Last week we praised Nintendo and disparaged Sony for the way they handled reports from gamers that system updates broke their consoles.
Sony refused to fix the consoles they may have ruined, claiming the system update wasn’t responsible for reported disc read errors, while Nintendo said it would replace unfairly bricked consoles for free. (The impetus behind Nintendo’s update seemed to be to disable Wiis modified by pirates to play illegally downloaded games.)
It turns out that praise was probably premature. Nintendo has backed away from its virtuous initial response, and gamer Pathiatawner posted on Nintendo’s tech forum that her out-of-warranty, un-modded Wii was ruined by the update and Nintendo is charging her $85 for the repair.
There’s nothing about them fixing it for free. I was told $85 and they wouldn’t pay for shipping on the phone yesterday. There’s just mention of them being able to fix most of them without sending it in, but mine doesn’t even turn on fully anymore, just a black screen.
A Nintendo tech employee named Jane originally said on the tech forum that the company would take care of unfairly bricked consoles:
Some of you have reported problems with your Wii console after updating to the Wii System Menu 4.2. The symptoms most people are describing usually occur when the Wii has been modified. However, some of you also mention your system has never been modified.
We’d like to help get your system working properly again. If you’re experiencing problems with your Wii console after downloading Wii System Menu 4.2, and you believe your system has not been modified, please give us a call. If we find that you have a normal system and the update caused your system to not work, we’ll repair it at no charge.
Please call our Customer Service Department at your earliest convenience, 1-800-255-3700. We are open 6 AM to 7 PM, Pacific Time, 7 days a week.
Jane then seemingly noted a shift in policy with this post:
We wanted to provide a bit more information.
In reading your posts on this topic, there is a perception that ‘lots and lots’ of people are having problems with their Wii console after having downloaded the Wii System Menu 4.2.
At this point, the number of people who have had a problem is extremely small, and in fact, we have found we can help a good portion of people with troubleshooting to the point that there is no repair necessary. For the vast majority of Wii owners who have downloaded system menu update (SMU) 4.2 there have been no issues.
Anyone who experiences an issue with their Wii after downloading SMU 4.2 should contact Nintendo customer support, and we will work with you to address your specific concerns.
Please give us a call at your convenience at 1-800-255-3700. We are open 6 AM to 7 PM, Pacific Time, 7 days a week.
Note that the reference to “free” has vanished. We asked Nintendo to comment on the issue and got this less-than-satisfying response:
If anyone is experiencing problems with their Wii console after downloading any SMU please contact Nintendo consumer service at 1-800-255-3700.
If your console has never been modded and was broken by the new firmware and Nintendo charges you for the repair, please let us know via the tipline.
UPDATE: Pathiatawner said Nintendo got back to her and will repair her Wii for free.