35 Days Against DRM -- Day 8: Nintendo Wii

Jeremy Wahl writes to warn us of the dangers of the Wii console and Nintendo's attitudes towards DRM and its customers. For his efforts, Jeremy wins a DBD tshirt and free album courtesy of Magnatune.

Nintendo's Wii uses a system similar to iTunes cards. You buy cards in stores, or points via your console with a credit card. The points can be used to buy emulated versions of classic games or downloads of software and new, smaller games, called WiiWare.

Both WiiWare and Virtual Console games include DRM, and downloads are locked to the Wii console. Nintendo recommends that you format your system before you sell it, too -- eliminating any downloaded content from the system.

This is a common fear amongst a lot of games companies. Shockingly, they only get paid once, even if a game is sold two, or three times. Unsurprisingly, eBay is full of second hand Nintendo games, which for many video game fans are an important part of gaming history but DRM-encumbered games can never be sold in this way. Nintendo's Virtual Console thrives on exactly this premise -- rather than buying a dusty copy of Super Mario Bros from eBay, you can download it instantly to your Wii console for a few dollars.

Recent updates to the Wii fimware have deleted game saves Nintendo doesn't like including saves designed to allow users to cheat in games they've purchased.

Nintendo have actively deleted the save games for the so-called Twilight Hack, which allows a user to install custom software onto their console via a bug in Twilight Princess.

They have even added checks to newer games to prevent them from running at all if certain hardware modifications have been made to the Wii.

Take action!

  • Boycott Nintendo's WiiWare and Virtual Console