If you are like me and still can’t get your hands on a Wii, this story probably won’t mean much to you, but if you are a lover of homebrew on your gaming systems, this story is for you.
Yesterday, Nintendo released a new update for the Wii (v3.3) which does two major things. One, you can now move you Mii directly from the Mii Plaza into the Mii Parade. Second, it kills the Twilight Hack which allows players to use homebrew games and applications on the popular console. Luckily, a workaround has been discovered which will allow people to continue to use homebrew although it is not yet been made public.
Much like Sony, I don’t think Nintendo understands homebrew. I will admit that Sony is doing a bit better now with the ability to run linux on the PS3, but they still seem to maintain an anti-homebrew stance when it comes to the PSP. Much like the PSP homebrew community, despite Nintendo’s best efforts, they will not be able to kill homebrew completely. If there is one thing they can learn from the PSP community its that you cannot kill that which you don’t understand.
While I understand that the gaming industry wants to avoid piracy at all costs, that doesn’t mean that killing homebrew is the way to do that. As the RIAA and MPAA know, you can never stop piracy. It is better to admit that now so you can go on to more productive endeavors.
Allowing users to do what they wish with their hardware is a big selling point for many people. The ability to put homebrew on my PSP is why I have two of them. The ability to put Linux on the PS3 is one of the main reasons I expect to purchase one very soon. If you allow people to do what they wish with their system, not only will they be grateful for it, but they will spend more time using the system! That is what manufacturers should be wanting, any edge that will keep consumers using their product more than their competitor’s product. The ability to do things like turn my PSP into a powerful graphing calculator is a huge selling point when I am faced with having to purchase a $100+ graphing calculator.
If Nintendo can recognize the potential that homebrew brings, it will be a great benefit to their console. The more consumer centric you are, the greater your position in the market will become.