Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

Summary: Nintendo President Satoru Iwata just confirmed the Wii U won't double as a DVD or Blu-ray player, which is just fine with me. Here's why.

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If you were hoping your next-generation Nintendo Wii U would double as a DVD or Blu-ray player in your living room, you're out of luck. According to Kotaku, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata just confirmed that the upcoming Wii U will only play Nintendo's proprietary 25 GB game disks, even though they are the same size as Blu-ray disks.

In a call with investors and analysts about the Wii U, Iwata has this to say on the decision to exclude a DVD and Blu-ray player from the upcoming console:

The reason for that is that we feel that enough people already have devices that are capable of playing DVDs and Blu-ray, such that it didn't warrant the cost involved to build that functionality into the Wii U console because of the patents related to those technologies.

He is right that the majority of the Wii U's users likely already have other devices that can play DVDs and Blu-rays, so not including the feature in the Wii U won't be a deal breaker for consumers. However, it could give consumers the impression that the Wii U doesn't offer the best bang for their buck because other consoles offer the feature. That said, the Wii also doesn't play DVDs yet the lack of the feature hardly seems to hurt Nintendo's sales.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the Wii U for the new gameplay it offers, not how its entertainment features stack up to the Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation 3. If I want to watch a DVD, I can always pop one into my laptop, but I rarely consume media from a disk these days, with most of my entertainment content existing in the cloud thanks to Netflix and Hulu. Since my Wii already supports Netflix, I will likely be able to enjoy my movies through Netflix on the Wii U as well.

Will the lack of a Blu-ray or DVD player in the Wii U be a deal breaker for you?

[Source: Nintendo E3 Q&A via Kotaku]

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Topics: Mobility, Hardware

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29 comments
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  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

    Unfortunately in my country we can't access Netflix or Hulu (at least not without a USA Proxy VPN server)
    teleios@...
    • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

      @teleios@... Sounds like you need to move to a new country ;)
      vel0city
    • Logic is flawed.

      I would have to disagree. Bluray players are getting to be very cheap these day and while one would think it is unnecessary to include it, it makes more logical sense to have the least amount of clutter. I would much rather use one device capable of everything than 3 or 4. This is where I stand.
      KenleyN
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

    Iwata is spot on. You either have a Blu-Ray player by now or you don't care enough to buy one. To add that technology to the Wii-U will jack up production costs and retail price, which no one likes. It's a very smart move on Nintendo's part. I would think most Wii-U users already have a PS3 anyway.
    Bates_
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

    As far as the us goes providers are starting to limit the amount of data you can download per month or charge extra fees. The days of "unlimited" seem to ending. Don't know how that will affect services like Netflix.
    Joe Dufflebag
    • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

      @Joe Dufflebag

      The arguement is basically the ISP's don't like Netflix et al getting rich off the ISP's infrastructure investment. I imagine the end result is that Netflix will give a cut of each subscription to the ISP and data coming from Netflix won't count against a users allowance.
      OffsideInVancouver
      • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

        @OffsideInVancouver
        I like your idea...I hope that does happen. In Canada, there are no unlimited packages available and the local Blockbuster just closed down.
        kstap
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

    Agree totally with Nintendo on this. Most people that want a DVD or Blu-ray player have one already. Looking forward, it seems that streaming services are going to stop Blu-ray from getting the adoption rates DVD got. It would be neat if there was a USB slot or something to get movies from an external HDD on it, but there's plenty of other methods to achieve the same thing so it's not really that necessary.
    OffsideInVancouver
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

    Well another strike in my opinion. Ive been wanting for a decent NCAA game to play. Over the last year I've been flirting with the idea of buying a second console.
    I was excited about the possibilities of the new system. And was considering waiting. Once I have a new game system I finally have a reason to upgrade my TV/DVD/VCR combo to a HD tv, which means I would also need a way to play my DVDs.
    So Nintendo is now pushing me to buy something else when I upgrade. It might just be easier to buy a PS3 or a 360 now depending on if I care about blu-ray. that way i can play the newest NCAA and not have to worry about EA Sports shafting me again.

    I'm not complaining about the Blu-ray feature, I agree with it jacking up the cost. But arn't DVDs a basic feature now?
    ralexjordan@...
    • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

      @ralexjordan@... Your logic is a little mystifying. Nintendo isn't pushing you to do anything. It is providing a unit to play a game, nothing more. If you already have a DVD player, it will still work with an HD TV set. If you don't have a DVD player, they cost $30 at the local bigbox or $5-10 at any thrift store.

      As for buying a PS3, if you've got the money, no problem.
      terry flores
  • Not a big deal

    Not sure how much Nintendo would have to pay out for licensing costs for DVD/Blu-Ray playback and what other changes would be needed on the hardware side but overall I feel very few use their console as a movie player for disc based movies. I know many people with PS3's and still have a stand-alone Blu-Ray player separate.
    bobiroc
    • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

      @bobiroc I think you're spot on. Its probably not a hardware issue, but rather a licensing issue: why pay for the blu-ray/dvd codec license when your clients (us) don't want it? If it shaves dollars off the price of the console, I think that's a win in my books.
      awkward hug
      • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

        @awkward hug

        It would be interesting if Nintendo was to offer an option to unlock such a feature in the software. Like you said the hardware is more than capable and I cannot see how there would be any functional differences in how the laser reads a game disc compared to a movie disc. Maybe free as part of a monthly/annual subscription like XBOX live does or as an app purchased from the Nintendo's online store like you do with VC and Wii Ware games.
        bobiroc
      • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

        @bobiroc Yeah that'd work! Maybe later they can offer an app to enable that option since its probably just a software and licensing issue - let those who want it pay for it, and those who don't want it don't have to pay for it.

        Also for some reason I can't reply to your reply to my reply.... zdnet comment interface is weird (or I just don't understand it)
        awkward hug
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

    I wouldn't buy a Nintendo product anyways... I find their franchises to be waay too childish...even when I was a child; but if I were thinking about it, not having a DVD or blu-ray drive wouldn't stop me.
    kstap
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

    I love it when a console doubles as a DVD player or Blu-Ray player. I don't own a stand alone DVD or Blu-Ray player. Never have. Why not just have the user pay extra if they want it in the console like the Xbox 1 did? Offer that feature as a download from the Nintendo eShop or something like that. I'd buy. I don't want extra devices hooked up to my TV just to play DVDs or Blu-Rays.
    ccfman2004
    • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

      @ccfman2004

      Agreed.
      Claud.Cutler@...
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

    A similar decision seemed to rocket them into the lead when it was the GameCube vs. the PS2, right?
    Right?
    *crickets chirp*
    jmwells21
    • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

      @jmwells21

      Maybe Nintendo decided to invest some of that money they did not want to spend on Licensing fees into the security of their network and customer's information unlike Sony.

      Also I think Nintendo knows that most homes with a Wii have another console like an XBOX 360 and/or PS3. Even then I tend to think that very few actually used their console to watch movies on disc anyway.
      bobiroc
      • RE: Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem.

        @bobiroc
        I didn't replace my DVD player when it broke down , I used my Xbox360, out of my 3 teenage kids, the 2 oldest of them use their gaming consoles as Media centres to watch DVD's and play music in their rooms, and the 3rd had said he would wait for the release of the new Wii U to replace his old PS2 that he uses for watching DVDs, so I had intended to buy him one - that won't happen now. My nephew uses his gaming console the same way, as do a large majority of his friends ; So I think there is probably a lot more gamers out in the World that use their consoles to watch DVD's than you realise. !
        Lil' Green man