If You Update Our Firmware, Tell Us WhyS

There's a new 3DS update in the wild. And it does, well...something. What exactly that is, Nintendo isn't saying, because when Nintendo updates the 3DS, it doesn't tell you what it's updated.

Aren't we entitled to know that?

Sony does the same thing on the PlayStation 3, firmware updates often accompanied by vague statements about "stability and security". But what are you fixing? When a company reaches over the internet and messes with the insides of my stuff, I want to know exactly what they're doing.

Call me curious, call me paranoid, call me a long-time PC gamer with a fetish for mile-long changelogs, but there's something concerning about the secrecy with which companies treat these updates. I understand that, when it comes to security measures, discretion is key. But not everything that's updated in a new piece of firmware has to do with security.

Nintendo's latest update, for example, has added (via Tiny Cartridge) some colours to 3DS Sounds' StreetPass data. Minor, maybe, but why did it take users poking around to find that out? Surely Nintendo can spare the time to tell us what they're doing in there. Or at least post the information in full (and not in brief, as it does now) somewhere on its website.

Then again, this is Nintendo and the internet we're talking about. We should assume they'll fuck something up along the way. It's Sony doing the exact same thing that's more disappointing. Every time the PlayStation 3's firmware is updated (which, mercifully, is less often these days), users are sent scrambling to forums and comments sections looking for clues on what's been changed in their system.

They shouldn't have to do that. PC games serve as an example of how to do things the right way. Steam users will know that a full and complete log of game updates is kept for all your titles, meaning you can see exactly what's been done, no matter how trivial or impenetrable to the average consumer. MMO gamers enjoy the same level of transparency.

It's only fair. The relationship between a consumer and platform holder is a two-way street. We pay money, we get their system. But if we have to sign their terms of use agreement to use online services - and that's an important word, agreement - then we deserve a little reciprocity, a little information on how that service is affecting us. It doesn't have to detail specifics of security measures, but anything and everything else, we'd like to know!

If your experience is being changed, even slightly, you deserve to know exactly why and how. After all, it's your stuff!