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Wii ‘Fraud Factory’ Raided In UK

Posted by Damien McFerran

Thousands of Wii chips seized in thrilling swoop on criminal HQ

A Wii 'Fraud Factory’ has been raided in Leicestershire, with over 2,000 chips recovered by Police.

The factory itself was actually a house in the town of Coalville (which, incidentally is a five minute drive from the offices of NintendoLife – although we’ll point out that we had no involvement with this!). Police worked in conjunction with Trading Standards and the ELSPA to crack the evil chipping syndicate, which aimed to offer Wii owners the opportunity to circumvent software protection security and therefore play pirated and imported software.

Following the raid, a particularly ebullient Nintendo insider had this to say:

A chipped Wii might sound cool but it is useless. The latest Wii extravaganza, seeing Mario back in a racer at the front of the pack, Mario Kart Wii, would be useless on a chipped Wii. You’ll never get the interaction or support when it all unravels. You’d have to be pretty stupid to think online gaming won’t be easily log-able in such digital days! Chip it and you brick it, as we say around the office. There is only one real Wii experience – and it doesn’t come chipped!

John Hillier of the ELSPA’s crime unit also decided to add his thoughts:

Piracy costs the games industry dear – just like that of any other entertainment industry. Making good and inventive games is an expensive and creative process, with some titles today costing £20m or more to develop. To make a quality title involves teams of highly skilled professionals, from programmers and graphic artists to voice actors and musicians. When a pirate sells illegally-copied games they undermine the viability of our industry and in turn that threatens jobs.

So, a blow against organized crime, then? Mostly ‘yes’ but also a little bit of ‘no’.

While we certainly don’t agree with people using pirated software on their Wii consoles, Nintendo has rather missed the point with this issue. Many people chip their machines in order to play software from other regions, and this desire is usually created thanks to the fact that it often takes an age for games to be released in each territory – with Europe suffering especially. Case in point: Super Smash Bros Brawl still isn’t out over here, despite being available in both the US and Japan. If Nintendo released games sooner in Europe, it would certainly decrease the demand for chips to disable the Wii’s region protection.

Also, it’s debatable that chipping your machine will result in it becoming a ‘brick’ as it has been reported that resourceful coders have already gotten around the issues created by Mario Kart Wii, mere days after its release.

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