Warning: New Wii Update May Brick Consoles

Nintendo Wii owners who received notification that a new firmware update (4.2) is available need to hold off on upgrading. The company recently released the update to address those who were running the Homebrew Channel, a modification that enables users to load applications not sold by Nintendo. The special channel appears as a standard icon on the Wii interface, and once loaded, will display a list of applications loaded on the SD card.

But the drawback to the new firmware update is twofold: it disables the Homebrew Channel, locking hackers out of their naughty, unofficial applications. The update also "bricks" legitimate Wii consoles, leaving them utterly dead in the water, a brick of metal and plastic so to speak. Nintendo's technical support forum is currently lit up with reports that consoles are locking up while downloading the update, and will not reboot when unplugged and restarted; NeoGAF is also listing similar reports, with "non-HBC" Wii owners claiming "bricking" as well.

"The problem appears to lie with an incredibly shoddily programmed update to boot2 of the Wii," reads this forum announcement on NeoGAF. "boot2 is basically the area that "starts up" the Wii. According to the people who have developed HBC, the code for Nintendo's updated boot2 is prone to making write errors, therefore making the possibility of bricking your Wii extremely high, whether or not you have ever hacked or modified your Wii."

Nintendo tech support is telling consumers with out-of-warranty consoles that the cost of repairs will have to come out of their pocket, however Nintendo officials have remained quiet in regards to the overall infliction caused by the update. However, if this becomes another "red ring of death" situation, Nintendo may change its mind and fix "bricked" consoles on the company dime instead.

In the meantime, don't install the update, and stay tuned for more info.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • AIstudio
    I cannot beleive in this day and age that companies can screw up your equipment like this and expect you to pay for repairs. Even if your equipment is out of warranty.
    It was caused solely by there action and nothing else.
    I am sure in a court of law that this is unacceptable and borders on malicious!!!!!
    Just my 2 quids worth
  • koss64
    Im thinking of getting a Wii for me and my girlfriend, ill definatly keep an eye on this.
  • zerapio
    AIstudioIt was caused solely by there action and nothing else.I don't think the company is acting maliciously at the moment. Nintendo probably needs to do an internal investigation to find out if they're at fault or not. It seems that's the case and I believe that Nintendo, like Microsoft, will end up covering this issue on their dime.
  • shadowkazama
    Please tell me they are taking the "update" off line until this is fixed. I can see a class action suit beginning to boil, unless they start to handle it better. :(
  • erichlund
    Nothing new. Sony "bricked" my PS3, then wanted $150 to fix it. I spent the $150 on a Blue Ray player, and the PS3 is in the closet, where it will stay until I probably decide to take it to the electronics recycle center. Don't like the classic "game" controllers, so I'm just going to be a PC gamer.
  • jgiron
    So Nintendo pushes out an update, breaks it's own product (the Wii) and the consumer has to pay to get it fixed? I sense the beginning of a lawsuit.

    Because if they can do this any company can. Your precious cell phones would become useless paper-weights and your computers becomes garbage.
  • rooket
    Hmm two howevers in the last paragraph. I think I wouldn't write an article that way.

    Anyways this update also blocks people out of the USB iso loader but I think people were launching that through homebrew channel.

    Silly Nintendo will never learn though. Just let people do what they want with hardware they bought. My wii just sits because the updates make the piece of junk work worse every time there's an update coming out. There's much, much better consoles to buy than a wii.
  • tmax
    I downloaded the software with no issue. I must have been lucky.
  • d_kuhn
    We're so upset that anyone out there would actually do something COOL with a Wii that we're going to poop out a shoddy patch to end any and all coolness... and if we brick a few Wii's in the process - well it's WORTH it!
  • ssalim
    They better pay for bricked legit customers for their stupid update, no matter their warranty status.