It has been a long and rough journey for those of you waiting to get your hands on Super Smash Brothers Brawl for the Wii. With the launch date delayed, and then hitting Japan first, you still stayed strong. Some of you even braved snow storms only to find out that your local store was closed due to the bad weather. A few of you still managed to stick through it and even blog about it everyday so that the other fans would not need to go through the pain of discovery, and learn things about the game as they play it. Thank you all. For your dedication, just like in Japan, a small percentage of you will receive a new character. Its name is "Unable to read the disc."
I have decided to update this story because of all of the confusion in the comments here and on Digg.
#1. An insider from Nintendo has confirmed that dust are smoke are not the only cause. Some drives are in fact bad. The point being, Nintendo has lied to you about the cause of SOME of these errors.
#2. As stated in #1 and in this article, this LIE benefits gamers for the inconvenience. It is a chance to get a new Wii or have your old Wii updated with a new drive or cleaned if it actually does apply. Hell, if you want a new Wii, go out and buy SSBB now and send the Wii in. New is always better than old.
#3. I am not trying to start a "Conspiracy" and made it very clear that the odds of it happening to you are not very great. Look around on the internet. There are a lot of people having this same problem. This is a REAL issue. I have had a flood of emails and calls with people saying the exact same thing and even sending in pics and video of the error.
#4. Some of these errors may be dust and dirt. I made it very clear that not everyone having this issue is the result of a bad drive. Nintendo said this as well. There is a line at the bottom...In most cases these "Replaced consoles were for the most part, older Wii's that came out at or around launch." The key word here is "MOST" I understand that maybe you personally have a launch Wii and it plays just fine. At no point did I say it wouldn't. Only that there is a small chance that you will have issue. Launch consoles makes the chances higher for a few reasons even though statistically, you are probably safe either way.
#5. In my reasoning, I only point out things that make it clear that Nintendo was not honest about why these consoles are having issue. I never said that I knew the reason, only that I knew that Nintendo gave us an answer to cover the actual issue. I was and still am completely correct in my comments. These were all common sense. AN INSIDER AT NINTENDO JAPAN CONFIRMED WHAT I SAID IN THIS STORY IS CORRECT! After another email exchange I was told that the Japanese problems were found in less than 3% of Wii consoles that had played Brawl. This would mean that overall it would be slightly higher because obviously, not every single Wii owner has Brawl. It is safe to speculate that there are more defective units out there that haven't had issue as of yet because they have not played the game. I was also told that no numbers are in for the U.S. but there have already been more cases reported by percentage than in Japan. Thus, I assume the "Defect" will be a bigger problem in the U.S.
#6. This is a defect. Some comments make it clear that people cannot understand what a "defect" is. A defect is not dirt and dust. A defect is a faulty drive that Nintendo replaces. Please Wiki the word defect before you decide to throw your own Matlockery in the mix.
Back to the original story
Let me make this clear. As of right now, there are only a handful of Wii owners reporting this problem. No numbers have been released from Nintendo concerning these defective consoles. I say defective because that is what this issue is. A product defect. I just wanted to make that clear before I continued. I am not trying to start an anti-Wii campaign. I just don't feel like rehashing the debacle that happened with 2, yes 2, defective Xbox 360 Elites and seeing pictures all over the internet making it feel like houses all around the world were flashing red again.
Here is the official statement from Nintendo.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl utilizes a double-layer disc which has a large memory capacity. A very small percentage of Wii consoles may have trouble consistently reading data off this large capacity disc if there is some contamination on the lens of the disc drive. Nintendo has specialized cleaning equipment that can resolve this problem. (Please do NOT attempt to clean the lens yourself, as you may damage the system.)
They also state that there will be no shipping cost or fee to users in the U.S. and Canada to make any repairs over this issue. This is more or less expected by us gamers and seems to be rather generous for Nintendo. The Wii is the most profitable console of the current generation even though it is the cheapest. Nintendo does not give things out for free no matter what a good PR tells you.
Here is the issue. It is bullshit. Well, not 100% for every case I am sure but I can confirm, after calling a ton of Wii owners and doing the Matlockery that I love to do, that "Dirty discs" are not the only issue here. After talking to someone last night, that just bought a brand new Wii and picked up SSBB and ran into this problem, I started to dig deeper. I looked back to find out if there was something in the past that could shed light and make a little more sense. I just couldn't buy that smoke and dust would cause 1 disc, even though it has some magic new technology that didn't make it to any previous Wii games, or DVD movies that people on modded Wii's don't seem to have problems with.
First up: I remembered a few years back when Nintendo explained that Slot loading DVD drives were much better at keeping a console clean inside. Hell, it was a listed selling point when compared to the Xbox 360. The felt in the disc slot is designed specifically to "wipe" a disc clean (to some degree) upon insertion. I can also tell you that a few of the friends I talked with, smoke like a wildfire in the same room with their Wii's and have had no problems playing SSBB. O.K. So maybe it's not smoke. Big deal right?
Second: Nintendo asks users with the issue, "Please do NOT attempt to clean the lens yourself, as you may damage the system." This made me a little curious. Why would Nintendo ask users to ship off a working console that has issue with only one game to be cleaned? Wouldn't it be cheaper to ship out these magical cleaning discs to users instead of the high cost to the company, as well as the inconvenience they would be causing the user? If it's a dirty lens, most store bought DVD lens cleaners would do the trick. The lens in the Wii is not made out of a special substance that no other DVD drive has. This just doesn't seem to add up, which brings me to my next point.
Third: If the lens was dirty, won't it just get dirty again? Does Nintendo have a magic cleaning solution that can now repel dust and smoke residue for life? Am I the only one that see's this? If this is the actual issue, it would mean that in the future, at some point, it may very likely occur again. This makes me assume that Nintendo plans on offering this for the lifetime of the product. That is great, right? Nintendo plans on fixing its problems over an over again at cost to the company and at an inconvenience to the fans. It makes perfect sense.
Bottom Line: It is bullshit. It is just hard for me to swallow that some users that really expose their Wii's (I can't believe I just wrote that) to smoke and dust and aren't having issue, while others are having problems straight out of the box. I do not know exactly what the culprit is, but I know that Cheech and Chong are not the majority of what is causing it. I am also willing to bet that every one of the repaired Wiis will come home with a brand new DVD drive and not just a quick cleansing.
[Update: After being contacted by an inside source at Nintendo, I can confirm that some of the consoles that had the same issue in Japan last month were in fact replaced and not "Cleaned" as Nintendo stated. In most cases these "Replaced consoles were for the most part, older Wii's that came out at or around launch." (Sorry Dave, that brand new Wii you bought must have been old somehow) This is actually great news for the general consumer though. A new Wii is always better than an old one. So the statement from Nintendo is a lie that in some way works out better in the long run for gamers. Although, this makes the likelyhood of a pricedrop in the near future a lot less likely to happen. Remember Nintendo prints the money, not spends the money.]