On Tuesday, Nintendo released their next major firmware update for their Wii console, FW v3.00. The greatest change is probably how much faster the Wii boots up and resets itself after exiting a channel now.
Then there's also a bundle of cosmetic changes. There's a digital clock added to the Wii Menu and the blue light turns on when you insert a disc. The Forecast Channel displays the current weather and the News Channel has room for two scrolling headlines.
It's really pointless to display the current weather when you can just look out your window but I guess it makes the Wii Menu look more interesting. As for the headlines, I would have preferred it if they created a single line bar along the bottom of the screen to scroll through instead. It looks too cluttered as it is now and hard to read. I do like the faster boot times and the longer use of the blue light, though!
You can find the official list of changes on the Nintendo Wii website but you'll find there's a lot more than the ones they've listed.
- The weather forecast will now be displayed on the Forecast Channel icon in the Wii Menu.
- Headline news will now be displayed on the News Channel icon in the Wii Menu.
- The current time will now be displayed in the Wii Menu.
- The area around the Wii Message Board button will now flash when a message arrives.
Wii Message Board
- You're now able to rearrange the order of your Wii Friends in the address book.
- You're now able to go into the Wii Friends registration screen by pressing the A Button on a blank spot in the address book.
- Envelope message icons will now appear on the calendar only on the dates when a message is received.
- Your message sending history will now be displayed in Today's Accomplishments.
- You can now scroll the message text by pressing the B button on the message screen.
Wii Shop Channel
- The search function on Virtual Console has been enhanced.
- Some USB keyboards are supported on the Message Board and Wii Shop Channel.
- Password fields accessed with the keyboard are now hidden by asterisks.
- Faster boot times when switching channels or exiting games.
- Blue light turns on when inserting or ejecting games.
- Datel's Gamecube "Freeloader" and Action Replay discs no longer works.
- A new warning aimed at users with modified Wii consoles.
Yes, it seems Nintendo might try to thwart piracy with future firmware updates, just like what Sony has been doing with their PSP updates.
After you have run the v3.00 FW update, you end up with a warning screen if you try to check for any newer updates saying that any "technically modified consoles" may cease to function. The only way to skip any updates is to turn off your console afterwards.
If it's just a scare tactic by Nintendo then it's partly working. In the usual console hack forums I've visited so far, a few people are worried about bricking their console so they haven't updated yet. However, quite a number of people who have chipped their Wiis haven't had any problems so far. There are also a lot of people who are choosing not to update because it disables the freeloader disc.
It will be interesting to see if Nintendo implements any code to block the use of pirate software in future firmware updates. For example, a piece of code that will check the console for a mod chip; a piece of code that only chipped Wiis will recognise. This piece of code will then be flagged whenever commands are passed through the mod chip to read a game disc and then the console will refuse to load the game. Just a thought.
So while we're on the subject...
Thoughts on Piracy
The gaming and other forms of media industry has survived this long with piracy running in the shadows and, it continues to do so even in this convenient age of fast broadband connections sharing files. For that reason, I don't think piracy really does hurt the industry that much but, I'm sure the companies don't like how they're losing a lot of money that they could be making. Thus, the attempts at anti-piracy measures.
I myself don't really care if people pirate or not because I know everyone has their reasons. Especially young children. Back in the school days, I would never have had any computer games to play if it wasn't for cheap piracy copies. Nowadays, those stores are practically all gone thanks to the internet. At the same time, I've also reached the age where I can try going for better jobs other than paper rounds so I can actually afford my own purchases now. That's why I make a few purchases now and then.
Those that pirate say, "You're just buying the box" but considering how much is spent developing a game (and indeed other media), I think it's only fair that fans purchase the game to show their support.
Besides that, I believe items are much more appreciated if you've purchased them with your hard earned cash than something you got for "free". After all, would you be proud showing off your cheap blank DVD-Rs full of pirated media that anyone can afford or, your bookcases of glowing legitimate purchases that doesn't require a PC to view? OK, I exaggerated the "glowing" part but you get the idea. You're far more likely to spend time enjoying something again when you look at your tangible purchases.
On the other hand, I still do pirate because there are too many games that sound and look great but only later do I find boring after a few hours of play so, it's always good to have a trial run through them first. It's the same with other types of media. But take the recent movie "5 Centimeters per Second" for example. I knew nothing about the movie until I downloaded it to watch and I was amazed. It's simply a must own even if it's just for the artwork alone. Blank DVD-R copies or intangible files on the hard disc just wouldn't do for something of that calibre.
Another question, you do have to ask is... If games companies didn't lose all that money to piracy and everyone went about buying legitimate copies of their games, would gaming have advanced even further than it has now, such as with the Wii's motion sensing controls? If a large fraction of that revenue as reinvestments, I think it's possible.
Well, that's my view on piracy.