Nintendo Shipping Mod-Proof Wiis in Japan

Modchips for the Nintendo Wii appeared just a couple months after the console's availability, opening up the black market for the piracy of Wii games. Following the release of the modchips, the demand of the Wii soared in places such as China, since pirated Wii games could be purchased on the black market for approximately $1.30.

Nintendo is finally putting some effort into thwarting the viability of Wii mods, as reports from Japan indicate that the latest console hardware revisions are now much more difficult to modify with current chips. Three pins used by current modchips to alter the console's drive software are reportedly now physically cut, making modifications impossible for all but those with highly advanced skills and tools. The hardware revision has only been discovered in Wiis from Japan, though it's reasonable to expect that anti-mod measures will soon make their way worldwide.

News source: DailyTech

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If they had made the console region-free in the first place, then there'd be a lot less excuse for people to buy modchips.

Import games are an odd little niche.

It's frequently not even that the games are massively cheaper overseas (especially once postage is factored)-- but rather that it's not available immediately or at all locally.

By locking out foreign titles, they're basically saying "Don't buy something! Come back in six months, or maybe never, and THEN buy it." Can you imagine any other business like that?


not in the america/japan since we're both NTSC. The problem comes down to copyright and marketing. By allowing import games, Lets say "street fight", a game that doesn't really take understanding japanese at all, americans could buy a large amount from japan inflating the japanese sales figures and could entirely throw off their advertising and marketing money.

koocha said,
I think the problem lies with NTSC/PAL conversion...?

seta-san said,
not in the america/japan since we're both NTSC. The problem comes down to copyright and marketing. By allowing import games, Lets say "street fight", a game that doesn't really take understanding japanese at all, americans could buy a large amount from japan inflating the japanese sales figures and could entirely throw off their advertising and marketing money.

I'm fairly certain their marketing guys will figure out if the export companies represent a non-negligable percentage of sales, and if so, then maybe they should go for a translated version.

The next generation of mods though are being developed from the ground up and are a different kind of mod than what we've had. They're going to have to be mainboard modchips instead of driveboard modchips, and as such they will be significantly more expensive and complex to install anyway.

Yeah, these have been successfully modded by cutting away at the drive chip the pins are cut from using a Dremel tool. This is a "stop-gap" measure from Nintendo, probably they're cutting pins on backstock of drive chips until that stock is used up. Once they start getting new batches of drive chips the pins will probably never be built into the chip at all, then they will truly be un-modable.

These haven't just been seen in Japan either, there have been quite a few found in North America as well. If you buy a Wii right now that still has these legs on the chips they've been sitting in a warehouse somewhere for a few weeks or in transit.

Nothing is "mod-proof", they'll just figure out another place to put the chip.

And from my understanding, this particular "mod chip" wasn't really that advanced anyway and as far as electronics go, a cheap hack at best.