are few and far between... or at least in my experience they are.

Re:Obvious Fake (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710729)

From a comment by the article's author:

The email came with a bit more context (that I did not publish), which was enough for me to believe the email was genuine. Still, I didn't publish it when I received it because I couldn't be certain it was legitimate.

I still can't be certain, of course, but the German invoice was enough for me to believe that it is true. One reason I posted this was in the hopes that others will come forward if this happens to them, so we can get further confirmation.

Basically the homebrew guys are just trying to keep the community informed.

You doubt. Never a good sign (5, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710769)

I do speak german and softwarehack is NOT a german word, it is a borrowed word and therefor means the same thing as you would expect it to. Never DOUBT. CHECK!

Your entire argument starts to look shakey because you asumed.

You then go on to claim that it is a seperate line. It is not, it is a wrap around of the previous line. Failure two.

You then go on to make your final claim. The email being fake. 2 strikes, is the third a hit? We already know you leap to conclusions, so might you have struck out completly?

The email indeed seems suspicious. The english in it is piss poor and that is coming from me. Could there be a reason? Nintendo is a japanese company, could we be dealing with an advanced case of engrish here? Maybe someone low in the hierachy whose native language is not english went outside the official channels to send this email?

It is important to remember that many internal emails would make any language teacher cry like a britney spears fan. I have seen worse.

The grammar itself is not enough to label the email a fake. That it came through an anonymous source, well that doesn't mean anything.

Finally, the wording. It isn't very proffesional but I am sure we all remember the halloween documents. If Balmer can throw chairs why can't a nintendo flunky send out this email?

So, two strikes and one questionable. I think you put to much faith in proffesionalism in individual employees. While I have no proof this email is wrong, it being stupid and badly written does not guarantee it as a fake. Really, read more leaked documents.

Re:You doubt. Never a good sign (0, Redundant)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710851)

Never DOUBT. CHECK!

I doubt I'll take that advice.

Re:You doubt. Never a good sign (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711179)

Well, thanks for the insight on the "softwarehack". I was hoping a native speaker would comment on that. My argument was not that it couldn't mean the same thing, but that it was silly to assume so. In the article he starts off by saying his German is poor. Its the same as assuming "nein" (German) and "nine" (English) has the same meaning since they also look similar.

My second claim rests on it being part of the same line. Re-read what I wrote. I think if the claim that Nintendo has a "hacked Wii fee" as the article claims, then the invoice would show a separate line item for it. It does not.

My third claim (about the email) points to spelling and grammar as auxiliary evidence, but do you really expect that an official company document, handed out to front line employees would explicitly say that 'hey! this might be illegal!'?

Since you do speak German, would you mind translating the rest of the invoice for those of us who don't? Does it look legitimate to you?

Re:You doubt. Never a good sign (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711341)

I do speak german and softwarehack is NOT a german word

Thought so, it's nowhere near long enough.

Re:Obvious Fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711105)

So I perfectly speak german and "softwarehack" has excactly the same meaning.

The receipt tells, that the warranty is void due to the installed homebrew software.

The price for the repair is exceptionally high, it is near a brand new wii.

There is no explanation for this, it seems that nintendo just found out that there is homebrew and asked for this amount of money. In germany it is unusual to treat customers that way.

In my opinion this a a penalty for homebrew users.

Babelfish to the rescue (1, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711183)

My softwarehack is full of eels.

Re:Obvious Fake (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711309)

First of all, I don't read German, but "softwarehack" is only one line of that receipt and I doubt it has the same meaning in German and English.

The entire line is:
"Ausschluss der Gewaehrleistung durch die Art des Defektes Modifizierung an der Internen Software vorgehnommen Softwarehack."

or in other words, the warranty is voided because of the attempt of a defective modification of the internal software ie a software hack.

And yes, softwarehack means the exact same thing. From looking at the cost, it seems they wanted to charge him the cost of a new wii or close to it (no idea what wiis cost in Europe but considering the American price...)

Re:Obvious Fake (1)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 5 years ago | (#27726709)

You would be better off to zap the hell out of the device with high voltage and return it as totally not working if you have non standard software by the sound of things.

Re:Obvious Fake (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 5 years ago | (#27714121)

Even if Nintendo did start charging for hacked Wiis, it doesn't matter. Any reasonably experienced Wii hacker/hack user will have Preloader installed, which will allow you to recover from a brick without having to bother with Nintendo (maybe just a partial brick, but it's better than nothing).

Is this allowable by law in Europe? (4, Interesting)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710605)

Doesn't Europe have the equivalent of the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (4, Informative)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710653)

For the uninformed (mods, looking at you), among other things, the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act (unless I've mixed up Supreme Court Cases) puts the burden on the manufacturer to prove that an aftermarket part or enhancement caused the defect for which the product needs to be serviced.

The homebrew channel would fall under this and since it is easy to remove be no cause for voiding a warranty (like Ford refusing an engine repair because you installed an aftermarket radio...).

No... (3, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711581)

the M-M Warranty act says essentially 2 things:

1) Warranties must be written in clear language. ("Full and conspicuous disclosure of terms and conditions")

2) Manufacturer's may not, as a condition of the warranty, require the purchase of name brand parts, unless they can demonstrate that such parts are necessary for proper operation. ("No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name;...")

A manufacturer can, as long as they spell it out clearly, void a warranty if unauthorized modifications are made to a product. An auto manufacturer could provide an engine warranty which is void if you hang fuzzy dice from the mirror, but they can't require you to use their brand of fuzzy dice. The MM Act does not put "the burden on the manufacturer to prove that an aftermarket part or enhancement caused the defect."

Feel free to read it [cornell.edu] .

Re:No... (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 5 years ago | (#27713993)

My question is, how specific does one have to get? Fuzzy dice, or anything hanging from a mirror? DVD player channel, or any software encapsulated as a channel? Homebrew Channel doesn't provide anything (legal) that directly competes with existing channels.

Well... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715391)

as a condition of the warranty, Nintendo can certainly require that the user run only Nintendo provided, unmodified, operating system software, since that is an "article or service provided without charge" during the warranty period.

I believe that would preclude running any homebrew stuff. Doesn't installing the Homebrew Channel involve breaking the chain of trust by installing a modified IOS?

Re:Well... (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715733)

Nope. Well, it may in the future require replaying old IOS's if they start blocking it. The install method I've seen is to basically exploit Zelda and write the new channel to system memory.

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (2, Interesting)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710661)

I don't know why the parent is modded offtopic. Hopefully, those of you with mod points will fix this.

The warranty act is very interesting; I didn't know about it until now. According to Wikipedia: "Warrantors cannot require that only branded parts be used with the product in order to retain the warranty. This is commonly referred to as the 'tie-in sales' provisions, and is frequently mentioned in the context of third-party computer parts, such as memory and hard drives."

I would read this to also include branded software. I.e., installing unauthorized software shouldn't void the warranty (unless, of course, the software is what caused the malfunction).

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710681)

installing unauthorized software shouldn't void the warranty (unless, of course, the software is what caused the malfunction).

So can Apple be made to do warranty repairs on jailbroken iphones?

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (1)

int69h (60728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710747)

If they can't prove jail breaking the phone is what broke it, then yes.

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712759)

As a practical matter, it is the other way around (because the costs to battle Apple are roughly on par with the costs to not battle them i.e., a new iPhone), and a user can't actually prove that the jailbreak didn't break the phone.

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710763)

It is my understanding that if it can be shown that what you did, did not cause the failure(directly or indirectly, I'm not sure), then the warranty should be honored. (Like someone else said, installing a third party radio should not invalidate the warranty on the engine, unless they could show that it somehow did)

So a jailbroken phone that had the filesystem fucked up because of an app that wasn't Apple approved, then probably not since it(the app) caused the direct failure. (Breaking it, not so much(unless the jailbreaking itself broke the phone). Installing non-approved apps that fucked up your phone, well they can point that caused the failure, nothing that they(Apple) did)

Now, if your screen developed a crack in it because of bad parts, then yes, they should honor that warranty, since I doubt that a jailbroken phone running any app should cause the screen to crack. (But then, I don't know)

But then I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know anything.

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711363)

I doubt that a jailbroken phone running any app should cause the screen to crack.

Well if Linux can cause the screen hinges to break [cnet.co.uk] I suppose anything's possible.

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710847)

> I don't know why the parent is modded offtopic.

Because US law doesn't apply in Germany.

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710895)

>Because *this particular* US law doesn't apply in Germany. There, fixed that for you :o)

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (2, Insightful)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710981)

Because *this particular* US law doesn't apply in Germany. There, fixed that for you :o)

The question was:
"Doesn't Europe have the equivalent of the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act [wikipedia.org]?"

The person who asked was obviously very well aware that the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act does not apply in Europe. He asked if we don't have some European law with the same effect.

And for this you think he should be modded off topic?

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711421)

You're assuming people read the posts they're moderating. Possibly even read them carefully. Sux 2BU N00b.

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710715)

I doubt we have anything in common, but for instance here in Sweden you always get warranty no matter what, but then the companies in question can of course add longer time or even better service on top of those legal obligations.

I doubt they could pull this shit during the legal obligatory warranty over here, unless they can prove the damage came from the hack.

Re:Is this allowable by law in Europe? (2, Informative)

Torodung (31985) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710739)

If it is a non-warranty repair, OTOH, then perhaps we need more third party service shops to show Nintendo the error of its ways. I should hope simple competition for repair work would put an end to this sort of shenanigans.

Otherwise, the parent poses an interesting and relevant question. Mods please click the link and *read* the page.

(If mods are Nintendo fanboys or shills modding parent down, I hope you get burned in meta-moderation.)

--
Toro

Windows? (1)

Timberfox (1537013) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710615)

How much do they charge when they discover the BSOD

Re:Windows? (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710633)

nothing. They just tell you to reinstall the OS, or get a new HDD.

This would be like (4, Funny)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710631)

Microsoft charging more if they discover Ubuntu on a separate partition.

Re:This would be like (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711349)

Microsoft doesn't make or warranty most (any?) computers out there unless you consider the Zune a computer (which you can).

This is analogous to Ford discovering you put different computer chips in the control systems to eke out a few more HP. Now, it could have been an underlying problem with the hardware to begin with, but with software controlling the hardware it's hard to argue that Nintendo is 100% in the wrong.

Re:This would be like (4, Funny)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711767)

unless you consider the Zune a computer (which you can).

Yeah, but if you've install Ubuntu on a separate partition on your Zune:
1) Congrats
2) Why?

Re:This would be like (1)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 5 years ago | (#27717431)

So if someone installs and runs Linux on their Zune, and the screen goes bad in the warranty period, should they be able to charge 90% of the value of a new Zune to repair it?

Re:This would be like (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27718299)

If the computer chip you placed to control the engine causes it to run too lean and puts a hole in a piston, Ford should have every right to charge you for an engine. Their equipment wouldn't have done the same damage - or it would be harder to prove that you swapping equipment (especially an ECU) didn't cause that kind of failure.

Re:This would be like (1)

Xiph1980 (944189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711351)

Or Microsoft charging you for havinh OpenOffice.org installed on your windows.

Rightly So (5, Insightful)

cfriedt (1189527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710767)

I do understand German, and this receipt says that the internal software (i.e. firmware) was modified.

Realistically, if someone voids their warranty by modifying the firmware on a device, regardless of whether it was done directly by the user or by the homebrew software, then they should expect to pay to have that repaired.

Why? because it takes time. Usually companies have very specific procedures for quickly re-flashing using their existing boot firmware. However, if that boot firmware is modified (i.e. the device is 'bricked') then that procedure needs to be changed. In this case, the engineer would need to 'hack' their own device to get it up to usable standards again (i.e. 'unbricked').

In the non-wii-world (i.e. reality), people that fix things also need to be paid adequately.

This customer should be happy that their bricked wii was even serviceable and that they weren't forced to cough up an extra 40€ to buy a brand-new Wii for 250€.

Re:Rightly So (5, Interesting)

KanjiMonster (1016616) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710941)

Actually, in Germany you still have warranty even when modifying the device, as long as the defect wasn't caused by the modification. The problem is proving that, and doing an expert testimonial costs easily more than the repair itself. But if it proves that the defect wasn't your fault, then Nintendo has to honor the warranty *and* pay for the testimonial.

Re:Rightly So (2, Insightful)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27713863)

Except in this case the defect IS "My Wii won't boot", and the defect was caused by "installation of hacked/custom software onto the firmware". Fairly simple, it'd seem.

Re:Rightly So (1)

cfriedt (1189527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27714107)

I'm an expert, and it's not very hard to see if somebody has modified the firmware. This is what I do for a living, and I do a pretty good job of it according to my clients.

Re:Rightly So (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711333)

Why? because it takes time. Usually companies have very specific procedures for quickly re-flashing using their existing boot firmware. However, if that boot firmware is modified (i.e. the device is 'bricked') then that procedure needs to be changed. In this case, the engineer would need to 'hack' their own device to get it up to usable standards again (i.e. 'unbricked').

I find it very difficult to believe that Nintendo (along with every other manufacturer of such devices) doesn't have a very straightforward "nuke the site from orbit and reinstall" procedure (if not appliance) that can be completed in a few minutes.

Re:Rightly So (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711665)

BIOS hacks can survive a re-flash [slashdot.org] . Therefore, since they don't know the particulars of this BIOS hack they can't guarantee their standard re-flash procedure will work correctly, assuming their standard procedure is a less-expensive software procedure rather than a more-expensive hardware procedure (remove and replace or nuke the ROM).

Re:Rightly So (2, Informative)

fredklein (532096) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712657)

Um, you do realize the story you linked to involves "a BIOS level malware attack capable of surviving even a hard-disk wipe". This is very different from it surviving a BIOS wipe.

Re:Rightly So (1)

cfriedt (1189527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27714127)

A BIOS is something that exists on a PC. The article you referenced has nothing to do with this article.

Re:Rightly So (1)

cfriedt (1189527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27714247)

They do, of course, have a procedure / appliance for re-flashing using some sort of boundary-scan method (e.g. JTAG, read: slow,inconvenient), but they also have another procedure for reflashing using some sort of bootloader-assisted method (e.g. ethernet, read:fast,convenient). Every second counts.

In any case, the real issue is whether or not it is in Nintendo's best interest to enforce their statuatory warranty. The answer is yes.

Re:Rightly So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711359)

This customer should be happy that their bricked wii was even serviceable and that they weren't forced to cough up an extra 40€ to buy a brand-new Wii for 250€.

Only issue with that is that for 250€ they'd get Wii sports, a remote and a nunchuck. The remote alone costs 40€, so in reality Nintendo is charging the person MORE than the retail price for a brand new Wii, which they already make about 50% profit on if I recall the last time I heard that figure correctly.

I'm not saying that Nintendo should have to replace the system for free, but they're charging more in this case than they would for an out-of-warranty repair. Nobody here would accept Dell charging extra for a new DVD drive just because the user installed Linux when a defective drive bearing was the cause of the problem. Why should Nintendo get any different treatment?

Re:Rightly So (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712419)

Realistically, if someone voids their warranty by modifying the firmware on a device, regardless of whether it was done directly by the user or by the homebrew software, then they should expect to pay to have that repaired.

Why? because it takes time.

That's where you're pathetically mistaken. It takes no more or less time for Nintendo to reload your Wii if you have the HBC installed. Here is the complete procedure they would reasonably have to follow:

  1. If possible, copy from the internal memory anything which should be saved. These items are all located in specified locations, so it's easy to ignore anything that doesn't fit this description.
  2. Load a complete system image, completely overwriting main memory. This will eradicate HBC.
  3. Re-load to the internal memory anything which should be restored. Since this is only "approved" files, they will slide right back onto the unit.

Note that this is the same way cellular telephones are handled. The Wii is just another embedded device. It has some flash in it. You reflash it, and now it doesn't have whatever software was previously on it.

Re:Rightly So (1)

cfriedt (1189527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27714027)

That's where you're pathetically mistaken.

I'm most definitely not mistaken.

First - you are assuming that Nintendo would prefer to use a boundary-scan method such as JTAG to flash the entire ROM (i.e. bootloader, os, and main filesystem) as opposed to single parts of it (i.e. os, main filesystem) using a faster, more sophisticated method such as ethernet. If the bootloader is not damaged, then it's significantly faster to use ethernet (which requires bootloader software) to re-flash the filesystem image. If the bootloader is damaged, then JTAG is usually the only remaining option but JTAG is dramatically slower (this is a well-known fact). If Nintendo is not legally or financially obligated to repair the device, then someone must pay for the time of the employees who facilitate the repair.

Secondly, you're assuming that Nintendo is uninterested in enforcing their own warranty conditions, which is quite naive. Check out the post titled "Is it so hard to understand?". If a warranty is voided by installing unauthorized firmware, then the warranty is, in fact, void. Whether or not the customer informed Nintendo that they had modified the firmware is irrelevant. An experienced engineer can easily examine firmware and detect if was i) a softwarehack or ii) if it was genuinely a very improbable phenomenon that corrupted some bits in the firmware storage device. Statistically, it's the former reason 99.9% of the time. The only other case is a hardware defect, which falls under under warranty, of course.

On the other hand, if Nintendo was aware that they would be required to charge the customer for a repair, in a fully legal sense, they should have a) obtained confirmation that the client would be willing to pay for the repair, or b) sent the unit back to the customer, unrepaired. I find it unlikely that they would not have confirmed the cost of repair with the customer.

People (including you) have to respect that companies are not obligated to repair items that aren't under warranty. Companies do so for two main reasons 1) to increase sales, and 2) out of respect for the environmental regulations. Personally, I am very happy that Nintendo and this customer negotiated a repair, rather than having the console end up in a landfill (assuming that the customer would otherwise not fix the device).

Re:Rightly So (2, Informative)

dark_requiem (806308) | more than 5 years ago | (#27713729)

I've got a few things to cover here. First of all, we're not talking about a "firmware" mod here. HBC is installed as a Wii channel. For those who are unfamiliar with the Wii's architecture, a brief overview. The Wii uses a three-stage loading system. First, it boots from Boot1, which is hard coded in ROM, can never be modified (I think it's contained in the Starlett core, but with wiibrew.org apparently having been /.'d, I can't double-check now). Boot1 then verifies the signature on Boot2, which is contained in NAND, and as such can be updated and modified. Boot2 then proceeds to verify the signature of the installed System Menu, and verifies and loads whichever IOS version the installed System Menu requires. That's the Wii's boot process, and HBC doesn't interfere with it in any way. HBC relies on a bug in various IOS versions to allow HBC to be fakesigned as a legitimate channel to install itself (original IOS and Boot1/2 versions checked signatures using a strcmp() function which terminated successfully after reading a null byte, so a faked sig just needs to start with a null byte). HBC itself is essentially brick-proof. These guys went out of their way to make sure HBC doesn't brick any Wiis. Now, you can use HBC to load less stable code which could potentially brick your Wii. It's stored in NAND just like any other installable channel, and simply does not take part in the boot process (of course, Team Tweezers' Boot2 replacement, BootMii, will change all that, but that's another mod for another time)

So, Nintendo saying that installing HBC makes for a costlier repair would be a bit like Dell saying it needed to charge more for repairs because a bittorrent client was installed. It doesn't make any sense, since they generally have to blank the NAND before sending it back anyway. Plus, as one of the commenters on the hackmii page pointed out, this creates a stupid situation where a physically damaged out of warranty Wii is actually less expensive to repair than a softmoded Wii. So, if you have a modded Wii go bad, your best option is to destroy the NAND chip to the point of unreadability and send it back, and pay for a normal OoW repair instead of a more expensive repair.

Re:Rightly So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27714499)

Yes, but [professional] labour is billed at 100$ an hour, even if the person is only making 20. So if Someone installed something via HBC that corrupted the NAND memory or wore it out, then Nintendo can very well charge you the equivalent of replacing the motherboard, flash chips and all. The warranty period is likely only 1 year, flash memory shouldn't wear out in that time period.

I'd think their diagnostic procedure works like:
- Copy contents of NAND to backup
- Reflash to current Nintendo Authorized operating sysetm
- Compare backup channels to authorized versions, copy channels and save games back to Wii NAND that have the correct checksum
- Bill customer for time taken.

I've worked in a PC shop before, it's 120$/hr to do the above, except replace NAND with hard drive, and Nintendo Operating system with Windows XP. We don't reinstall any software unless the client wants us to, and that's billed at 120$/hr. Most people just reinstall stuff themselves, and we give them a dvd with a backup of their stuff before the system was wiped.

Techs that are less professional might snoop through their my documents looking for illegal materials and call the cops, but the average tech couldn't really care what's on the hard drive unless the person identified themselves as a lawyer or doctor in which the data is "highly sensitive" and must be recovered at any cost.

So I don't believe Nintendo actively looks for HBC, but rather if it's discovered and the problem was the NAND flash, the client should have the motherboard replaced, or the wii replaced with a refurb. Nintendo shouldn't have to pay out of pocket for something the user of the system did.

So that Wii sent in goes in the trash bin, and someone has to pay for it.

Is it so hard to understand? (4, Interesting)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710823)

The warranty states that you cannot modify the system yourself either by opening up the console or installing custom firmware. By not following these conditions you're voiding agreed conditions. It's not illegal or immoral (gotta love the irony of accusing Nintendo of that in this case), you go against the contracted conditions, the contract is void.

If firmware has been modified they may not be able to use the utilities they have to detect faults or may not be able restore it as easily. It could take extra time and require extra effort.

It's hard enough giving support to customers when you know the software on their systems, let alone when they've got a modification which could be doing god knows what.

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (3, Informative)

Renraku (518261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710855)

As someone posted somewhere above, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act covers this kind of thing.

If you brick your system due to failed modification, you're damn right Nintendo can charge you a repair fee. The fee, however, cannot be anymore than they'd normally charge to repair a firmware-dead system.

The MMWA was created because car companies once got together and decided that if you so much as stick a decal on your car that they didn't specifically approve, your warranty was 100% null and void. It does allow for exceptions, however, like if you shot some nitrous through your engine and blew it up. That's not their problem. Refusing to cover bad workmanship that destroyed your engine because you tinted your windows isn't allowed.

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (0, Flamebait)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711001)

And tell me, just what part of UNITED STATES LAW has any power in GERMANY, or are you so blinded with rage that you failed to read and comprehend the summary or the article?

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (2, Informative)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711537)

And tell me, just what part of "DOESN'T EUROPE HAVE THE EQUIVALENT OF THE MAGNUSON MOSS WARRANTY ACT?" makes you think someone should not post a REPLY describing that Act, or are you so blinded with rage that you failed to read and comprehend the line of discussion that began with that very question?

--
Interested in Deep Water Culture hydroponics? Just ask Khyber!

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711655)

And tell me, just what part of UNITED STATES LAW has any power in GERMANY, or are you so blinded with rage that you failed to read and comprehend the summary or the article?

Actually, given treaty agreements and the international nature of many companies a lot of US law could have power in Germany. Whether that is right or wrong is another story.

Of course, the OP asked in BRD had a law similar to the MMWA; not that it applied in BRD.

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (4, Informative)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711067)

Except that's not true (even if the act did apply in Germany):

One condition of a full warranty under that act:

"may not exclude or limit consequential damages for a breach of any written or implied warranty on the product, unless the exclusion or limitation conspicuously appears on the face of the warranty"

And in very prominent text on the standard Nintendo Hardware warranty (their caps, not mine):

"THIS WARRANTY SHALL NOT APPLY IF THIS PRODUCT: (a) IS USED WITH PRODUCTS NOT SOLD OR LICENSED BY NINTENDO (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NON-LICENSED GAME ENHANCEMENT AND COPIER DEVICES, ADAPTERS, AND POWER SUPPLIES); (b) IS USED FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES (INCLUDING RENTAL); (c) IS MODIFIED OR TAMPERED WITH; (d) IS DAMAGED BY NEGLIGENCE, ACCIDENT, UNREASONABLE USE, OR BY OTHER CAUSES UNRELATED TO DEFECTIVE MATERIALS OR WORKMANSHIP; OR (e) HAS HAD THE SERIAL NUMBER ALTERED, DEFACED OR REMOVED."

That condition stands out clearly on the warranty ( http://www.nintendo.com/consumer/manuals/warrantytext_eng.jsp [nintendo.com] ) which itself is fairly short and easy to understand.

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (1)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711121)

Except that's not true (even if the act did apply in Germany):

Don't forget the "as limited by applicable law" clause in the warranty (there will be one somewhere). Consumer protection laws such as those being discussed limit the extent to which companies can disclaim warranty.

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711165)

Germany, like the rest of the EU, has a notion of a statutory warranty. For electronic goods, I believe this is one year from the date of purchase. The manufacturer may not offer a warranty with a period shorter than this. If the user has damaged the device, then the warranty will not cover it, but if they have made unrelated after-market additions then even if the explicit warranty does not apply, the statutory one will.

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712445)

One condition of a full warranty under that act:

It doesn't matter what conditions you can slip into the warranty under the act, because the act also expressly forbids refusing warranty protection if someone uses a compatible replacement part or consumable (e.g. motor oil.)

Trying to make a car analogy here is even more futile than usual because we're talking about software service. If you reprogram your car and it doesn't run right you might well do actual damage to your engine. If you reprogram your Wii and it doesn't work right, they reflash it and no harm is done (unless the software's been abusing the optical drive or something. Don't play DVDs on your Wii.)

I have the HBC installed, if Nintendo tries to pull this shit on me (Hopefully my Wii won't need any service... heh heh) then I will definitely consider a lawsuit. Why not? It'll cost them more than it'll cost me.

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (1)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715193)

>It doesn't matter what conditions you can slip into the warranty under the act, because the act also expressly forbids refusing warranty protection if someone uses a compatible replacement part or consumable (e.g. motor oil.)

Exactly, and the home-brew channel is neither a replacement part or a needed "consumable" like motor oil or gasoline. It modifies the software of the Nintendo in the same way an aftermarket chip modifies an engine computer.

Guess what? In either case, modding your car or modding your Wii, you've just voided your warranty. The M&M Act does NOT cover such aftermarket modifications. It was designed to prevent vertical integration and consumer lock-in, not to protect tinkerers.

Good luck with the lawsuit, I guarantee you're going to lose under the current laws.

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712695)

The provision you quote is invalid in the United States, even though explicity stated:

15 USC 2302 (c) No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the Commission if--

I'm pretty sure the FTC has not waived that prohibition for Nintendo.

Since we in the US are so often being rhetorically beaten about the head and shoulders about how much better consumer protection law is in Europe, you'd think there'd be a similar law there...

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (1)

Briareos (21163) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711123)

As someone posted somewhere above, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act covers this kind of thing.

If you brick your system due to failed modification, you're damn right Nintendo can charge you a repair fee. The fee, however, cannot be anymore than they'd normally charge to repair a firmware-dead system.

So a US federal law relates to a warranty case in Germany exactly how?

np: DOOM - More Rhymin' ft. Kurious (Born Like This)

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710859)

The warranty can say I have to give them a herd of unicorns if I fart while playing the machine, but that doesn't mean it's legal or binding.

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (2, Insightful)

tacarat (696339) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710871)

I always thought part of the fun with these kinds of modifications was that you COULD brick it. Nerd danger, yah? While the validity of the letter is in doubt, I would say that if you really want to have Nintendo fix your warranty breaking experiments, you should ask for what their repair costs are before you start, not after. At least then you'd know to save for a 2nd Wii or whatever first.

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710873)

Wait a minute. You mean changing the motherboard and hard drive on my Dell system voided the warranty??? In what twisted world does that make sense? I'm guessing the water cooling system and overclocking is going to annoy them as well? They really need to post these conditions in bigger print on the box so people that don't read user agreements will know what voids warranties.

Re:Is it so hard to understand? (1)

cfriedt (1189527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27714047)

Agreed!!

A note to all of those kids at home:

If you can't fix it yourself, then be prepared to pay for a repair service when you void the warranty on something :)

I am rather attatched to my Wii.... (2, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710841)

Bricked your Wii?

I would not take bricks to my Wii. It's too painful to even contemplate!

Take bricks to your own Wii...out of my sight!

Engineeering Is Pure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27710967)

Engineering is pure because we seek a truth. There is only one answer. Business is corrupt. They seek themselves in money. Simplicity is beauty. That is your engineer's answer.

" but they have no (moral) right to gouge" (4, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711397)

Anyone has the right to charge whatever price they want for any product or service they are selling. If you don't like it, don't pay it. It's as simple as that.

Yeah, I know you'll mod me down for this, it seems to happen every time I point out an utterly obvious truth.

Re:" but they have no (moral) right to gouge" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711523)

At the price, Nintendo is charging, you'd be an idiot to pay for the repair - they charge almost the retail price of a new device. Importing a brand new Wii from the UK is cheaper than that.

Re:" but they have no (moral) right to gouge" (1)

Blublu (647618) | more than 5 years ago | (#27714927)

Why would you import a PAL Wii to anywhere? That's retarded.

Re:" but they have no (moral) right to gouge" (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711683)

Anyone has the right to charge whatever price they want for any product or service they are selling. If you don't like it, don't pay it. It's as simple as that.

Yeah, I know you'll mod me down for this, it seems to happen every time I point out an utterly obvious truth.

Welcome to /., where the concepts of economics are as rarely understood, or proper;y applied, as a date.

Re:" but they have no (moral) right to gouge" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27715719)

No. Anyone has the *LEGAL* right to charge whatever they want for whatever they're selling. (Generally, of course; I'm ignoring details of price fixing laws and that kind of thing.)

However, stop confusing legal rights with moral rights. Say it with me now: Just because it is legal does not mean it is right. If you think that it's ok to do anything you want as long as the law says you can, well, congratulations, you are the same as the kind of people responsible for the current economic mess. Even if nothing they did was illegal, it was sure as shit not *right* for them to screw almost everyone else in the world for their own personal gain. We have a word for that: sociopath. Not all sociopaths break the law, but that does not mean they are not sociopaths.

For crying out loud, the gp poster even explicitly said "moral" right! Laws are not morals!

Re:" but they have no (moral) right to gouge" (1)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 5 years ago | (#27718275)

I know I'll get modded down for this, but saying "Yeah, I know you'll mod me down for this," pretty much guarantees you'll get modded up.

I have to ask (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711457)

This kind of sucks and all, but how the hell do you even brick your Wii installing Homebrew? Are there any actual cases of this happening or do most of the mod makers say it is possible and all that just to CYA? I mean seriously, I've done this a few times and I have to say...it's pretty well idiot proof unless I guess...your Wii gets powered off in the middle of something?

Doing it on my XBOX back when was a little scarier but the Wii mods seem like child's play to be quite honest.

I guess I'm just wondering how common this actually is and how screwed people are getting with their Wii's bricking for one reason or another and Nintendo finding the Homebrew channel on there and charging them. Then again, I can't really think of many reasons why your Wii would get bricked in the first place. :p

Re:I have to ask (2, Informative)

dark_requiem (806308) | more than 5 years ago | (#27713809)

Bricking a Wii with homebrew is easy. Very easy. Bricking a Wii with the Homebrew Channel, alone and unaided is, so far as I have seen, impossible. HBC doesn't brick Wiis, but it allows you to run code that potentially could. There's homebrew code designed to change your Wii's region, there's code designed to allow you to download and install specific updates and packages from Nintendo's servers, and the checking is on the user. You decide to patch your NTSC Wii with PAL updates, you could brick it. Screw up a region swap (the Wiis of each region differ solely on software, the hardware is identical, with the notable exception of Korean Wiis), you could brick it. Plenty of ways to do it. There's been a bit of a "scene war" between Tweezers (the guys who brought you HBC and the Twilight Princess hack) and Waninkoko (although honestly, most of the friction seems to come from Marcan and Waninkoko). Basically, Waninkoko releases an app for the Wii that allows you to do some cool things, but in doing so, makes a brick a much more likely possibility. Tweezers points this out, and gets really mad that he's using their work as a basis for his, and it's a constant childish back-and-forth between them. But the general consensus is, Waninkoko's apps run a higher risk of bricks. It boils down to, do you really know what you're doing?

Doesn't seem unreasonable (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712327)

Since Nintendo cannot reasonably be expected to evaluate whether a mod is a source of problems, a repair will necessarily involve restoring the system to its stock status. It is not unreasonable for there to be an extra charge for this extra work.

I don't wii (-1, Troll)

yavrusinek (1540929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712803)

nintendo never had any use. I do not know how it feels.
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