Notes from inside your Wii

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The future of SaveMii

September 29th, 2008 by bushing · 26 Comments

The SaveMii launch has been pretty hectic, and we’ve even gotten some large volume requests from resellers. We’re flattered to get these requests, but at the rate we’re going, it’d probably take us a week of work in the kitchen to fill just one of those requests (let alone the individual sales we’re making on SaveMii.net!).

SaveMii is something that neither marcan nor I plan on living on. Both of us have Real Lives™, and we can’t afford to worry about this project for any kind of significant fraction of them. We’ve spent a lot of time on it, and we’re just trying to put a useful product out there at a fair price. (Of course, it’d be nice to get a little return on our investments and also get some cash for future hacking!) We’re investigating a small-scale Chinese factory production run, but this is something that’s hard to do because we don’t know what future demand will be like, and we’re already hearing rumors of multiple people planning to clone it.

SaveMii took a lot of reverse-engineering work to make, but compared to modern FPGA-based drivechip designs, it will be pretty easy to clone — and we know this. When you buy an Authentic SaveMii, you’re not just paying for some parts — you’re supporting Team Twiizers’ past and future hacks!

Listen up, would-be cloners: the market for this device is probably not big enough for two or more teams to be selling competing devices. We will all end up with a bunch of unsold devices, which will probably hurt us more than it will hurt you — but it’s still a lose-lose situation.

That’s the carrot — now here’s the stick:

We can’t compete with a mass-produced clone of SaveMii. If someone makes a serious effort to sell one, we will probably release all documentation, sources, schematics, and everything needed to make one. marcan will even release sources for his earlier PIC-based version, which is a lot less optimal but tinkerers are more likely to have the parts at home. We’d rather give this to the world at large and let companies fight for the profits than worry about it.

Tags: Wii

26 responses so far ↓

  • 1 cr08 // Sep 29, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Curious: Considering the one-time use style of these devices, how about a completely different way of looking at the sales side of this:

    Do a sort of ‘rental’ style system sort of how RMA’s are done with larger companies now. Rent out the devices for a set value (your profit plus a ‘security deposit’ of sorts). People order, pay, have it shipped to them. After they are done, they ship it back to you. If it comes back in good/working shape, they get their deposit back and you still have a working unit to re-ship to another person. If not, keep the deposit and pocket the full amount.

    Of course you’d also keep the full ownership option as you have now for people who want a ‘souvenir’ of sorts.

    Just a thought on the matter.

    But I do agree though that these people wishing to clone these really need to take a step back and look at it from a technical and REALISTIC standpoint. These are only used really for one reason: To recover a bricked Wii. Unless you are an avid banner hacker, you aren’t going to be using it more than once or twice at best. The rest of the time it’s just a keychain or paperweight. In addition to this, it’s not something that EVERYONE is going to want to buy because it’s only necessary for those with bricked consoles. It’s not even possible to use these to load copied games without a drivechip like so many people seem to mis-interpret.

    Taking this commercial is bad business in general because of the low ROI. If you really want to make some business, create the next bad-ass drivechip out there.

  • 2 IBNobody // Sep 29, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    No matter what you say, Datel will just come in and steal your work.

    You should just release your files straight up.

  • 3 WiiFan // Sep 29, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    To me its like you guys are just saying “Go ahead and buy from the other guys” You’re making us think it’s hard on you, and you wouldn’t be able to compete with them, and you’ll just GIVE us the proper stuff to make them ourselves. There isn’t one reason now to buy from you…except to support you. And even then, if people don’t know that you guys make them and just buy from whomever is the cheapest, I have a feeling that you’ll be screwed over in the end (unfortunately).

  • 4 Die SaveMii-Klone kommen? - Beitrag - Wii Will Rock You! // Sep 29, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    […] Bushing in einem Blogpost hinweist, gibt es derzeit die Intention einiger Leute einen SaveMii-Klon herzustellen. Da das Team Tweezers […]

  • 5 http://croccroc.blogspot.com/ // Sep 30, 2008 at 2:25 am

    @WiiFan: I believe that’s the whole point. Bushing and Marcan are just saying that they’re not able to stand against mass-producers, and also that they don’t want to. And think about it… the support to the team isn’t the only reason to buy from them, as you may be as bad as I am with soldering. I’d rather buy one of those from them than making it by myself. And also I would have my conscience satisfied by knowing I’m supporting their work, which I believe in. 😉

  • 6 vierito5 // Sep 30, 2008 at 4:33 am

    Guys, maybe you can contact http://www.adafruit.com/

    They sell kits and parts for original, open source hardware electronics projects, etc at a low price.

    Good work!

  • 7 bushing // Sep 30, 2008 at 7:16 am

    @WiiFan: It’s called “Poisoning the well”. There are currently no “other guys” to buy from — and as soon as there are, well, they won’t last long when we just release the design. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but if it does, that’s how we intend to play it.

  • 8 whodares // Sep 30, 2008 at 10:37 am

    @bushing: It’s a good plan, although I’m not sure if it will have the impact you would expect. After all, I can imagine a number of the people buying them won’t be bothered to make their own, so they will just buy one from whom ever is cheaper.

    I applaud your efforts though

  • 9 natalic // Sep 30, 2008 at 10:50 am

    I have been watching this little project, I feel bad you have to get screwed over by these chinese f*cks. I agree with the poster who said Datel. They stole the Pandora battery stuff for the PSP. You and Marcan are the Dark Alex and Noobz of the wii community…Quite literally. Keep up the good work.

  • 10 Blackbits // Sep 30, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    How are you making your PCBs?
    Maybe you can use http://www.batchpcb.com/

  • 11 Remadon // Sep 30, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Im New. I decided I was going to translate that post. (#4)

    @ Die SaveMii-Klone kommen? – Beitrag – Wii Will Rock You!

    Translation from German :

    “How bus-hung in a Blogpost refers to, there is the intention of some people a SaveMii clone to manufacture at present.
    There the team Tweezers surely much time and also money put it into this project are only fair to support it for this
    work and not to develop its own business on it. From proceeds the activities of the team are financed
    partially and it would be also in the future guaranteed that further a first-class advancement of the Wii Homebrew scene finds instead of
    – much would nevertheless have been not at all possible without these people.
    If it thus forwards have such a SaveMii product to buy, should their in any case try a Orginales to get.”

  • 12 TwilightWii // Oct 1, 2008 at 3:04 am

    @cr08: A ‘rental’ system to me sounds a bit like ‘Bricked your Wii? Have a SaveMii, but we want it back’ For me, I would rather keep it in case I brick my Wii again.
    @IBNobody: I understand that Datel has done this in the past (with the Pandora battery, mentioned by natalic) but I have to say bushing and marcan: Why don’t you file the SaveMii as in your name, and then 3rd Parties would have to ask for it (when it will be a straight no of course 😉 )

  • 13 whodares // Oct 1, 2008 at 11:17 am

    @TwilightWii: What do you mean by “file it”? If you mean patent/copyright, I doubt that would work, because SaveMii emulates a Nintendo device, and Nintendo will thus own the I.P.

  • 14 natalic // Oct 1, 2008 at 11:20 am

    @TwilightWii – Actually…If they patent it, it would be illegal…Nintendo would sue them really quickly. It is better to do what they are doing now. 3rd company manufacturers don’t need permission to make clones…so not much would be accomplished by patenting. Of course, I could be wrong, if I am, thats fine too.

  • 15 cr08 // Oct 1, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    @TwilightWii: That’s the prime reason why I mentioned keeping the ‘full ownership’ option as-is now. A large chunk of the customer base is gonna be from people who otherwise made a one-time goof that may not happen again for quite some time so a simple rental may be easier for them and it keeps some devices in the hands of bushing and marcan to prevent having to make so many considering they are doing these one-off style and not mass-produced.

  • 16 leonardo2204 // Oct 2, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Hey guys, I’m from Brazil and I’d like to buy one SaveMii.
    The shipping is $2,00 ??
    How long does it take to be delivered on my home ?
    Thanks and good luck !

  • 17 nukeee // Oct 3, 2008 at 4:13 am

    clones don’t matter, its all about getting targeted traffic to your website. If its 5 usd or 50 usd, people will buy it if they need it.

    an affiliate program through something like e-junkie or have it listed on amazon would be good. Lots of people will send you traffic if you did that.

    sorry if i sound a traffic marketing whore.

  • 18 DanielHueho // Oct 3, 2008 at 9:09 am


    All the info you need is in savemii.net website. Check it.

    An affiliate program looks just too complex, and the price matters when you consider that only 10 or 20% of the consumers will care about quality, and not price. The common guy with a bricked Wii will care only with the dawm cost. But as I see, the main purchaser of SaveMii is not really a common user, but a consoles repairer, because using of SaveMii requires some technical attention anyway.

    @ TwilightWii
    SaveMii was created using reverse-engineering, so is very illegal to make any patent of it… I agree with Bushing: is better just give the dongle specifications for people. If they overproduce clones, worse for them. And just maybe, someone could work on SaveMii and do something even better.

  • 19 marcan // Oct 3, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    You guys are totally off the trail on patents. Patenting it might be problematic because Nintendo obviously has already created such a device. However, since it isn’t available to the public and in fact no one had seen or known about it until we found the code in the System Menu, that may or may not matter.

    All of that is irrelevant. We’re not patenting it because it’s expensive, and because it’s useless. Chinese companies couldn’t care less about patents. And we’re not about to go suing people for infringement and worrying about the subsequent legal battle. Patents suck anyway.

  • 20 ThrashWolf // Oct 4, 2008 at 6:11 am

    Well, how about some form of holograph, like those found on certain modchips. That way, people will know they’re getting a genuine team twiizers product and not some sort of knock off
    I’m looking forward to getting paid so I can order mine =)

  • 21 dajoh2 // Oct 7, 2008 at 12:03 am

    I would love to order one of these bad boys and unbrick my poor Wii (note to self – never let friend borrow chipped Wii again!) . I’ve set my homepage to the “SaveMii Order Page” and am checking every hour… Hurry up Mr. PCB manufacturer from China…

  • 22 zouzzz // Oct 11, 2008 at 3:53 am


    For the French tests/news… : http://gueux-forum.net/index.php?s=&showtopic=197696&view=findpost&p=1395183

    Thanks for all for your job.

  • 23 someone // Oct 13, 2008 at 4:20 am

    Someone said above that “the common guy with a bricked Wii will care only with the dawm cost” but I disagree. He cares about getting the console working again too.

    You could do something that the clone manufacturers couldn’t do, which bundle it with user-friendly software on CD which you could use to recover your Wii, perhaps it could be used to reset settings in files which prevent the console booting, delete custom IOSs, restore the system menu to the default one, etc…

    This software would not have to be freely available for download (not sure how much this conflicts with Team Twiizers’ view on freely available software).

    Protection could range from having TT’s logo displayed by the software (appealing to people’s conscience and will probably be enough to dissuade Western companies/organisations) to modifying the SaveMii dongle so it responds to a challenge from your software (probably won’t last five minutes since the same Chinese factory which produces your chip will be probably putting out the clones, but anyway).

  • 24 leonardo2204 // Oct 13, 2008 at 6:08 am


    I’m trying to buy one SaveMii but every time I enter on the PayPal page, it says that the product is sold out !!
    Why ?


  • 25 moo // Oct 23, 2008 at 1:59 pm


    I bricked my wii, today afternoon. Import a wii music, and i didnt see the region code. It was ntsc, and my wii is PAL.
    So, i never hear about a brick thing before this accident, but since i search over the internet, to find help.

    I have a semi-bricked wii, u know, in the wii setting i have an error message.

    T tried the Wii System Update v290 img, but the dvd with the first version, cant read, regognize the wii, and the second version (repad) generate an erro message after boot and when i started it from the menu ,too.

    I have d2c chip.
    Do you have any idea, how to unbrick it?

  • 26 Simo75 // Oct 26, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Why the HBC beta 9 use IOS36 instead of using IOS254 (PatchMii_core) ?
    With the last update from Nintendo i think IOS254 (the only cIOS in my Wii) is the last IOS with fake-signing bug, right ?

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