Acer Cloud Technology

From Rare Gaming Dump

Acer Cloud Technology, formerly known as iGware, BroadOn (stylized as 饾悂饾惈饾惃饾悮饾悵饾懚饾拸), and RouteFree (stylized as 饾悜饾惃饾惍饾惌饾悶饾悈饾惈饾悶饾悶) is a software engineering company which contributed to hardware, software, and online platform development for several of Nintendo's consoles. It was launched in April 2000 as RouteFree, and was subsequently renamed to BroadOn in 2003 and iGware in 2009. The company merged with Acer in 2011 with a $320 million deal and became Acer Cloud Computing. Prior to the merger with Acer, RouteFree/BroadOn/iGware contributed to a number of Nintendo's software and hardware projects, assisting with the design and development of the iQue Player, Wii, Wii U, DSi and 3DS, as well as other unreleased projects such as the iQue Box and iQue NetCard.

RouteFree was founded by Chinese-American entrepreneur Dr. Wei Yen, who previously worked at Silicon Graphics on the Nintendo 64 development team. He then started ArtX to develop graphics hardware for PC motherboard chipsets, and was asked by Nintendo to assist with the development of the GameCube; after ArtX was bought out by ATI, he formed RouteFree to assist with Nintendo's future projects.

Contributions to Nintendo products

RouteFree's first known contribution to Nintendo's products was assisting in the development of the iQue Player, a Nintendo 64-based console intended for the Chinese market. The iQue Player featured rewritable storage and a basic online/e-commerce infrastructure, leading RouteFree to engineer an infrastructure design which would later be reused (to some extent) for all of Nintendo's future consoles up to the present day.

Additionally, some code contributions and opened issues made by RouteFree/BroadOn in the early 2000s point to them working on a Linux-based environment for PowerPC devices featuring multimedia and peer-to-peer networking. It is unknown what the significance of this was or if it was related to their work with Nintendo.

In 2003, shortly before the release of the iQue Player, RouteFree changed their name to BroadOn. BroadOn then began working on 2 additional projects for iQue, both of which were unannounced and never released; the iQue NetCard, a Game Boy Advance cartridge with network support and rewritable storage, and the iQue Box, a successor to the iQue Player based on GameCube hardware. Ultimately, both of these projects were cancelled and the work done on them (particularly the NetCard) was shifted over to the Wii project (then known as NNGC).

BroadOn then assisted in the design of the software and hardware for the Wii console, in collaboration with Nintendo and ATI; their contributions to the Wii include IOS, the Hollywood chip, and the Wii Shop Channel.

BroadOn also contributed to the development of the 3DS and Wii U, changing their name to iGware during this; less is known about their contributions to the 3DS and Wii U, and as the company merged with Acer and stopped working with Nintendo during the Wii U's development and shortly after the release of the 3DS, their overall contribution to the 3DS and Wii U was less than that of the Wii.

While Acer Cloud Technology now works on projects exclusively for Acer and is no longer involved with Nintendo, the infrastructure which they designed for Nintendo products reaching back as far as the iQue Player in 2003 is still being updated and improved on by Nintendo and is currently used for the Nintendo Switch.

Zammis Clark Leaks

Main page: BroadOn data dumps

During the Zammis Clark Breach, a number of files from BroadOn's development repositories which were archived by Nintendo were leaked to the public, including development files for the Wii, NetCard, and iQue Player.

Prior to this, some of BroadOn's source code was (possibly unintentionally) released on GitHub during the source release of an Acer Cloud project; this exposed details about internal projects which were later expanded upon by the leaks.[1]