Nintendo Bricks Wii U Consoles Unless Owners Agree To New EULA
from the console-yourselves dept
Nintendo: it protects what it believes it owns with great vigor. The company has rarely missed an opportunity to make sure that other people are not allowed to alter or mess with the stuff Nintendo insists is Nintendo’s. In an apparent effort to maximize the irony combo-meter, Nintendo also has been known to make sure that customers don’t mess with or alter the properties those customers actually own, such as online support for games that Nintendo decided to alter long after purchase… just because.
But the cold grip of Nintendo’s control over its customers’ property is apparently no longer limited to games. Nintendo recently released an update for the Wii U that forces you to “agree” to a new end-user license agreement, or else it simply bricks the console altogether.
This is how Nintendo’s update to its end-user license agreement (EULA) for the Wii U works, as described by Youtube user “AMurder0fCrows” in this video. He didn’t like the terms of Nintendo’s updated EULA and refused to agree. He may have expected that, like users of the original Wii and other gaming consoles, he would have the option to refuse software or EULA updates and continue to use his device as he always had before. He might have to give up online access, or some new functionality, but that would be his choice. That’s a natural consumer expectation in the gaming context – but it didn’t apply this time. Instead, according to his video, the Wii U provides no option to decline the update, and blocks any attempt to access games or saved information by redirecting the user to the new EULA. The only way to regain the use of the device is to click “Agree.”
It immediately brings to mind Sony’s similiar move with their Playstation 3 product, in which the company unilaterally pushed out an update that would strip the console of serious functionality, including the ability to run other operating systems. It was something users had specifically wanted when they bought the console, and an update was pushed out to then take it away from them, but at least the update could be refused. There were consequences to refusing the update, but it didn’t brick the console. Nintendo, in other words, is now officially worse than Sony when it comes to screwing with the console property of their customers.
As the EFF post notes, this represents the latest step in a very troubling trend for consumer rights. It’s a practice no longer even limited to the digital world, with physical products now including different kinds of DRM or methods to break the product if any payment issues arise. This also only continues to happen as long as customers put up with it. Nintendo may end up learning that lesson the hard way.