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.