UPDATE: It's not as bad as we thought.
When I first heard about the impending update to the Nintendo Wii's Photo Channel I was fairly indifferent to the idea. After all, in the past year I've used the Photo Channel just once when I showed my E3 photo album to my grandparents. That's really been about it for Photo Channel usage, so imagine my mild surprise when I found out that the channel can play MP3 files as background music. Neat, eh? Don't get too comfortable with the idea though. Next month Nintendo will issue an update that will remove MP3 playback in favor of AAC files.
The Wii console will replace MP3 compatibility with the ability to play AAC files, which provide a greater sound quality than an MP3 of the same size. This new compatibility will work with MP4 audio files in the .m4a format. Additionally, you can now choose to have the songs play back in a random order. For Wii Console owners without the AAC file compatibility, you can download the updated version of the Photo Channel from the Wii Shop Channel starting in early December 2007. Please note that once you download the updated Photo Channel (ver 1.1), you will no longer be able to play MP3 format music files.
This doesn't sound too earth-shattering, but now I'm wondering if this change is limited to just the Photo Channel. What about games like Excite Truck that support custom soundtracks via MP3 files on a SD card? This change won't break that feature, will it? I'll convert my power truck '80s rock driving tunes to AACs if I must, but if this change nukes my ability to custom jam to Excite Truck then I will be most furious in that "make a lot of noise, then do nothing" sort of way. I'll skip updating the channel if in-game MP3 support is at risk, but what happens when/if this format change is rolled into a mandatory Wii system update?