Acer Cloud Technology
Acer Cloud Technology (their acquisitions formerly known as iGware, BroadOn, and RouteFree) is a software engineering company that 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. It was founded by a Chinese-American entrepreneur named Wei Yen who had previously worked on the N64 and GameCube hardware development teams at Silicon Graphics and ArtX respectively. It was a privately held startup company, with 50 employees at its peak.
RouteFree's office was originally in Palo Alto, California (which is now used as the offices for Nest, a Google brand) and then moved to Mountain View, California (which is now used for a school owned by Khan Academy called Khan Lab School).
It is unknown why RouteFree was renamed to BroadOn. It was changed again from BroadOn to iGware, most likely due to a lawsuit between Broadcom and BroadOn, possibly relating to their name and/or the chip manufacturing business.
Contributions to Nintendo products
BroadOn's influence on Nintendo products dates as far back as 2002, when development on the iQue Player begun; at this point, BroadOn still used the RouteFree name. However, prior to this, BroadOn's founder Wei Yen had contributed to the hardware development of the Nintendo 64 and the Nintendo GameCube, which is why BroadOn was selected by Nintendo for new hardware platform development. BroadOn contributed heavily to the hardware and software development of the iQue Player, creating its SDK and e-commerce services. In April 2018, the scene release group SUXXORS released the iQue Player SDK and plain-text iQue Player titles, marking the first and only known leak of internal BroadOn files.
BroadOn went on to develop much of the Wii's software infrastructure and some of its hardware, providing the IOP (commonly known as "Starlet") unit inside the Wii's GPU package as well as its software environment, IOS. This provides the backbone for most of the Wii's features which were not present in the GameCube, such as wireless connectivity and flash memory access. BroadOn also developed most of the Wii's e-commerce infrastructure, with Wii Shop Channel and Nintendo DSi Shop pages containing references to Acer Cloud Technology as they had been updated to extend their copyright up to 2014.
BroadOn contributed to the DSi's e-commerce environment as well, although their role in the DSi's overall software infrastructure is unknown, but the system works similar to the Wii.
BroadOn had some influence in the development of the 3DS' and Wii U's software/e-commerce infrastructure (as iGware), although it is unknown to what extent they were involved due to the 2011 Acer merger.
While BroadOn's successor did not have any direct influence in the development of the Nintendo Switch or later platforms, the software concepts which they introduced as early as the iQue Player still remain in Nintendo's latest software environments.
BroadOn and Nintendo made several security mistakes in the software which they developed for the Wii and other platforms. One such example is the Trucha Bug.
When BroadOn merged with Acer Cloud Computing, the NUS service they made was reused for deploying cloud apps for Acer devices. The domain they use on SOAP requests is "nus.wsapi.broadon.com", and continued to be used even after they were called iGware.