Launch Day Wii U Homebrew Is Very Encouraging


With the launch of the Wii U yesterday, we were wondering exactly how long it would take for this new console to be broken wide open allowing for the execution of homebrew code. Technically, it only took a day, as [wraggster] shows us, but the results aren’t what you would expect. Right now, he’s using methods meant for the classic Wii to open his system up; probably not the best way to open up the Wii U, but a start nonetheless.

This hack revolves around the Super Smash Bros. Brawl exploit that allows for the execution of unsigned code. It’s called Smash Stack and is one of the more popular ways of getting homebrew code running on the old, last-gen Wii.

Of course [wraggster]’s hack is dependent on the fact the classic Wii has been open for homebrew development for years now, and only works because of the Wii U’s ability to play classic Wii games. This probably isn’t the direction Wii U hackers want to go into, but it does provide a way for anyone to get into the Wii U system without using any new tricks.

28 thoughts on “Launch Day Wii U Homebrew Is Very Encouraging

  1. As a game developer, I don’t understand why they have devices that can only run signed code anymore. At this point, it is basically a set-top PC – why not just let people use it as such? Also, as shown here, these things never lasts more than a week without being jailbroken/rooted/homebrew-enabled. Even the cartridge-based systems have homebrew capabilities.


    1. Sorry – accidentally reported. Can I blame the new skin? :)

      But seriously, the lockdown is so hardware makers can demand a cut of the software royalties. Give away the razor, sell the blades…. yadda.

      1. That pretty much is the answer they sell the console at a loss so they can make money off software.
        Inkjet printer comapnies often do something similar.
        Is it honest no but it is a common bussiness practice.

    2. The answer to that question is really pretty simple. In the companies eyes you don’t ‘own’ the firmware. You are only licensed to use it. They are trying to protect their IP, and restrict access. Besides, they generally sell the consoles at a loss, so if they can’t make money on you because you hack it then they lose all around.

    3. Support costs. They already sell this hardware at a loss, imagine how many bricked units they’ll get calls about if they officially supported what we do with these things?

      1. There is a huge difference between officially supporting homebrew and exploiting bugs/poking arund in memory/patching firmware to get homebrew running. The first should have nearly no risk of bricking anything at all or they did a bad job…

        1. Official home brew would not have any danger of bricking.
          It could even be possible to add a recoverable firmware image at pretty much zero cost considering how cheap flash memory is now.
          The way consoles are is the result of IP lawers and company execs who have almost zero understanding of technology.
          A good example Sony poured millions into securing the PS3 but did nothing to make sure the PSN was secure.
          The intrusions and stolen account information including credit card numbers probably were far more damaging then any losses from piracy via other os exploits would have been.

          1. The other thing is that piracy techniques on locked-down consoles quite often tend to be launched off the back of genuine, non-infringing homebrew projects.

            I always thought Sony’s OtherOS option was in recognition of this, and a clever way to keep the hackers-out-of-curiosity from opening up the machine to the pirates. Unfortunately it didn’t work as the pirates worked off the back of OtherOS and Sony killed it.

            In theory, a legit, authorised homebrew facility would be a useful protection against piracy, but it would likely involve a far more complex system design, as you’re going to have to reliably block out access to certain resources to make sure pirated games can’t be shoe-horned in, but at the same time ensure that homebrewers get access to the features that they would hack for if they couldn’t get them — including full access to the controller. And that means dev time, and money.

    4. A lot of people think about this the wrong way. The question isn’t “how soon will it be jailbroken” or “will there be piracy.” It’s a numbers game, like insurance. Tiny percentages add up when you’re talking about hundreds of millions dollars. They do some market research and figure out that adding this or that trivial layer of copy protection causes one group of people (however small) who otherwise would have pirated to get frustrated and buy the game, while pissing off and driving away another group. They try to model the amounts of people driven away vs the amount of people who buy out of frustration vs the cost of the copy protection, and they solve the resulting system of functions.

      Talk of “you’re just buying a license,” or moral/quasimoral arguments like “you wouldn’t download a car” are all a means to an end: maximizing profit. It’s an extremely cold and analytical field.

      That and the whole business model revolving around the console maker being gatekeeper to the development community.

  2. They did the same thing as the PS Vita, no hacks have affected the PS Vita’s way of operating but instead they targeted the ‘flawed’ PSP Emulator within the PS Vita. It now allows you to play “backed up” PSP Games but that’s about it and the PS vita has been released along time ago in comparison to the Wii U. The only main objective was to get piracy onto the PS Vita as no other homebrews have been made for it thus far.

    It almost seems as if once a console is “opened up”, that developers main goal is to enable some sort of backup way of loading games. This may not be true to every homebrew developer out there, but it seems to be the case when you try searching about exploits on some consoles. I’m mainly basing my opinions off the Sony Homebrew Scene, but it seems to be the same way on the older generation Wii as well. The only console to see a “variety” of use-able non pirated homebrew would be the out dated Wii Scene. I think people who’re skilled enough to be able to modify a console probably don’t feel the need to release a hack that may bring on piracy.

    The Xbox 360 may be critically opened up, but the main use was so you could play downloaded games on Xbox Live. Not too mention the fact that once you run unsigned code on a console you’re able to go online and ruin the fun for many people. If you want to run homebrew on a console? Why not do it on an already open one that isn’t currently being used- for example PS2 Linux, Xbox 1 Mods, Wii, PSP. Oh wait, you mean you wanted to port SNES/NES/N64 on another… console…? There’s no use for console homebrew.

    1. I was trying to think of homebrew programs that a console would be able to run, but everything keeps getting countered by the superior PC counterpart! I mean half-assed emulators run sub par on Consoles, yet better support on PC… The Media streaming capabilities of the PS3 which can’t do MKV… again a PC can do.

      Why would you need to run homebrew on a Console for? I can’t think of any uses, aside from getting your backups to load faster via HDD, being able to software modify the game you’re playing and getting online with free games you had no worries of purchasing before anyways. Ohh!! make sure this homebrew comes in an easy to use executable form so EVERYONE can use it as well! this way instead of hurting game sales by a small number of people who’re skilled enough to do this on their own, they can spread it like wild fire to people who never had an intention of buying any game anyways! Nothing Like making piracy easier, Thanks “homebrew developers hurr durrr”.

      1. This is why consoles should be as open as possible. Take the PS3 for example, while linux for PS3 existed no one really cared for hacking it, why bother? It’s subpar to PC as you say.

        Take away the option of homebrew on a ps3 and boom everyone wants to hack it (and eventually does).

        1. There’s a reason consoles aren’t “open” is so they don’t ruin the functionality of online play. If the console was able to be “edited” as you will, things would start to get extremely messy, not to mention that it would only benefit people who’re interested in this sort of field of programming to different hardware types. But my assumption would be these “type of people” wouldn’t choose a game console as their primary target, if they did- I doubt they’d try and hurt said console by releasing hacks to everyone so they can use it as well which is what I’m against.

          It’s sad to say but the PC does replace the console in this equation. Having linux opened up on PS3 would’ve helped maybe 3 – 4 Years ago, had Nvidia developed proper drivers or if someone was able to write their own RSX Driver I’m sure there could be a cheap use for PS3 Linux boxes but that didn’t happen and it hasn’t since. There’s older generation consoles that run Linux, why not try to take a crack at them? What makes someone so special that they should try and exploit a new piece of hardware via software then try and rip on the Company by releasing the exploits to people who have NO IDEA how they did that in the first place. Linux wasn’t a homebrew that EVERYONE wanted.

          Only the developers who made the exploit possible in OtherOS cared, no one beyond that point cared to try and hack the PS3!! it was only until after the exploit/hack was released that normal morons like me! could use said program to be able to do something to my console I had no intentions on doing anyways. That’s what my problem is! If someone wanted to hack every console by all means go right ahead.. but you can’t sit there and release exploits and hacks to people who don’t understand how those hacks/exploits even got there. If people cared as much as they wanted they’d start huge petitions against Sony… I don’t think Sony cares about the 0.001% of User(s) who wanted to install an out-dated PowerPC Core Distro (with lack of hardware access) just so they could play Solitaire outside of their Windows PC. You can’t even access the RSX under Linux so no 3D accelerated graphics.

          TL;DR I type fast.

          1. It’s funny because Graf_Chokolo, a well respected PS3 Dev and Reverse Engineer made a custom Linux Kernel (2.6.x) that allowed hardware access within Linux for the PS3. There was one issue though, if graphic demanding homebrew was to be made on the PS3 and use its hardware- an RSX (GPU) Driver must be written so things work correctly under Linux.

            The kernel has been released for almost a full year now… do you think anyone tried to program an RSX Driver yet? Hell Freaking No… why? because people who’re skilled to that extreme already know it to be a lost cause. So there’s your Linux on PS3- it works with full VRAM Access- yet people don’t modify the kernel to their betterment because they can’t! They want every other developer/programmer to make it for them.

      2. “they can spread it like wild fire to people who never had an intention of buying any game anyways! Nothing Like making piracy easier, Thanks “homebrew developers hurr durrr”.

        So no lost revenue then?

    2. How about using it as a kick-ass media player. I still had an original xbox running xbmc in my bedroom until a few months ago when it died on me. I had one in my livingroom for several years until I bought a hd-tv. Since then I’ve been waiting for something as good as xbmc running on one of my consoles. I finally gave up and put together a pc fo my media needs. But if I could I would throw out that pc and use one of my current gen consoles.
      So, yes. There is a need for homebrew.

  3. I wonder if the Indiana P0wns attack also works as well. My hacked Wii is used primarily for GBA and SNES emulators as well as connecting to my (also hacked) Seagate DockStar for DLNA-served content (all legal rips of DVDs I own). I can’t imagine a purpose for a Wii-U unless I could maintain a similar set of functionality.

    1. heres a purpose for you as to why you would buy a wii u, to play wii u games. at least when i buy a game console the only reason as to why i buy it is to play the gams for that system, i dont buy it to put linux on it i have a pc for that, i dont buy it to turn it into a media centre once again i have a pc that i can do that with, and i dont buy it so i can install an emulator on it so i can turn it into a n64 or any other gaming console if i want to play those games i either all ready own that console and if not then i install the emulator onto my pc. Dont get me wrong i dont see anything wrong in breaking these systems to run what ever you want but me personally the only reason i buy one is to play there games on

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