HackMii

Notes from inside your Wii

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The scope of Homebrew Channel

August 19th, 2010 by mha · 37 Comments

We have always known that HBC is widely used. We’ve had some idea of how many downloads have been completed, and by sorting on unique IPs we could get an idea of the overall distribution.

Update: As promised. As of 2010-08-31 we have 266440 unique installations. System Menu 4.3 is catching up to 4.1 in the USA. 4.2 is still by far most popular.

Update 2: Comments closed for article. Too much OT/Other. For further discussion, start a thread in the forums. As of 2010-09-13 we have 339170 installations! 71% of all installs use 1.0.8.

Update 3: As of 2010-11-05 we had 593658 unique installations!

Since the release of HBC 1.0.7 (also covering 1.0.8) we have added anonymous usage statistics via your HBC’s User Agent header field. This allows us to more accurately see how many active Homebrew Channel installations exist in the wild. We would like to share these statistics with you.

To calm any potential fears from our users it’s important to note that we cannot use this information to track:

  • Who you are
  • What software you have installed (beyond the HBC and System Menu versions)
  • Any kind of software / hardware modifications done
  • … and so forth.

If you have any outstanding opinions about this, comment on this article.

During the first 24 days after the launch of the new hackmii installer we have counted 192708 unique installations! The number is probably slightly higher, as some Wiis are not configured to connect to the Internet.

Click the thumbnails below to enlarge the graphs.

Unique installations per day (in 1000s) for HBC 1.0.7 and 1.0.8:

Unique HBC installations per day

We see a higher installation pace of HBC 1.0.8 than 1.0.7 on release.

Total installations per region:

Where you are (according to GeoIP):

HBC Installations per Country

Unsurprisingly, USA, France, Germany, Spain, and Great Britan dominate the list. So we have assembled another graph showing HBC installations per capita for the top 20 countries. We would like to do the same graph based on Wii sales per country, but we have not found good a good source for those statistics. If you know where to find those stats, please comment!

We find that most people still use System Menu 4.2, followed by 4.1 in all regions:

Looking at the same statistics for 1.0.8 alone we see about the same version distribution. Which means that people do not tend to upgrade to 4.3 in order to gain USB2 functionality — yet. This of course not counting users using other means of getting IOS58 such as Tantric’s IOS58 Installer.

Some other interesting statistics:

  • Less than 6% of our HBC users have performed any kind of system change after installing HBC (System Menu update or Region sex change of their console).
  • About 10% use System Menu 4.3 across all regions.
  • We average 2.5 served requests per second from all Wiis checking for HBC updates. This means that 2.5 people boot up HBC while connected to the internet every second.
  • Currently we’re serving a new unique HBC installation about every 14th second.

As the rate of new installations starts to decline I will update this post with more accurate statistics on the total size of the HBC userbase.

Finally a quick warning about the use of some region change tools: We have noticed that the use of region sex change tools on your console can in some cases set the region too literally.

We have only seen 4 valid region/area combinations set by Nintendo (even if you change your Area in System Menu Settings): EU-EUR, US-USA, JP-JAP, and KR-KOR. The first part is the actual console region, and the 2nd part is supposed to define the area you reside in. Nintendo has defined all the areas / countries, but they are apparently unused. Except when you use a region change tool.

For instance, if you’re located in Australia your region might end up as EU-AUS. We have seen some impossible regions such as US-EUR, EU-JPN, EU-USA, etc.

This is not a big issue, but you should be aware that Nintendo might detect this if you use any of their public services such as the Wii Shop Channel. We are currently unaware of any actions taken based on this.

Tags: Wii

37 responses so far ↓

  • 1 SifJar // Aug 19, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Very interesting read. Who doesn’t love a few graphs :P ?

  • 2 Wiill // Aug 19, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Surprised @ how many people use 4.3 (maybe just for the IOS58) I’m still on 3.2U and have no problems. :D

  • 3 DacoTaco // Aug 19, 2010 at 7:39 am

    holy crap

    thats alot of downloads/version checks! O_O;

    thats very impressive o.o

  • 4 t00flip // Aug 19, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I’m still on 4.1. I don’t really see any purpose to upgrade to 4.2 or 4.3 as it doesn’t add any functionality, throws some sort of risk that the update may try to uninstall some of my homebrew / bootmii, and it doesn’t add any functionality. I just used tantric’s IOS58 installer and have no plans to upgrade my system menu until Nintendo actually adds some user functionality to an update.

    Question: Doesn’t upgrading past 4.1 remove your ability to access boot2, thus removing bootmii/boot2?

  • 5 mha // Aug 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    @t00lflip:
    4.2 came with an updated boot2(v4) which will (correctly) overwrite bootmii. However your ability to re-install bootmii will not disappear from updating your firmware. The ability to use bootmii as a standin replacement for boot2 is due to the signature check code embedded in your Wii itself.

    I would imagine that the most appealing reason for updating your Wii firmware for most users are new games. It is after all a gaming console, and I believe that most homebrew users occasionally use it as such. :)

  • 6 t00flip // Aug 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I use it as such as well. But I don’t know of any games that require me to update the system menu in order to play them. Are there? I know that some games check to see if you have a certain IOS installed and don’t let you play if you don’t, but I think you can install those IOS’s without actually updating your system menu, right?

  • 7 winmaster // Aug 19, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    @t00flip

    Yes, the system menu is not running when games are, so games can run with any system menu version as long as the IOS they use is present.

  • 8 KingLewy // Aug 20, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Cool stats. I have 4.3. I updated so that I could access the Shop Channel. I use my Wii predominantly the way it was intended; for playing games (legit games, I might add). The only thing I’ve done to it is install BootMii and HBC. Bought in England, stayed as is.

  • 9 SolidMario7 // Aug 20, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Nice stats. I also have 4.3 . I updated just because I could. And this was before HBC 1.0.7. I was fairly safe because I did it with a wad and had a hack.ini in my wii. Now back to the graphs. I’m not surprised that most of the numbers are PAL wiis. But its very interesting that most users are in the US. Lots of region changers eh?

  • 10 Juanmatron // Aug 20, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    We know people install HBC only to use that shit we know as cIOS-crap and USB Loader ¬¬.

    Anyways. Interesting graphs.

  • 11 Hypershell // Aug 20, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    No issues with anonymous info. It’s not like a PC where you have a zillion unchecked processes in the background, so it’s no biggie.

    I got 4.3 because I wanted access to the Shop Channel (didn’t get to buy Mario Tennis before the update). Don’t have any USB peripherals other than the Wii Speak mic, but it’s good to know that I’m prepped just in case

  • 12 WiiBricker // Aug 22, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Very interesting, thanks for the statisics though I think that there are over a million homebrew enabled Wiis out there.

  • 13 nissen22 // Aug 25, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    can you make a blog post about dsi link? i just read over at dsibrew that dsi has gotten an working exploit now, created by WinterMute :D

  • 14 bezem // Aug 31, 2010 at 11:05 am

    just a quick comment, I had asked on the bugs.hackmii.com page if it was possible to integrate tinyload into bootmii. I understand that it isn’t going to happen, as sven informed me when he closed and deleted the ticket, but I’m simply curious if it is possible. I know the assumption is I’m a warez-monkey and that’s why my request wasn’t taken seriously but I was curious if it could be done for ease in launching other region’s titles. Since it was marcan’s program I thought there was no harm in asking. Anyway, thanks for the great work on bootmii, hbc, etc.

  • 15 BenM // Aug 31, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    You say this post is to calm any potential fears from your users, yet you fail to directly state that you ARE collecting Unique Wii IDs. [...] LOL.

    Also, when you state the various things that your statistics can’t be used for, aren’t you being disingenuous at best? [...]

    In Marcan’s [...], he complained about a couple of things that hypocritically [...]

    Speculating. As I said, people were speculating about what TT may do, such as white/blacklisting apps. Apparently anyone doing so is a ‘tinfoil hatter’, according to Marcan, and the staff over at gbatemp referred to any speculating as ‘conspiratorial crap’ [...]

    And while I’m sure you’ll sit there and say you’d never hand over the statistics you collect to Nintendo, including each owners Unique ID [...]. You certainly didn’t think she was going to stalk you down and commit some heinous act, did you? [...] And you’ve given us your ‘word’, eh?

    Marcan also complained about app devs. not fully explaining the benefits and risks of their apps, yet nowhere in the documentation for the HBC do I see you stating that Nintendo WILL void a warranty if they find your app installed.

    Isn’t that just a tad bit hypocritical, to say the least? [...]

    [...]

    [...]

    This despite a recent reported conversation with a Nintendo rep that said they are doing exactly this and even without this information, I think it’s quite clear by now that Nintendo does IN FACT care. Really.

    [...]

    LOL. Again, anyone daring to speculate what TT might do over at gbatemp [...]

    At this point, I think it’s fair to say that not everything TT says or does is 100% infallible [...]

    Another few points to make that clear. The README.txt contains the claim that:

    “We have made our best effort to ensure its safety and to honestly explain the risks involved, but the decision (and responsibility) is ultimately up to you.”

    If you haven’t informed the users that installation of your apps voids their warranty, then the above is another lie, given that you are clearly aware of this as evidenced by another one of your own entries here at hackmii.com.

    In addition to the above, the README-HBC.txt states:

    “You may uninstall the channel as you would any other channel, by using the Data Management screen of the Wii Menu.

    [...]

    Well I think it’s perfectly clear by now that a need has arisen for a more thorough uninstaller application, and the evidence for this is over a year old, again as noted by yourself in your own entry of 4.23.09. Yet this hasn’t happened yet? Why? Did you lie about your ‘plans’? [...]

    There are also plenty of other questions around such as when the source code will be released and whether music will be added. TT has said they would do both at some point, but that hasn’t happened yet, despite the questions being over 2 years old. [...]

    I really got a chuckle over Marcan [...] whiny post.

    (Updated: Removed fill space / OT)

  • 16 mha // Sep 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    @BenM: Congrats on the longest post ever(?) on hackmii :)

    Thought I’d clarify a few pointers in your text.

    > you fail to directly state that you ARE collecting
    > Unique Wii IDs

    False and false. It was stated in the HackMii post of the 0.7 release (“unique to each Wii”). And the “collecting” quantifies as far as reading web access logs.

    > never get the courts to compel you to hand
    > over these statistics

    Again, the form of the statistics are web logs. Think that a more likely (however unlikely) scenario would be a raid on the servers confiscating the servers they are hosted on. The hard drives are of course fully encrypted.

    > hand them over voluntarily for one reason or
    > another

    If we wanted to be evil, wouldn’t we just fsck the users over by making HBC reporting directly to Nintendo? We have had many of ways to be evil. In the end it is of course up to the end user to decide whom to trust when installing software on your device.

    > you could certainly add the ability to do so in
    > any future versions

    I believe that if we would start to pour out additional information without notification people would quite quickly discover it and publish these findings.

    So a tip for you; wait a few days before upgrading after each release. :)

    > could possibly be done in the future, for any
    > reason

    This is unrelated to your concerns of parsing our access logs to generate a graph. This is something anyone can do to you if you install their software.

    > You speculated and informed your users that
    > Nintendo would not likely void their
    > warranties. YOU WERE WRONG.

    It’s always an associated risk installing anything unauthorized on a console. It is TT’s job to take 100% responsibility for the outcome for the end user choosing to do a software modification? I think that TT’s software in that aspect has provided far better circumstances for the end user than a lot of other software.

    > And while I’m sure you’ll sit there and say you’d
    > never hand over the statistics you collect to
    > Nintendo, including each owners Unique ID

    The logs are useless for Ninty as concrete evidence that a Wii has been software modified. The sole fact of this is because they cannot know if the logs are contaminating, accidentally accusing someone innocent. Either by us. Or some user rewriting their Console ID.

    > I think it’s fair to say that not everything TT
    > says or does is 100% infallible or even 100%
    > honest, and therefore there is absolutely no
    > reason to have 100% blind faith in TT

    In the end users should decide for themselves whom they want to trust. And how to verify this trust.

    > If you haven’t informed the users that
    > installation of your apps voids their warranty,
    > then the above is another lie

    This is not a technical aspect of HBC’s affect on your console. This is a decision from a company.

    > Did you lie about your ‘plans’? How can you
    > assure anyone you won’t lie again?

    Plans and goals are one thing. Time invested in a free project is another. I don’t see your argument that TT should be held accountable fixing all aspects of future problems as a main priority to keep you happy. You should perhaps not use HBC.

  • 17 MatisyahuSerious // Sep 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    >Apparently anyone doing so is a ‘tinfoil hatter’, >according to Marcan, and the staff over at >gbatemp referred to any speculating as >‘conspiratorial crap’, and actually resorted to >banning at least one person for posting >anything of the sort.

    with all due respect, if someone got banned over that, he was probably a royal douche, dont ya think?

  • 18 wiisixtyfour // Sep 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    @BenM
    It has been stated many many times that installing the HBC and such /does/ void the warranty. The FAQ you’re talking about is dated and really people are just stupid if they think Nintendo will just fix modified Wii’s.

    “Well I think it’s perfectly clear by now that a need has arisen for a more thorough uninstaller application”

    The HackMii Installer completely uninstalls the HBC. The only thing left is the Wii’s Play Log which can’t be modified. You can always format your system memory to remove all traces.

  • 19 HIMFan // Sep 1, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    @BenM

    Even when I was fresh in the Wii softmodding stuff and they said it wouldn’t void a Warranty, I was well aware of what the EULA stated. I softmodded my Wii anyhow. I’m flattered that you’d try to defend the common person such as myself, but in all fairness I don’t need you talking about me in poor fashion. I’m offended you’d think that EVERYONE was so dense that they’d believe TT over an official Nintendo EULA.

  • 20 BenM // Sep 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Although I thought it would be pretty evident, the context of my post is in reply to Marcan’s [...] posts at gbatemp in the thread “HBC 1.0.8 Update”. [...]

    @HIMFan

    First, see above. Second, yes, I agree with your sentiments. Now perhaps you’ll go tell Marcan/TT the very same thing. [...]

    Also, just as you were well aware of what the EULA, so too do I suspect TT was/is. [...] It doesn’t matter if they’ve stated other places all over the web that installing HBC will void your warranty, because they aren’t directing users to any of those other places, are they?

    A few points here. [...] Marcan apparently doesn’t feel this way and in my book, at the very least, that makes him a hypocrite.

    [...]

    It’s interesting that you’re offended with me for suggesting that TT should correct their incorrect speculation[...]. But it is refreshing that you’d imply TT themselves were/are ‘so dense’ as to believe what they were/are saying regarding the warranty issue. I concur.

    @wiisixtyfour

    See above. Where exactly has it ‘been stated many many times that installing the HBC and such /does/ void the warranty’? [...] Should the same reasoning be used to remove the completely false (and in reality, much more harmful to the ‘idiot noobs’) information in the FAQ? To anyone being objective, of course it should.

    As for your comment about “people are just stupid if they think Nintendo will just fix modified Wii’s.” you do realize that this is applicable to TT right? I thought you were here to defend them, not defame them? LOL.

    @mha

    Thanks for allowing it through. Was beginning to think you weren’t. :)

    Well if your point of this post was to quell fears, as you say, then complete transparency is called for here. Not the need to read the entire site to sniff out various facts not included here.

    While Marcan [...]. While, on the surface, your 1 post at gbatemp explaining how secure your servers are on which the statistics are stored, [...]. Or heck. Any information of any value at all” only further begs the question of what exactly are you collecting that DOES fit that description? [...] you (and others like Marcan) make up all sorts of excuses as to why you can’t secure or encrypt our Unique IDs before they reach you. [...]

    With regards to the whole ‘framing’ aspect of your statistics, that’s a bit ridiculous. How would you get someone’s Unique IP and an associated IP address for the time period it was logged? [...]

    As for me expecting TT to live up to everything they’ve said they would do, I don’t. That was one of the main points I was attempting to make. Just because TT says they will or won’t do something, that doesn’t mean they won’t or will [...]

    BTW, when will bushing be along to explain what it was about a lawyer from Nintendo sniffing out his work phone and then using it to call him, that so horrified him? [...]

    (Updated: Removed fill space / OT)

  • 21 HIMFan // Sep 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    @ BenM

    You don’t get to speak for anyone but yourself. Hands down. You can have your little coalitition of words, but they’re just that, YOUR words. Even more so, if you have a problem with marcan, keep it in personal messages. If he dismisses you, he’s being the bigger man and realizing you aren’t going to change your mind. Which means you should follow in the same right. Whatever path you choose, keep it quiet. I come here to see things about The Homebrew Channel. Not someone stating the obvious and bringing quarrels from elsewhere into this peaceful realm. I don’t care how calm and articulate you’re being, most people can still smell your cynicism and one-sidedness and we don’t care for it. Obviously marcan isn’t replying. He obviously knows something you don’t, or again is the bigger man.

  • 22 wiisixtyfour // Sep 3, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    @BenM

    If you go on the WiiBrew forums and search “warranty” there are posts going back at least a year where users have asked if homebrew voids the warranty and the answer has been yes. The thing is, back then you could hide (delete) the HBC and Nintendo would not check and would repair the Wiis. Nowadays they have stricter checks and they will find it if it’s there. (You can still hide it but it is more difficult now.) The question is not if the HBC voids the warranty (it always has), the question is if Nintendo can find it or not. You are correct in saying that the readme’s included with the HackMii Installer don’t say anything about warranties being voided but that does not mean that they are implying that it will not be voided.
    “people are just stupid if they think Nintendo will just fix modified Wii’s.”
    What I meant was that, like above, it’s a given that the warranty is voided when installing unauthorized software, but Nintendo must look for it. It’s pretty simple in most cases to remove the HBC well enough so that Nintendo won’t know. It also used to be that if they did find it they would remove it (with user’s permission of course) and fix the Wii anyways (for the regular cost without warranty), but now they will not repair it. That is their choice so I don’t see how that makes Team Twiizers the bad guys here.

  • 23 BenM // Sep 3, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    @HIMFan

    Where exactly am I speaking for anyone other than myself?

    Can we just tag you the sycophant so typical of gbatemp?

    Did Marcan keep his problems in personal messages? [...]

    And he didn’t ‘dismiss’ me. [...]

    @wiisixtyfour

    I don’t care about the forums ([...]). I’m sure you could go find plenty of forum posts regarding ‘cioscrap’ [...]

    Regarding the whole warranty issue, it’s again all related to Marcan’s whiny and hypocritical posts over at gbatemp, where he says one of the things that bothers TT is when app dev. [...]

    [...]

    @HIMFan

    Sorry, just to add, read that last sentence above. [...]

    Also, just have to add, it’s quite hypocritical of YOU to suggest that I don’t speak for everyone [...] LOL.

    (Updated: Removed fill space / OT)

  • 24 dhewg // Sep 4, 2010 at 1:54 am

    BenM:
    1) tl;dr
    2) shoot marcan an email instead of rambling here. noone cares
    3) I hereby revoke your rights to use HBC
    4) go away

  • 25 BenM // Sep 5, 2010 at 11:39 am

    dwehg:
    1) Excellent excuse for avoidance of the points/facts made not to mention the ‘outstanding opinions’ solicited in the original post.

    2) [...]

    If by ‘noone’ you simply mean yourself, then great, ignore it.

    [...]

    Or if by ‘noone’ you mean everyone, that’s just your arrogant tendencies getting the best of you again, unless of course everyone has actually appointed you as their representative.

    3) Sure thing.

    4) [...] which you dislike, disagree with or simply ‘don’t care’ about, you could try to exercise some self-control and not visit these comments again, or if you do, simply ignore my comments [...]

    (Updated: Removed fill space / OT)

  • 26 mha // Sep 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    @BenM

    Keep your comments, replies & input as short and concise as possible. Few smaller exceptions are usually tolerated, but in general comments not related to the article itself is OT and subject for moderation.

    Very few people enjoy reading novels in the comments here. If you want to start a longer discussion on a *specific* subject, use http://forum.wiibrew.org

  • 27 mtu // Sep 6, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Quoting BenM:

    > blahblahblahblaaaahblaaaahblahblahblah BLAAAAAH.

    dude, you’re writing so much I can’t even be bothered with reading it. STFU! if you don’t like it, GO AWAY. seriously.

    P.S: and consider checking ICD-10 for R46.7

  • 28 Kage52124 // Sep 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Wow, that’s something quite buried away for the ICD, never used it before…as far as I’m aware, psychiatrists and psychologists in North America don’t use it; they use DSM IV…

    Anyway, no reason to relate him to mental disorder, is there?

  • 29 mtu // Sep 7, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Kage52124: mental disorders are in section F of the ICD, R is more of the “we don’t know what the fuck is going on with you, but it looks like:” variant.

    From my point of view he’s yapping a lot without letting us know what his _actual_ problem is. I could suggest some, but THOSE would be rude ;)

  • 30 Kage52124 // Sep 7, 2010 at 7:51 am

    @ mtu:

    Thanks a bunch, I now feel a little more cosmopolitan. I love being informed.

    @ everyone:

    I apologize if this is the wrong place for this, but Arikado’s blog mentions Bushing as working on the PS3 homebrew. Any chance of a central, piracy-free Wiki in the future for the PS3; a Team Twizzers for the PS3?

  • 31 bezem // Sep 7, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    @kage52124 – I tired ps3brew.org and it worked; don’t know if that is the official Team Twiizers place for PS3 homebrew but it seems a good start

    @BenM – If you haven’t already, please drop dead

  • 32 BenM // Sep 8, 2010 at 8:07 am

    @mha

    Point taken. [...] And I’m laughing now too.

    Perhaps I will take it to the forums as you suggest. [...] Have a nice day. :)

    (Updated: Removed fill space / OT)

  • 33 eleventy4 // Sep 8, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I do loves me some graphs. Geek-out moments galore on this end. I also can’t wait to see your synopsis of the apparent 4.3.1 update that was just issued. Those effers…

  • 34 mha // Sep 9, 2010 at 1:22 am

    @BenM

    I cannot reasonably argue that you like apples. But for some reason you seem to think to argue the fact that I like pears.

    What you are expressing are many opinions & thoughts. They just don’t happen to be shared by seemingly a lot of others.

    @eleventy4

    Don’t think we’ll see any changes in sysmenu identification, as the system menu itself wasn’t updated.

  • 35 Sephiroth // Sep 9, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    i actually took my time to read through all the “BenM” comments here and I am pretty surprised…seems like you do ask for outstanding opinions but once you get them (BenM`s comments) you’re pissed off? I mean mha at least tried to respond in a reasonable way but why is everybody else bashing him THIS hard? he just criticised team twiizers in a way and he also gave some pretty detailed arguments for his criticism, so really there is zero reason to get rude or mad about…and if he is wrong at some point why not just tell him that with good arguments? at least i think he deserves this after all the thoughts he went through ^^

  • 36 mha // Sep 10, 2010 at 2:22 am

    @Sephiroth

    I am unsure if you read the comments before or after we decided to shorten down the thread length and replacing some very irrelevant parts with “[...]” (This was after warning him about OT posts & moderation). If after; You got an easy and very polite version. If before; Wow. You did really spend some time!

    I think that what irritated people here the most was not that someone disliked the logging. But rather the form of expression and repetition combined with an enormous post length. Also containing other imo OT topics (such as personal attacks on Marcan, personal opinion on how TT didn’t deliver full information about softmod warranty, wether HBC should be released as FOSS, etc, etc…).

    We don’t have space/time/motivation to argue in novels here. That’s why I referred to the forums as an alternative space for doing so and discussing all OT content.

  • 37 MatisyahuSerious // Sep 10, 2010 at 11:17 am

    @mha

    “I think that what irritated people here the most”

    i think what irritated me the most was that he used the word ‘speculate’ 30 times in his posts.

    25 i can see, but 30? ridiculous.