Is the Wii U condemned to hackers?
There is an old saying: history tends to repeat itself. Using this as a basis, I’m gonna make a very superficial and personally driven analysis of the Wii U system and it’s possible flaws.
To do this, I will go back two generations, to the golden era of consoles, the sixth generation. In this generation we find the Gamecube as Nintendo’s answer to the Ps2, the Dreamcast and the Xbox. The security system found in the Gamecube is very similar to the one found on the Dreamcast: it heavily based on preventing the game medium from being copied. In this case, the Gamecube used a DVD-based format called the GOD (Gamecube Optical Disc). These discs were (and for the most part are still) unreadable by PC DVD-Drives. While I won’t get into details of how the Gamecube security works (I’ll do it another time), but I can tell you, that the Gamecube was, for the most part, the most secured console of it’s generation, it’s scene can be compared to the one we now find in the ps3: late and limited.
The problem is, by the time the Wii was released, the Gamecube was already hacked up and down, both the system itself and the proprietary Disc format it used. This, combined with the fact that the Wii was basically a Gamecube 1.5, made Wii hacking a lot easier. To have a clearer picture, imagine if sony basically made the Vita with the same exact hardware as the psp, only a bit faster, which is what the pspemu is inside of the vita and it’s why it was hacked.
To sum up: the Wii was hacked because it was too similar to the Gamecube, which was already hacked when the Wii came out.
Now, you may be asking what this has to do with the Wii U, nothing! except that this time, Nintendo has done the same thing! the Wii U uses a similar hardware than the one found on the Wii: a PowerPC CPU and an ATI GPU (it’s called AMD now btw).
You might not know this, but the Wii mode inside the Wii U is already hacked, pretty much like the pspemu inside the vita. The difference here, like I said, is that the Wii U is very similar to the Wii and the Gamecube, while the Vita hardware is different from the Psp, which could mean breaking out of the wii sandbox should be fairly easier than breaking from the pspemu sandbox. This was true for the Wii and Gamecube, specially since the Wii never emulated the Gamecube, it didn’t need to, it ran Gamecube code natively. If the same applies to the Wii U, then we might see a native Wii U hack coming right after the Wii mode hack.
Again, this is just a wild guess, it might turn out quite the opposite, but I just find it amusing how Nintendo keeps making the same mistakes over and over again while Sony seems to be learning from them.
Let me know your thoughts.