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Hacker says homebrew on “closed consoles” no longer appealing

fail-overflow Famed Wii/Wii U hacker fail0verflow recently posted an update to his blog to let people know what he’s been up to lately. It’s a surprisingly good read in which he states that cheap, open-source devices like the Raspberry Pi and the Ouya negate the need for hacking home consoles. fail0verflow states that he lost motivation to continue with the rest of his Wii U hack in order to allow for homebrew on the console because of just how open other devices are, as well as the lack of enthusiasm among the homebrew community and the ever growing war against pirates.

“At the same time, there is an eternal clash between the homebrew community and those interested in pirating games. Writing homebrew software and frameworks is rather difficult – it requires new code to be written to support the hardware, which must be reverse engineered first.

Convincing a game console to load copied games is comparatively simpler, as only the bare minimum amount of code patches required to convince the game/OS to load the game from alternate storage media are required.”

According to the hacker, the Wii hacking community that so enthusiastically created the homebrew channel on the original Wii no longer seems interested in doing the same for the Wii U, or any other console for that matter. He mentions the new Xbox Durango and PS4 and how they’re “glorified PCs”, which takes some of the majesty out of hacking a closed device. He goes on to mention that the effort of maintaining such a hack once it is created is unappealing, as the threat of litigation and the constant misuse of his work from piracy all are valid reasons not to hack.

“I think we may have reached the point where homebrew on closed game consoles is no longer appealing. The effort required to develop and maintain an environment for a big, complex modern game console is huge. The cat and mouse game with the manufacturer requires ongoing effort. There is a very real threat of litigation.”

It’s interesting to see the thought process of one of the most prevalent hackers of modern console hardware and how times have changed. At its core, homebrew users and hackers have always stated their intention was to have an open device capable of functions beyond what the manufacturer allowed, such as hacks allowing the Wii to play DVDs. This functionality is certainly nice to have, but it seems the sheer amount of piracy versus those genuinely interested in homebrew has taken a toll.

“…and all anyone cares about is piracy. This is not a situation which we want to see happen again.”

So there you have it, folks. It’s unlikely we’ll see a homebrew channel for the Wii U any time soon, at least from fail0verflow.

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  • http://clanzs.wix.com/zodiacslayers Stenaven

    This is quite possibly the ONLY hacker I have seen that has the right morals and mindset to see the negative effects of hacking. Not just ruining the fun for others (for example, the hackers in Wii games like Mario Kart Wii or every Call of Duty game), but also the amount of money lost due to piracy.

    Thank you. You won the internet for today.

    • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

      Hacking a games console is NOT all about Piracy or online cheating, for instance, i use an hacked Offline PS3 for Homebrew as is the same with my hacked Wii, i never have used it online and i do not pirate any of my games, all my games are bought brand new.

    • Cerus98

      Those are crackers not hackers. True hackers all have morals and aren’t out to pirate. Anyone who pirates games, cheats online etc is a cracker. Homebrew isn’t about pirating games and violating copyrights. It’s about user created content, aka homebrew.

      • http://clanzs.wix.com/zodiacslayers Stenaven

        But, it’s like, the hackers gotta know that what they are making is 100% in fact going to be used for the wrong reason.

        Besides, I called most “hackers” (for example) on Wii Call of Duty “thiefs”, because I know that all they do is copy paste codes into a program that is in homebrew.

        • Cerus98

          Well as I’ve said before, they can’t be held anymore responsible for what people do with their work than any manufacturer of a CD/DVD/BR burner can or the countless programs that allow you to make copies, burn ISOs, rip etc.

          They all tell you not to make illegal copies but end users can choose to do it and they can’t stop you. Pirating games is one ability homebrew makes possible. There are hundreds more apps, games and utilities that have nothing to do with anything illegal.

          • http://clanzs.wix.com/zodiacslayers Stenaven

            Yeah, but I wish people would just leave alone a console, and just let it be what the company wanted, so that we wouldn’t have this kind of issue.

    • Silent

      I wish I could wholeandhalfhearttedly agree with you. Crackers, crackarz or hackers whatever, piracy is bad overall and you shouldnt hack a system in most cases. IMO

  • http://twitter.com/Kriffix Michael Kacar

    Wow, I thought all hackers were jerks. This guy made me revaluate my opinion.

    • Adrian

      Hacking is an intellectual exercise.

      • CharmanderRulz

        So is making legal code for games you make your self! plus you will not be restricted to the base code of an existing game, you can make cash of it if you so choose, earn respect as a game dev and more.

  • Erik

    If I were to meet this guy right now, i would just want to thank him at least once. And giving the tip off my hat to him of making a decision. Now we can all play in peace without fear of anything at all.

    • http://about.me/overlordror Ashley King

      fail0verflow is just one hacker. You can thank him personally, but someone with less scrupulous morals will more than likely hack the Wii U just to do it.

      • Erik

        Eh true. If one major hacker were to quit on it maybe others will follow.. like a domino effect… Im just hoping that many other hackers will may think this way and just saying “enough is enough”. Odds of that happening… who knows..

        • Alex Damman

          well, i don’t know much about hacking, but fail0verflow sems to have upstanding morals and good common sense. hacking wii u doesn’t make any sense when there’s the ouya, which if i’ve got it right was pretty much made for homebrew.

      • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

        fail0verflow is a group, not one person, the person who wrote that information was just one member of the team.

      • Cerus98

        Again those without morals doing illegal things would be crackers, not hackers. Hackers can’t control what crackers do with their work any more than a DVD burner manufacturer can and people rip and copy DVDs and CDs all the time. Yet burners are a dime a dozen.

        PS. FO is a group, NOT a person. Get it right.

        • No

          How many times are you going to post the same thing, you can say that all you want people will still call them hackers, words meanings can change over time.

          • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

            The point is, there is a difference between “one hacker” and a “group of hackers”

            You see f0f is a “group of hackers” not “1 hacker”

            Word meanings between one and a group will never change, one person can never be a group and a group can never exist with only one person……

          • No

            I’m talking about hackers and crackers.

      • Bob Brochee

        Do not speak on things you know nothing about…

      • Arthur Jarret

        Well, it’s just as much about the morals of the end users.

        Despite having a cracked launch day Wii, I’ve never pirated a single game.

        I did use it (a lot) to re-play my old PC point ‘n click adventure games on scummVM, someone made doom and quake on it (you needed the original WAD files, though – but I never throw out games so still had them) and I played a cool homebrew duckhunt game.

        I was hoping for 3DS homebrew eventually, though – watching 3d feature films on it works by cutting it in 10 min. bits, but I’d prefer if it ran full length.

    • Johny

      well one of biggest hacking groups have distanced themselves from it.. but that won’t stop other groups from trying in the future.

  • DK_Hadouken

    People grow and change accordingly. I’m not surprised at all. I’ve always known that not all hackers are bad. Some hackers want their device to do more things then what they’re designed for as mentioned in the article and others love the challenge.

  • Clel

    Huzzah! Thank you, fail0verflow!

  • Ford Crews

    Let’s see if I have this straight, he helped develop an ODE for the Wii-U, that’s main purpose is to allow backing up games to external hard drive, which will be really good for people with kids that constantly scratch disks, but also very useful to pirates. But he refuses to work on homebrew, that could be used things other than piracy.

    • Muzer

      Er, no? He had nothing to do with the ODE. This site just incorrectly published the fail0verflow photo with the story, probably assuming that “meh, it’s all console hackers, same thing”

    • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

      NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.

      Cant you people read or do research properly ?

      fail0verflow are AGAINST piracy, you would know this is you read the original article, so if they are against piracy, how would they be involved in the creation of an ODE ?

      • Guest

        fail0verflow are not against piracy. we are just not FOR piracy either.

        • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

          Yes they are, they were against it in the Wii scene, the PS3 scene and the Wii U scene, they are against it and do not support it, you would know this, if someone had taught you how to read properly :)

          • Guest

            That is the point: Being against it and not supporting it are two different things. fail0verflow are distinctly agnostic in this discussion. Piracy, however, is a factor that influences certain decisions, about what and how to do certain releases. That is why marcan mentioned it in the article.

            Also, ad hominem attacks are unbecoming if you do not know who you are talking to.

          • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

            I do give a f*ck who you are or who im talking to, you are nothing to me, but someone who cant get his facts right, they are both against piracy and do not support it.

          • Guest

            And I tell you: You are wrong. We are not against piracy.

          • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

            So you are claiming to be a member of fail0verflow and you steal games of the internet, nice way of showing the public that you don’t support piracy, or unsuccessful troll.

            So ill tell you, that you are wrong :)

            if you aren’t against it, you are for it..
            If you aren’t for it, you are against it…
            Simple…

          • Guest

            As I said before: There’s a distinct difference between being against piracy, and just not furthering it. Ever since we released the homebrew channel as closed-source we are accused of being anti-piracy, sometimes even to the extent of being in cahoots with Nintendo itself (see an example for that in this post’s discussions). That is simply not true, we could care less about piracy, we just do not want to be associated with it. And if piracy is the only probable outcome of a move, like in this instance, we do not make that move.

            And if you read my former statement as an admission of piracy then you have misread my comment as gravely as you have marcan’s blog post. I do not feel like I have to prove myself, you can choose not to believe me being a member of f0f. However, I will have you insult me and try to continue this discussion. Your choice.

          • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

            As i said, I’m on the channel, if I’m wrong, tell me to STFU up there.

            Also I’m not insulting you, that i haven’t started yet, I’m all for having conversation with people, but when I’m trying to defend a team and someone apparently from that group tells me I’m wrong, its like an insult towards me, a kick in the balls saying:

            “”No fuck you, don’t defend us, its ok for people to keep saying we support piracy and make ODE devices””

            I believe i have the right to defend groups or people i have respect for against false accusations but if you are as a member a member of the team, then i guess I’m wrong.

            But as i said, I’m on the wiiudev channel, id rather speak there.

            Edit
            I need to think before speaking and i apologise “guest”.

          • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

            Also im on the IRC channel, if you are indeed a member of fail0verflow and i am wrong, just tell me to STFU on there.

    • Cerus98

      Completely different group.

    • Ford Crews

      Did any of you actually go read the blog, not just the excerpts taken out of context? Have any of you actually followed their chats on efnet, followed the discussions on gbatemp, etc, there has been much talk of them working with wikey and xk3y to produce ode’s for the wii-u? Sure is a strange mix of lack of knowledge, wishful thinking, and doom and gloom going on around here.

      • Muzer

        In which case you’re just a moron who can’t read. If you haven’t noticed I’m actually in #WiiUDev.

        Check your logs. I guarantee you there’s not a single message from marcan or any other member of fail0verflow that in any way condones the ODE, or at all implies that they are working on it or even helping with it. True, there has been talk on it, but that is just random people (me included) discussing a new development. Saying that the people in #WiiUdev are involved would be like saying that you are responsible for the invention of nuclear weapons because at least once in your live you have talked about nuclear weapons.

        Let me put it this way – have you followed the actions of these people – not just the general hacking community, but *these* *specific* *people* – since the dawn of the original Wii scene even existed? I have, and they have in all that time shown no intention of helping pirates.

        One final thing – if you think GBATemp is a good source for information, it’s understandable you’ve said such stupid statements.

      • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

        You obviously haven’t heard of me before, do a little Google search “GregoryRasputin PS3″, you will, see that indeed i do know what I’m talking about, you will see there is no lack of knowledge on my part, perhaps that mirror in front of you is what you are talking to.

        To answer your question’s

        1.) I read the entire article, i even told the dev it was an awesome article on Twitter, on top of that i even posted about it on my own site.

        2.) I’m on eFnet every day in the channel that they are in every day.

        3.) No, i don’t read any of the articles on GBATemp, i don’t need to, just because people falsely claim they are working on ODE devices, does not make it true.

        Being from the PS3 Scene, i have heard plenty of wild conspiracies about this dev and that dev, but that is all they are, conspiracies, so just because you delusionally think they are creating ODE devices, does not mean it is true, just because they don’t feel like releasing the information just yet, does not mean they are in bed with ODE creators.

        You try being a developer/console circumventer/console hacker/etc releasing all your information for free, spending your own personal time and not receiving much thanks or gratitude, take all that for over seven years, then tell me you wouldn’t be demotivated to release anything further

  • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

    LOL
    The hacker is not called fail0verflow, that is the name of the group…..

  • Robknoxious1

    While I probably wouldn’t have risked using hombrew on my new Wii U I have to admit I was hoping someone would have developed a way to play Wii games on the GamePad.

  • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

    Don’t let a female write a story about console hacking, she’ll f*ck it up :p

    Edit
    I realise my comment was immature, i don’t really beleive that of all female writers, just this one :p

  • HSN1

    That sure is a noble thing to do. If now people want to make a game on a home console, they probably would have a much easier time making a game for the OUYA, which doesn’t need licensing.

    EDIT: And to all the people who consider this bad news because the can’t pirate games anymore, remember that unlike Wii games, Wii U games wouldn’t fit on a DVD, and you would have to either buy more expensive high capacity disks or a dedicated hard drive, which would cost a lot

    • Cerus98

      While BR discs are more expensive than DVDs, they aren’t THAT expensive. External drives are cheap as dirt now too for apt more capacity. Not saying I support piracy, just correcting statements.

    • No

      EXCEPT most Wii U games have online downloadable versions that could be pirated in a way similar to WiiWare Games, especially with the Deluxe system’s 32GB of space. But your point is almost valid.

  • AAAkabob

    VICTORY!!!

    • DemonRoach

      Not really. It may hurt Nintendo in the long run.

      • Guest

        That made no sense.

        • Silent

          Dont feed the idiot

  • Relick

    They didn’t stop because they didn’t want piracy rampant. They stopped because nobody wanted homebrew – and with open systems such as the ouya and android phones there really is no reason to hack into closed systems any more because if you want to make homebrew you can just do it on the ouya or on a phone.

    • Cerus98

      Piracy was/is one of the reasons. Read their whole blog, not just the snippets here that don’t tell the whole story.

      • Relick

        I did, and that wasn’t the impression I got. He said there are not more pirates, but less homebrewers. That’s reason enough not to spend time hacking when nobody will use it.

        • Cerus98

          It’s part of the reason yes. Piracy, lack of interest, legal ramifications and more open platforms. It all adds up. I’m sure busier schedules don’t help either. Despite what some people think, hackers do have morals. Just because they do something some might deem naughty doesn’t mean they’re evil.

  • Noel Canales

    Looks like Nintendo paid him off. Smart move Nintendo, smart move.

    • Noel Canales

      thats two thus far shooter. Somebodies closer!

  • zhenyaivan

    “Xbox and ps4 are glorified PCs
    Aren’t console supposed to grow, if technology doesn’t grow then it’s all the same and boring…

    • Jeffery02

      Grow? Of course. The problem however is that with a USB or Bluetooth controller, you can turn a PC into a PS4 or Xbox. They are not doing their own thing and are just a few steps away from being PCs themselves.

      – The PS3 had Blu-Ray, the Move, Trophies, and 3D.
      – The 360 had Kinect, Achievements, great online, and multiple user sign ins.
      – The Wii had motion, point and shoot, Miis, and WiiConnect24.
      – The Wii U has most of what the Wii had plus the GamePad, expanded Mii options, MiiVerse, Nintendo TVii, and NFC (although not used yet)

      The PS4 and Durango are nothing but more power. Where is the uniqueness? In the supposed “used game blocking”? In the push of digital only? In the laptop mouse-pad attached to the PS4 controller?

      Nothing announced or speculated has made me think that these systems are not glorified PCs and thus the ONLY reason to get either of them is the software exclusives. The experience is identical, so who cares otherwise?

      You could say that PCs can do everything I mentioned, but the amount of money and time required to make these things happen make a console justifiable where as all I need to do is spend $10-$20 to get a PC controller to get the PS4 and Durango experience.

      Now they could announce something that will change my mind later, but as of right now, these are my thoughts.

  • Bob Brochee

    Good… I would like to have more than 50 good games this time around… Hopefully 3rd party developers will not abandon us anymore with this stellar news!

    • NeoTechni

      Are you talking about wii? I would have liked more than 5 good games for it

  • DemonRoach

    We’ll this sucks. Another reason to never have bought the Brick U.

  • MasterPpv

    This is what I was talking about with my comment on the article about the Wii U getting hacked. There is a definite disconnect between people who hack their consoles and pirate games. The hackers themselves are rarely interested in pirating games themselves – it’s just that others are willing to take these guys’ work and use it for their own ends, and that the people who do that outnumber the hackers who essentially just want to do it for the fun / challenge / experience / whatever.

  • LopsidedPasta

    Justice wins. These people would have been encouraging theft if they had continued.

  • Quicksilver88

    I think in some ways this is a sign that console manufacturers are doing a better job meeting their customers needs. Think about it, in previous generations we hacked xbox the get xbox media center, hacked psp to play stuff from memory stick cause umd was noisy, slow and at killed battery life. On modern consoles we have much better support for media playback with things like youtube, netflix, hulu clients right out of the box. Stuff like universal media server allows us to stream our pc media right to our consoles without hacks. Digital download allows us to get games on our flash memory the legit way….so times are a changing. Add to that the fact that Nintendo is giving dev kits to people for next to nothing and lots of games are appearing for less than $10 on eShop and I do believe the console companies are learning a lot about how to combat hackers and piracy thru innovation and this is a win win for everyone!

    • NeoTechni

      But hes saying OTHER consoles are meeting those demands, not nintendo

  • hesoyamdonMonster

    fail0verflow have brought good news to console maker, now they shall save alots of cost in protecting their system

  • Silent

    Yes, No hacking in Mario Kart U. sorry for the pirates.

  • brian murphy

    notable lol never heard of this guy and he doesnt sound like he knows anything about the hacking of the wii u right now they got a program basicly like usb launcher dx you can rip wii U games straight to the hard drive and play through the usb launcher program and all the games show up within the program i think nintendo needs to find out a way to block it before everyone is basicly doing it themselves doesnt take much to get it on your wii u and no mod chip needed

    • http://about.me/GregoryRasputin GregoryRasputin

      fail0verflow – Google Search – this should help you :) http://bit.ly/18UDNVM

      • brian murphy

        i know what they are lol but as far as real hackers there nobody

  • Arthur Jarret

    No pirates on Wii U??? But… but… I wanted to have one piece and monkey island games on it!

  • http://www.bagofgames.com/author/jennero/ Jennero Rossi

    Make it region free then stop.

  • Møhåmmęd Jårmøn

    This is really fgood news for WiiU. No one likes hackers

  • Only a few are true gamers

    It sounds as if fail0verflow was truly able to hack the full console…Because why else would he stop

  • shadowhedgehogz

    WiiKeyU is still coming, so we will be able to play backups.

  • wwwarea

    This really hurts me. Homebrew was something that made the wii a lot better for a lot and promoted a lot of freedom of it.. If we don’t have homebrew, then we may not get those amazing custom maps for Mario Kart U, NSMB, etc.. The greatest thing about homebrew was modding a lot of things.. Why the hell would people not want this? I want it.

    This is really bad news.. Please don’t give up on it.. And your wrong, homebrew is not “No longer appealing”.. :( There are a lot still that wants it I think.. And if we show hacks on Wii U games, it may get more popular…

    If we don’t get it, then there isn’t much worth anything about hacking.. Piracy only would be there maybe and maybe sound pointless to probably a lot, I’m not against it though, but I’m sure there is people who doesn’t download free games when they don’t own it much.. They just often do similar or make backups, etc to mod or something. Of course, there is region free, and other things too.

    Still though, I always like to hear news about hacking, mainly just for the purpose of modding games, gameshark possible, and other freedom like things.