Monday, November 19, 2012

Check Your WiiU

UPDATE: My WiiU is still not working, and Nintendo tech support doesn't open for several hours and I need to sleep. All information below is as up to date as I could gather as of 7:45am ET. All I can be sure of is that my WiiU is afflicted with some kind of malfunction that multiple other people's have been, and that said malfunction is not in evidence until you try to hook it up. I am NOT claiming that this is a "widespread" or even serious issue, but it's clearly effected a few people so it's probably a good idea for multiple people to check on consoles they might've bought to "hold" for gift-giving time.


So. I bought my WiiU (Basic model) on Launch Day yesterday. Didn't get a chance to try hooking it up until well after midnight, because of work and other engagements. System appeared to be in good working order, but would not connect to my TV in a way that was "recognized." Not via it's own included HDMI cable. Not in other ports. Not with other cables. Not even via the (compatible) Wii standard cables.

As you can imagine, I was not happy.

Since it's A.) a brand-new machine and B.) around 3am at the time, not much info was available. However, I did take notice that the system's blue "power-on" light was flashing on and off and that this wasn't typically how such lights work. Checking up on that yielding depressing information via an active thread over at GameFAQs: Apparently, other people are having the same problem and, evidently, the detail of "blue flashing light" leads Nintendo to immediate send them a shipping lable so they can send it out for repairs.

If this is true - if Nintendo now has it's own "Red Ring of Death" problem - it could stand to be a pretty dicey affair: Setting aside how annoyed I am right now, the family audience the Wii brand has such penetration with is not as "used to" dealing with issues like this as gamers tend to be from prior experience; and that would translate to a really bad situation for Nintendo this holiday.

Right now, though - if you bought a WiiU and are maybe saving it to give as a gift, you MIGHT maybe want to take it out and inspect it, just in case. If these things are rare now, they'll be really rare then. Either way, fingers crossed this isn't widespread.



Razmere said...

Aww man. Sorry to hear about that. Hope ya get it fixed soon.

(Is secretly glad I always wait almost a full year before I buy the next big tech toy for this EXACT reason.)

Pat said...

Wow, I'm genuinely shocked. Nintendo's QA is usually ridiculously high-standard. I've had Nintendo products survive some serious shit in my lifetime. When I was a kid, I had a house fire that pretty much destroyed the lower floor of the building, which destroyed pretty much everything in it... except every single Nintendo product. And it wasn't even because they were in a particularly safe area of the house. In the exact same area there were other video game systems and peripherals and none of those things survived. My GameShark looked like melted butter. But none of the Nintendo equipment stopped functioning even after being caked in smoke and covered with water. In fact, it all still works to this day. My GameBoy Color was partially melted and STILL worked fine. My copy of 1080 Snowboarding was missing a part of its board (it seemed to have been chipped off) but it still played fine.

I'm hoping this is just a firmware glitch or something that can be easily fixed, because if Nintendo rushed out a defective product, I'll be very disappointed in them.

Sabre said...

If this were any other company you'd be all over this with smug superiority, but you're making apologies because it's Nintendo?

It is a surprising turn though. Nintendo is usually pretty good about this stuff. I had 1 gamecube, and the only issue is the open button is a little wonky. In contrast I've had about 3 or 4 PS2s. That said, the sticks for N64 controllers were pretty bad, so their record is hardly flawless.

Anonymous said...

What are you on about, Sabre? All Bob has said is that he's having trouble with his Wii U, and that it's still early days. He doesn't know how widespread the problem is (although it's clearly affected a few people), or even precisely what the problem is. Bob is simply being cautious - and with good reason, as he's got very little information to go on at the moment. That doesn't make Bob an apologist - it makes him responsible.

Plus I don't recall him being overly smug about the PSN debacle last year (feel free to correct me if I missed something). Yes, Bob has shown a preference for Nintendo, but none of Bob's alleged "Nintendo fanboyism" and "blatant pro-Nintendo bias" is present in this post.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately as time goes one, that famous 'Nintendium' will become less commonplace.

I remember the original sturdy phat DS was replaced with the rather flimsy DS lite, with a tendency of getting cracked hinges (happened to me on two of them).

Steven said...

There is another issue when downloading the day one firmware update for access to the additional features.

If the internet connection goes down during the 5GB download it bricks the console and requires replacing this goes for power loss too. So DO NOT POWER DOWN THE WiiU DURING THE DOWNLOAD! even though with DSL in can take hours.

Anonymous said...

Oops, Steven, I stepped on your WiiU power cord by accident.

Sylocat said...

Nintendo are far from perfect, but their QA department is the most merciless, paranoid and finicky in the industry.

There is something very, very strange going on.

Cyrus said...

Faulty hardware, enormous day one updates, horrendous usability (according to PA Report) and no major first-party titles announced ... not very Nintendo at all.

It all smells of a rushed holiday cash-in before the competition gets to announce their next hardware upgrades - which won't do anything new but run laps around the Wii U in terms of processing power. Before the Wii, Big N hadn't really been that big since the 90s, but they could always be relied upon for good fundamentals, no matter the sales figures. Bummer. =/

Aiddon said...

I didn't have any problems with mine luckily; update went well and the Wii to Wii U transfer went without incident. The worst thing that happened is that my copy of NSMBU didn't ship along with the system. So far I've just been fiddling with NintendoLand, which actually has some fun minigames in it

Anubis C. Soundwave said...

This is Tech Shakedown Season. No matter the company, always hold off for at least a year to let the machine work out any bugs.

= = =

My thoughts: Iwata, under pressure to have the WiiU perform (after the 3DS didn't perform as expected), rushed the WiiU into production.

PadMasher said...

No surprise here. These systems always come out buggy on lauch. Remember the dead Wiis with error codes? It is kind of funny how the systems become less reliable with each generation. My fucking PS3 died on me and I had to get it repaired. Thank god there is a store in my area that actually does that but still. One step forward, two steps back. That's what this shit is.

Popcorn Dave said...

It's very depressing to see the company that made this now putting out the same plasticy pieces of shit as every other hardware manufacturer. I guess it was inevitable really - every other company gets away with it, why should Nintendo try any harder? - but it's a shame nonetheless. Like you, I cringe at the thought of non-gamer parents buying this for the family, gathering their excitable kids around the TV and being greeted by a black screen. If the WiiU screws up its first Christmas it will be bad news for Nintendo.

Saburo said...

Sorry you're going through this. If possible, take your Wii U back and tell them that its defective and see if they can exchange it for you.

Anonymous said...

Remember the good old days, when you could buy a video game console -- even on launch day! -- and take it home with a reasonable expectation that it wasn't a brick, or didn't need hours of downloads just to be functional as described on the box?

Yeah, I miss those days.

"Release it when it's perfect" indeed, Reggie.

This is why I can't get excited about Nintendo anymore. Their hardware is gimmicky shlock with build quality problems. Their Holy Trinity games aren't the mindblowing juggernauts they were before (Skyward Sword, Other M, and NSMB). They've devolved into a company that sells cheap nostalgia in a tin.

I dearly love the Nintendo of the NES, SNES, N64 and even Gamecube days. But the thing is... I can still go back to those platforms to experience Nintendo as I love it, Nintendo as it *was*.

Nintendo just isn't special anymore. The magic is gone.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Yeah it is never a good idea to buy any hardware, not only video games, on launch day.

I'd rather wait at least a couple a months in order to play my games without RRODs, bricking, lag, or whatever.

Sabre said...

I am one who says never buy on launch day or close to launch, but faulty hardware was rarely the reason. For me, it has to do with games. The Wii in particular having a strong early line up, then settling in to hand me down ports and shovelware. I skipped the 3DS, but if my friend is unhappy because there has been nothing good on it between Mario 3D Land, and Mario Sticker Stars. Even then, the best games he owns for it are N64 ports.

This is not a picking on Nintendo thing. Planetside 2 just came out on PC, and the registration system doesn't work (at least in Europe). The Xbox 360 was great for years, but recent updates (which are mandatory) make the console difficult to use because it's trying to shove adverts down your throat. I forget exactly, but the games tab is like the 4th thing ON A GAMES CONSOLE.

Hell, taken to the extreme, PS4 is the one I'd most likely buy on day 1 (though I wouldn't, just to be clear) because so far they are the ones that soiled themselves the least.

How crazy would it be if Sega came back to hardware, or Valve released that mythical steam console?

Nixou said...

"Hell, taken to the extreme, PS4 is the one I'd most likely buy on day 1 (though I wouldn't, just to be clear) because so far they are the ones that soiled themselves the least."

You mean, appart from selling three overpriced consoles without valid launch lineups in a row; producing a useless "me too" sixaxis controller, then, once they released Playstation Move, not supporting their new toy despite it being a much better motion controller than Nintendo's; making a shitty, unintuitive online interface, before updating it and making it even more shitty & unintuitive...?

Brandon said...

Sorry to hear this. It really hurts when can't get a new purchase to work. It just kills the pay off of getting something "now".

Sabre said...

Nixou- You forgot the PSN hack.

And yes, despite all that crap, it currently ranks higher than MS and Nintendo atm.

Aiddon said...


With that track record I'm expecting the PS4 to shit the bed just as bad. And I don't think Sony can afford a fourth bad mark in a row. Looks like Bob's theory abotu Sony not being very good at running a game company was in fact true.

Nixou said...

"With that track record I'm expecting the PS4 to shit the bed just as bad. And I don't think Sony can afford a fourth bad mark in a row. Looks like Bob's theory abotu Sony not being very good at running a game company was in fact true."

The PS3 was a case of hubris: Sony believed that they "owned" the market and could get away with pretty much everything. Not a glorious moment for the company, but Nintendo made the same mistake in its time, and before them Atari made the same mistake.

The PSP case was a result of the assumption that more processing power would lead Sony to dominate the handheld market, and this I will discuss in more detail later, because it is linked to the sorry state of video-game reporting.

The Vita is where I think Sony ran out of excuses: it's their second handheld, it's the second time they sell an expensive gadget with virtually nothing interesting on it. despite the fact that they tried and failed before and that even the two overlords of handhelds failed as well when they tried to pull the same trick.

Nixou said...

Concerning the Original Topic, and the case of the PSP, one thing Bob did not mention is that game journalism has a punditry problem: Sony expected the PSP to do better than the DS because of its processing power. a good chunk of the gaming press expected the PSP to do better than the DS because of its processing power. Third Party companies expected the PSP to do better than the DS because of its processing power. The Wii was expected to be Nintendo swan song because of its processing power. The same predictions where made about the 3DS/Vita competition, the same Doom & Gloom predictions concerning the Empire of the Yellow Rat are now being made about the WiiU.

Now, look at the history: since the days of the Atari 2600, the most powerful console of its generation has never won the competition. The NES with its laughably outdated hardware dominated the more powerful Master System, the Neo Geo never came close to the SNES sales wise, the N64 sold much less than the PSone, the PS2 dominated the market at the expense of its much more powerful competitors...
On the handheld side, the old Game Boy gave Nintendo dominion over the market. The competition after that remained so hopelessly outmatched that one would be forgiven to believe that Nintendo was the only company producing handhelds during the Game Boy Color/ Game Boy Advance era, and now two generations of DSes have dominated the market, with the only real challenge coming from devices which aren't evend consoles.

Did game "journalists" learn anything from the las three decades? Did the fact that the same pattern repeat over and over again with no exception caught their attention?
Nope: A new generation of console arrives, and what is the favorite topic of discussion of our pundit class? Fucking Processing Power again. You know what this reminds me and convinces me to use the term "pundit"? The US presidential elections, where a bunch of self-proclaimed experts spent months pontificating about the minutiae of the horse race and congratuling themselves for their oh-so-desirable "insiders" status. They all ended up being wrong while a few guys with the oh-so-hard-to-grasp insight to use calculators to make average of polls saw the results coming from miles away. The current dominent "breed" of game "journalists" are also pundits faking expertise and congratuling themselves for their oh-so-desirable "insiders" status while being pretty useless as anything but providing glorified ads.

But the worst part is that these pundits, in the end, hurt the industry: AAA games' development costs have raised from around a million bucks at the release of the PSone to often over 50 million now and there is a good likelyhood that any game trying to take full advantage of the PS4/Bobox+ hardware will reach John Carteresque budgets: during the same time period, the consumer base for home consoles has barely grown, the middle class income has stagnated, which means that the amount of money available to be spent in video game consoles did not grow much while the costs skyrocketed, resulting in an economic ecosystem on the verge of asphyxiation, further damaged by an ongoing tech arms race, which the incompetent game pundits' endless buzz about who's got the biggest CPU dick aggravate.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine you standing in the dark, the blinking light illuminating your face, tears build up in your eyes and begin to roll down your cheeks...


As you collapse to your knees crushing your princess peach hug pillow and imported Samus hentai, you use all your strength in a fit of rage to barely stretch your 1up shirt collar. You remain there alone...only with a blinking light to remind you that the one thing you loved...betrayed you.

While I sit back in my UFC hat and gold chains and play another round of the most popular game this year....Call of Duty Black Ops 2.

Jetamungo said...

Please give us an episode of over bytes or GO or even a vlog/blog post on what you think of the WiiU and the launch games you played and how you think it will fare over the next couple of years.

Sabre said...

Nixou- I think you used all the inverted comas in the world. :P

Normally I would argee there, but the problem is "less power = more success" argument is the Wii. While it sold more, it has been dead games wise for years. How often do you see the claim that the Wii is gathering dust (assuming it wasn't sold on) while people still play Xbox? By your logic, the WiiU will not win this generation of console war, the Ouya will.

When it comes to console success, games and price seem to be the key. The Wii had a great start, then just became the home of shovelware, the Xbox had a decent start and maintained it, whereas the PS3 was stupidly expencive until recently.

Manticore said...

Actually with the smartphone trend and the "setbox" design and Nintendo ADMITTING they are fighting Apple-life

the Ouya just might do it by providing what people want and value at affordable prices in a way that's easy and familiar without making them feel bad or needing to deal with Geek Squad.

Bob's even predicted this and noted the Kinect may be the motion gaming future.

At the very least with the successes of Roku's and netflix "multifunction media devices" has *shifted* in market availability if not total mainstream perception from "The console" to the smartphone and now.. we want that for our homes and integration with the rest of our crap. And if not that not having to put a ring on it to just get started.

At the very least Nintendo left the "reliable starter system" this generation to become the quirky economy model of high end consumer electronic entertainment for a style of device that might not be technically outmoded but have lost cultural relevance, appeal, and demand as the videogame generation firmly gets a floor age past thirty and the big boys of the next generation of gamers... are frustrated not "LOYAL" about consoles and brands and want freedom and options.

I've got the tech to play it why don't you just sell me games for that... well its a compelling argument, especially as the hard infrastructure is absorbed or falls down.

Anonymous said...

apparently this isn't widespread and bob just got unlucky.

Guess what gang? There were NES's that didn't work. Ditto SNES, N64, GC, and Wii. Just because a few have hardware issues doesn't make this the next "Red Ring of Death.

Unless the Wii U starts having a 33% failure rate like the first run 360s have, then this is nowhere near as problematic as a few are making it out to be.

Bob, sorry man you just got the bad luck of the draw this time.

Joe said...


You're inferring a logical fallacy from Nixou's argument. Nixou said "the console with the best processor/most processing power has never been the most (financially) successful of its generation". You're interpreting that as "the console with the worst processor/processing power has always been the most successful in every console generation", which isn't what Nixou said at all. The SNES edged out the Genesis to be the winner of the 4th generation, and the Turbo-Grafx was technologically inferior to it, and for the most part, the Genesis was as well.

More to the point, Nixou wasn't trying to suggest the method by which consoles become successful. He was criticizing game journalism by noting every generation, journalists obsess over processing power and specs, but that never ends up being the deciding factor in a console's success.

Nixou, please correct me if I'm misrepresenting your arguments.

Nixou said...

Nope you pretty much nailed it: the SNES being indeed a perfect exemple: the console being neither the most nor the least powerful of its generation.
But the funny thing is, I am old enough to remember the gaming press when the SNES was released, with its journalists gushing about the console's collection of co-processors: this hardware obsessive syndrom is quite ancient.

Brandon W. said...

It's the red blinking light on the NES all over again...

Anonymous said...

It looks like the Wii U doesn't "brick", it goes into a stand-by mode with a black screen. It still downloads in the background:

TransPost said...


Anonymous said...

Bought mine At launch and it has worked great until yesterday the 28th. And now the red power light is blinking and Nintendo support says it must be sent in for repair.