In their latest attempt to block homebrew on the Wii, Nintendo has begun using a new revision of the Wii's optical drive—one that prevents any existing mod chip from functioning.
While this may be just a standard hardware switch and not a concerted effort to block piracy, some keen-eyed modders quickly noticed the change—in the latest drive revision, found in an Australian model with the serial number LAH1098xxxxx, the drive controller chip necessary for previous mods had been completely replaced by a new one.
What they have done is combine the old D1A and drive controller chip in to one which is now called the GC2-D3, as you can see from the photo there is a big blank space on the PCB where the controller chip used to be.
So far there haven't been any other reports of these Wiis showing up outside of Australia, so it may be a while before we see them widespread and by then, I'm guessing there will probably already be a workaround. Kiddies who just can't wait to open up their new Wiis and solder up a mod chip on Christmas morning, though, should probably double check which drive they have first. [mywii.com.au via GoNintendo]