Let's get the superficial out of the way: The name is dumb. It's pronounced oddly no matter what tongue(unless you're imitating a siren), it too close to the "Wii" pronunciation as to cause massive amounts of confusion for proxy shoppers, and blatantly ignores the "We Too" and "Wiiii!" potential puns had it simply been called Wii II. However, that's no reason to condemn the console. "Viita" ain't much better.
Okay, with that out of the way, down to the serious matters:
The system has potential. There is no doubt a -bunch- of creative uses can be thought out using this mechanism. However, Nintendo, if they continue as they do, will sabotage it. Simply put: Nintendo hates non-Nintendo innovation.
They are the only one of the big four(Sony, MS, Nintendo and Valve) who's distribution is overtly averse to indy development. Sony may be pathetic at it, but they still have an indy channel. MS and (especially) Valve are -enormously indy friendly. Nintendo is actively hostile to indy development. The hoops one has to jump through to even develop a game for WiiWare involves an incorporated company name, a company profile and a record worth Nintendo's time to 'bless'. Then, after all that work, they'll STILL severely limit what you can do(space limitations, content issues, etc...).
Now, the non-indy companies these days are mostly averse to innovation. This is because, sadly, so is the apathetic public. If a giant megacorp is gonna spend gazillions(US gazillion, roughly 9/10 of a Canadian gazillion) on a product, they aim for safety. So we get Call of Duty #3768. And "Mostly Brown Bloomfilled FPS #6557" .
The major innovations this gen were for cheap platforms to develop for: Steam, DS, DSi, iPhone, XBLA, even PSN. The "big blockbuster" games could have interchangeable labels and no one would know.
These types of games couldn't care less if you're holding a wireless monitor. And when Sony and MS come out with what will surely be a more technically superior device in terms of raw numbers, these unoriginal megacorps will follow.
So who can create wild and wonderful new ideas for this visual peripheral-based console? The little guy. Look at what happened when the industrious reverse engineerers cracked open the communication protocols for Kinnect. The megacorps will follow once a little guy paves the way. But the little guy is the only entity willing and, arguably(and ironically), financially capable of blazing a new path.
But Nintendo historically has never cared about the little guy.
So yeah, Nintendo's gonna have all sorts of cool uses of their tech in their games. Zelda will look beautiful. Mario Party will have amazing tablet-based input on some titles. You'll be casting magic in Fire Emblem by flinging it literally off the screen and a real-life Pokedex will guide you through towns named after pantone colors.
But unless they help the little guy blaze new roads, we're gonna see just another Wii: Amazing Nintendo first party titles at a frequency of 1 or 2 each year, and a gigantic collection of whatever shovelware Ubisoft thinks it can crank out cheap and quick enough to cater to the 8 year old "I want a pony!" crowd.
Also....ummm...exactly how expensive is that controller gonna be anyways?!?
Let me preface this with the following disclaiming statement: I loved having a PS2. I have a PSP. I remember the days of the PSX with fondness. Sony has had a positive impact on the industry as a competitor to established titans. They even used to make quality A/V hardware. I also remember the Walkman with equal parts awe and nostalgia and am still a fan of the original Betamax ruling allowing the format shifting we all take for granted.
Having said all that, I positively detest Sony now. I cannot in good conscience say anything positive about Sony, as a company, at this time. They disgust me. They should disgust you. They are the sociopathy of corporate greed run amuck without constraint. A spoiled brat with dynamite and opportunity.
The History of Sony
You see, Sony, quite some time ago, absorbed a movie production and music production wing. These are members of that lovely pair of organizations known as the MPAA(Motion Picture Association of America) and the RIAA(Recording Industry Association of America).
Don't know who they are? Let Ars Technica enlightenyou. To summarize: These are not nice people. These are the form of sociopathic vile often attributed to villains of b-level action movies before the hero has had enough and starts breaking heads in his neighborhood.
Now, Sony was first and foremost a consumer electronics company but now they operated a movie studio and music label. Big company; wide arms; no foul. The left hand may have been a first class a-hole, but anything east of the elbow had no idea and wasn't affected. While Sony was likely ever "nice", prior to this. They were just another Japanese corporation trying hard to shine in the global economy with an Apple-like attention to product detail(though without the advantage Turtleneck Prime and his Reality Distortion Field).
The Lawyers Cometh
Over time, that had started to change. The lawyers became more prominent and more powerful. Intellectual Property law and the legal system was giving them more power over us mere mortals and they smelled blood. Combine that with the general apathy of the public and you've got a grade A villain.
Now, lately, their big cash cow was their very effective penetration of the fast expanding videogame market. They dominated. I mean dominated, by catching Nintendo off guard and trodding over the remains of SEGA. They were on top with a strong inertia keeping them there.
In comes Microsoft. And, lets face it, no one foresaw the amazing difference one console generation made to the giant. Due to several Sony missteps, Microsoft raced past Sony with the 360 and, amazingly, Nintendo managed to completely obliterate both of them with 6 year-old hardware and a glorified TV remote wrapped in Apple Clear-Coat Sterile White.
So these last few years, Sony had been playing catchup with what was supposed to be their golden child for if/when the movie industry and music industry wings started to be less titanic.
Now, as an indicator that sometimes, even now with lawyer cancer cells coursing through it's veins, the engineering and hardware guys do get to say something before the *AA legal team devours their souls, Sony had added an ingenious feature to the PS3. Microsoft had announced the 360 would be very easy for hobbyists to develop for, so Sony had, upon the PS3's release, release it with the ability, out of the box, to install the hacker's holy grail of operating systems: Linux.
This was a very, very smart move for a company maintaining an closed system like a game console. People smart enough to break down the walls of a walled garden just happen to be the same guys who would put Linux on a game console. Giving them the option to do it immediately and, subsequently, play with the lovely Cell chip innards, placated them and the PS3 remained secured for nearly 5 years.
Then Sony, feeling the crunch of their sagging marketshare and the very expensive production costs of their console, releases the PS3 Slim. And that feature was missing.
The writing was on the wall: "Enjoy your Linux, nerds, because we're not bothering with it from now on!"
The Talented Mister Hotz
In comes George Hotz. Love him or hate him, this kid has had an impact. A big one. And he's talented at what he does. Now, seeing that the console wouldn't be legitimately hackable any more, he set out and took it as a challenge, knowing full well that if the console could run Linux before, it still could. So he started looking for holes.
He found them. He noticed that by glitching the USB port, he could cause the USB driver to knock down some of the walls in the PS3's highly protected memory. With that, he could gain access to deeper modes of operation. In Linux, of course.
Then Sony pulled a dick move: The removed the OtherOS feature, allowing the Linux install, from all consoles, not just the slims. While technically, they didn't remove it without the user consenting to an update, the update was mandatory unless you wanted a dramatically negatively impacted console experience. This was an advertised feature of the unit. Majority or minority means nothing. Sony decided that people no longer had a say. Whatever the reason was that they bought the console, Sony was the boss and that was that.
[To any other console makers out there, allow me to make a suggestion: People who install Linux on consoles and have the skills to(and in some cases actively demonstrated that they have) hack your security are NOT the type of people you should anger.]
Release the KaKaraKen!
This meant war. Sony provided a moral justification and a compelling reason to break down their walls to the very people capable of doing so. Within a very short period of time, the fail0verflow very publicly announced they had manage to find the public keys used to sign Sony official software. Sony followed with some juvenile comments and threats, prompting our old friend Hotz to release a secret weapon he had been saving: the root key, allowing an unofficial firmware or downgrader.
Other hackers like KaKaRoToKS also started hammering away at Sony's control.
Was Sony going to respond responsibly?
Of course not. Sony, of late, has behaved in so anti-consumer, unethical and downright vile way that even Big Pharma companies are probably taking notice. First, they sued GeoHotz(the other targets being KaKaRoToks, a Canadian under a different jurisdiction and fail0verFlow, a team of mostly anonymous people whom Sony hasn't identified yet). Then they threatened any site that posted the keys, whether in comments or articles.
They sent DMCA takedowns to sites merely reporting the news of the event(I'm sure Destructoid wasn't even immune). Thinking they could somehow erase the world's collective memory of the event.
Okay Sony, congratulations. You've made it personal for a whole lotta people who weren't involved in your hissy fit.
Expect another, and much shorter couple of followup posts on this. This is an important topic, and bears lots of attention. The other posts will explain some of the reasons why. And why everyone should care.
This is the first post announcing my intent to populate this space with commentary, news, or news about commentary. Anyone riveted by this prospect rivets quite easily. You have no reason to be excited because, odds are, you don't know me.
As I am not a public figure, that's encouraging. If you are public and known, you are celebrity or at least "popular". If you are private and known, you are infamous, and no good can come of that.
I suppose I am beginning this as a way to cross that private->public threshold and get those long rants, debates and discussions I would usually share with those either fortunate or unfortunate enough to be around me at the time something lit up my synapses on topics of interest.
So who am I? Short answer: Some guy.
My name is Real(pronounced 'ray-al'). English doesn't possess the French character that usually tops the 'e' in my name, and it tends to wreak havoc on some databases, Destructoid included, so I'll often refer to myself as 'Real'(honestly, I'll simply refer to myself as 'realyst', it'll help avoid some confusion). Now the pun of my display name here on Destructoid is probably far more apparent.
I was originally trained as classical and 3D animator, with high hopes of entering the games industry. That hasn't happened and, as you'll come to know, I consider that a blessing in disguise.
I was later trained in IT and currently develop automation scripts as a consultant using a language often confused with the swear words seen on family friendly comic strips.
Throughout my entire life, however, I have been preoccupied with the entertainment industry and, more specifically, the games industry. This is not in any professional capacity, mind, but merely out of interest. I then took up a very strong interest in intellectual property law and issues due to its profound impact on my livelyhood as well as the above industries.
I have been playing video games for a long time. Primarily console with a healthy dose of PC. From Pheonix on the 2600 to Strider on the NES to Space Quest on the PC to Super Street Fighter IV on the 360 to TF2 on Steam.
I am training myself in a more practical language in order to possibly join the ranks of indy developer. As this progresses, I may post progress on that here.
I am a Canadian and a member of the Canadian Pirate Party(to any Destructoid lords who come across that tidbit, worry not, I do not nor will I advocate piracy as a positive and truly do encourage people to invest in those games and materials in which they find distraction). As such, you will likely see more than one rant on the subject of copyright and patent law.
I consider this blog a step. I do plan on developing my own blog, but will likely simply synchronize them when the time comes.
For anyone brave or bored enough to wade through all that, thanks. I aim to make any followup post far more interesting.