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Nintendo Wii U Can't Play DVD and Blu-ray Movies

Posted by: , 15:07 AEST, Fri June 17, 2011

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You won't be able to play any disc based movies on the Wii U due to cost reasons, says Nintendo boss

Following the launch of Nintendo's Wii U at E3, the general consensus is that the Wii U really is aimed at pretty much everybody, from casual gamers, to those more hardcore, and even the smartphone gaming people. But apparently, movie lovers may have to look elsewhere.

While it's very likely that the Wii U will support digital streaming services, much like how the Wii supports Netflix, due to the proprietary disc format Nintendo insists on using, and cost reasons, it appears that DVD and Blu-ray movie playback is no on the cards.

During an answer and question session at E3, Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata tried to explain why the Wii U, which will use a disc with Blu-ray like capacity, will not be supporting either DVD or Blu-ray playback. "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." 

Both Sony and Microsoft, the major competitors for Nintendo, holds patents in relation to Blu-ray and the video codecs used by the format.

While Iwata does have a point, in that practically every disc loading device today can play DVDs, and that Blu-ray player pricing now means it will soon be a budget electronic item at the stores, consumers increasingly view their game consoles as more than just for games, but as a multimedia hub (A recent report found that 49% of all PS3 owners play Blu-ray movies regularly on their game consoles, for example).

And with the Wii U's innovative 6.2" touch-screen controller, it may just be the perfect interactive remote for movie playback, or perhaps even taking your movies with you (as long as you don't stray too far from the console). But only for digital movies, probably, not discs.

Do you think that not including at least a DVD player in the Wii U will hurt Nintendo, or do you think Nintendo is right and that most people don't need another movie disc player? Post your answer in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread:


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