Wii U Mandatory Firmware Bricks Consoles That Don’t Finish Update

The massive 1 – 1.5 GB firmware update (see note at the end of this story) that Nintendo decided to deploy on the consoles launch day – Sunday – is proving to be a disaster for Nintendo and for customers who might decided the hour or more wait for it to be applied is just too long. According to several games journalists and this GII story, shutting down the system while the update is being downloaded or stopping (resetting or powering the system down) it bricks the Wii U. In other words, it makes the console no longer work…

"Warning: don't unplug your Wii U during the 2 hour plus software update or the console stops working," said Ben Fritz of the LA Times via Twitter.

Geoff Keighley of GTTV also tweeted about the update: "The Wii U firmware update is apparently about 5 gigs," wrote Keighley. "No wonder it takes about an hour+ to download."

If you have just bought a Wii U make sure you heed the warnings of the community, because apparently there are plenty about the Wii U surfacing this morning….

Update: the 5 GB size of the firmware is being called into question by a number of other sources, and may simply have been a miscommunication by Geoff Keighley. We'll update this story as we have more information. According to this image posted by Nintendo Gamer posted via Twitter, the size of the firmware update comes in some at or above 1 GB…

Source: GII


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  1. 0
    Zen says:

    Mine did get an error while downloading yesterday, but when it came back up it just picked right back up where it left off. Where people are probably running into an issue with unplugging is if they did it during the actual installation part. I got interrupted during my system update and as each of my 3 games updates as well…and it just picked right up and kept going lol. Thankfully everything is working great now (at least for me).

  2. 0
    lordlundar says:

    Yeah, it's most likely during the install that the problem is occurring as opposed to the download. The big catch with console updates is because of the security limitations to ensure only the official OS is installed, updates often include a portion that modifies low level files to ensure the update works. If that get's screwed up the system will certainly brick. A computer equivalent would be updating the BIOS firmware on the motherboard. If that gets screwed up (which is FAR easier than people think) the computer is useless unless you either reinstall the firmware (good luck) or replace the affected chip which usually requires replacing the motherboard itself.

    What's surprising for me is that the Wii-U is relatively easy to brick. Contrast the Wii which had a number of updates itself but you had to be practically trying to brick that system.

  3. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    "Warning: don't unplug your Wii U during the 2 hour plus software update or the console stops working,"

    Umm, file this under no shit?  Name me a console where you can just go ahead and turn it off in the middle of a system update, and expect it to start right back up all hunky dory.

  4. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    As far as I've heard, the Wii U resumes downloads after a dropped internet connection without a problem.  It's killing power to the system (unplugging it or power outage) during the download that's apparently causing problems.

    EDIT:  Okay, here's one report of an interrupted internet connection (not power) bricking a Wii U.  http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/19/3665588/wii-u-brick-console-update-patch-nintendo


    Andrew Eisen

  5. 0
    djnforce9 says:

    Right so what happens if your connection goes down during the update? It would suck to have a bricked console because of this interruption. Also why is it installing the firmware as it downloads it? Usually systems make sure they have all the data before beginning with the installation.

  6. 0
    Mrxknown_JG says:

    Wow, they can afford to brick user's consoles?

    They can afford to NOT delay the consoles release so they can fix problems they obviously HAVE to address?

    That is just wrong. That is bad development. If you have to do an update make it as small as possible and if it is going to be at least a gigabyte, then delay the release so that a customer's first experience of the product isn't waiting hours on end for an update.


  7. 0
    Dennis Stewart says:

    Standard DVDs have a 4.7gb capacity, so they'd have to opt for more expensive dual layer DVDs.  Still, it would be nice if consoles from the next production run have the update preinstalled, or they could add a firmware dvd to the box.

  8. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Wouldn't handing out updates via DVD be better? You can always offer it online….tho why not download it, resume if needed then unpack and install it. Loading it directly to the firmware while downloading is silly.

  9. 0
    Dennis Stewart says:

    I'm cool with software updates, but 5 gb? Damn.  On my family's old DSL connection, that could take almost 9 hours.  Does the Wii U work if you take it home and don't connect it to the internet?

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