I’ve been asked whether installing the Homebrew Channel (or Twilight Hack or whatever) will void the warranty on a Wii. I’ve generally said something like “Technically, yes, but I doubt they will enforce that.” This seemed reasonable, given some of the anecdotes I’ve heard — stories of people ruining their drives with a soldering iron and still getting free repair work done under warranty, etc. I’ve also said that if a Wii is bricked (and won’t boot), then they have no way of actually checking to see what is installed on the Wii — and I still believe that to be true, at least most of the time.
My German’s pretty bad, but I see “…. Softwarehack … EUR 210”. That seems awfully excessive, given that the price of a new Wii is EUR 250, no?
I would write this off as an isolated incident — maybe someone installed some truly awful warezloading hack. However, I was sent the following email through an anonymous remailer last month, and it would seem to support the invoice above:
Subject: Handling of modified Wii
please be informed about the following change, it is effective from start of Februay on. Sory for my late notice as I have been sick. This change is confirmed by NOE President.
Whenever you get a console for Repairs and find a Homebrew channel or any other not official Nintendo or unauthorized software (Backup Channel, Gecko OS, etc). on it, this repair is out of warranty. If the defect is related to the modication or not, is of no interest for us, anytime we find unauthorized software, it is out of warranty.
The consumer needs to be informed about this and needs to agree that in case we repair the product he will lose this unauthorized content and get an updated Wii Product back. If the consumer do not agree, you shall not repair and send the product back.
Legal is preparing the letter which you can send to the consumer. Please note the price will be higher for such a Repair as well, as soon as it is fixed. Approx 18O€-21O€, but please wait for our documents. For the current situaiton you can use a price of 120€ for
such kind of issues.
We might change the warranty wording as well to make it more clear, even if the current one is enough. In addition 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. We need to stop the Homebrew-Channel now.
Additional to this we checked with NCL to get a better Check-Disc to make your work more efficient and easier. (deleted) will keep you udated on this. Please contact him as well if you need more discs of version 1, as EVERY Wii returned for repairs needs to be checked. Please note the Ver.1 is not as good as expected so manual check
might be needed. (deleted) will share more info on this tomorrow.
(deleted) will share more information about this topic at the coming DSi training and show you some samples, as we want to use this meeting opportunity even if it is not DSi related. Please let me know ifyou have further questions? Please inform your team members accordingly.
Thanks a lot for your understanding and support.
(All typos and misspellings are quoted verbatim; the only edits are (deletions))
This is unacceptable. I was under the impression that most out-of-warranty repairs were in the $75 – $100 range — and this email came with a note saying that the most expensive (common?) repair is to replace the drive for 90€.
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. Unfortunately, we’re currently battling a bug where some SD cards are never recognized in some Wiis. (We’ve been mailing SD cards back and forth around the world to try to figure this out!) With a USBGecko, you get some nice debug spew, but many people won’t have one of those, and if we release BootMii without fixing this bug, some percentage of people will find that it simply doesn’t work. There won’t be any way for them to tell whether the installation of BootMii failed, or if it’s just their SD card. So, we put in a little drive-LED flash that happens in case of error.
I still maintain that a bricked Wii — one that boots to a black screen, or won’t boot discs — can’t be examined enough to tell what was installed on it … unless you have BootMii installed, in which case the drive LED will flash and suddenly cost you 200€.
We’ll probably have to come up with some clever way to disable that flash once you are confident that it has been installed correctly, but we really shouldn’t have to do this. It’s worth pointing out that Apple won’t cover hacked phones under warranty — but A) they don’t charge you a penalty for them, and B) in 99% of all cases, you can click one button in iTunes and restore the device to its original state, so there’s no way they can even tell.
Please try to keep your comments mature and on-topic.