No DVD or Blu-ray in Wii U: Nintendo

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News Posted: Fri, Jun 17 2011 8:35 AM
If you either hoped or assumed that since Nintendo's Wii U is going to finally match, or perhaps (hopefully) even surpass the specs of the Xbox 360 and PS3, it would also support Blu-ray or DVD optical discs, don't hold your breath. 

Buried in the 2011 E3 Analyst Q&A Session, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said the next-generation Nintendo gaming console won't play DVD or Blu-ray discs:
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.
Although some of us would love to get rid of one extra device connected to our TV, the Wii isn't going to help in that direction.

The Blu-ray drive that came as part of the PS3 was credited with helping Sony's high-definition optical disc format to beat out HD-DVD. Based on the word "cost," it sounds like Nintendo didn't see much use to paying the necessary licensing fees for DVD or Blu-ray support.

The Wii U will debut in 2012 (sometime). Since we ourselves predicted that Blu-ray's win over HD-DVD would be short-lived, it's probably not that severe a loss. On the other hand, we certainly hope that the Wii U will have the ability to play Netflix streams.
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LBowen replied on Fri, Jun 17 2011 11:40 AM

I personally think it's a smart move by Nintendo. Blu-Ray has been out for quite awhile now so those really interested should already have a player or something in mind to purchase down the road. Nintendo should instead focus on getting some quality developers and new ip for the Wii U.

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omegadraco replied on Fri, Jun 17 2011 12:56 PM

Well that is somewhat depressing, I was really hoping to be one of those people who was able to get rid of a device. Though I do understand the reasoning for this move with licensing the technology and then the cost being built into the console and passed down to the user.

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LauRoman replied on Fri, Jun 17 2011 2:57 PM

Yea, the ideea is also that Nintendo would pay Sony royalties which they might not do. However what kind of disc format would hold a game that is bigger then 8.5 GB. Somehow i think a HD-UMD-like (pun on sony psp format) format would not do that good.

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humm another format in the format war? I think I would have just been better to use blueray or HD/DVD. 

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Joel H replied on Fri, Jun 17 2011 4:44 PM

There's a big difference between paying DVD /Blu-ray royalties and using disc technology based on the principles of DVD/Blu-ray storage. The Wii U's discs are expected to hold up to 25GB of data. No, you won't be able to watch DVDs or Blu-rays, but that's because Nintendo isn't licensing the playback rights.

In other words, we can expect the Wii U's discs to hold about 2.8x more data the Wii.

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Thanks for the additional information Joel. So I wonder if they are actually going to be Blu-ray discs and just not have the software layer to play the movie discs and decrypt them. If that ends up being the case then I am sure some home brew software designer will hack the Wii U to play the discs. I am sure they are not going to take away the Netflix streaming since I am sure it does not even need to be rewritten for the Wii U.

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MCook replied on Fri, Jun 17 2011 8:16 PM

"Since we ourselves predicted that Blu-ray's win over HD-DVD would be short-lived"

Short lived? Blu-Ray is still alive and well, and growing ;)

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rrplay replied on Fri, Jun 17 2011 8:31 PM

Makes sound business sense to me especially when it will  not be out until 2012, But agree that it would be nice to be able to play Netflix streams

.Might be a bit more interesting to see what the responses with 'focus groups' as.to the useability and playability instead..

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Manduh replied on Fri, Jun 17 2011 9:24 PM

If it makes it cheaper, it's a great move!

I haven't read too much on the Wii U but I sure as heck hope the picture quality is better than the Wii. I have mine hooked up to a 56in LCD hdtv and it looks like shyte compared to PS3 games and vids! I won't bother running netflix on it, terrible.

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"I knew this a while back. I'm fine with Nintendo's decision. Like Lbowen said, If you want to watch Blu-Ray movies, you probably have A PS3, I mean a Blu-ray player already. What matters down the road is the games and the fact that wi will have a new toy to play with."

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AKwyn replied on Sat, Jun 18 2011 2:24 AM

Eh. I have to disagree with both Manduh and LBowen.

I am one of the few who don't have a Blu-Ray Player/PS3 and while I'm sure that many people have an Xbox 360 that plays DVDs or a PS3 that plays both, I'm one of the ones who lack a PS3 (I do have an Xbox 360 though.)

I'm disappointed that they're not going to support the playback of Blu-Ray's and PS3's (as that would of been a good selling point for me.) but that's not going to stop me from anticipating the Wii U's release.

 

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Joel H replied on Sat, Jun 18 2011 12:21 PM

Blu-ray adoption is proceeding, but faces challenges from downloadable media. In the end, I think the two will establish a rough parity. Blu-ray will appeal most to users who want included extras and/or the higher fidelity of the format (as compared to HDTV streaming, which is inevitably compressed). Since the quality gap between the former and the latter can vary tremendously depending on Internet connection speed, the fidelity of the film in question, and what the consumer perceives as convenient, I don't think there's an easy way to compare the two.

If what you really want is to watch videos on your iPhone / iPad, downloads are going to make a lot more sense. If you've got a 60" TV, Blu-ray may be more appealing.

I don't expect Blu-ray to achieve the same market level penetration as DVD did, simply because there's a credible alternative to Blu-ray that didn't exist with DVDs. The same devices that make downloading movies/TV shows a credible alternative have also drastically increased the size of the market.

Blu-ray players are, in a sense, traditional. They marry HDTVs to high-end players, in almost exactly the same way DVDs combined with standard TVs (albeit with a few more features). Downloadable content, in contrast, exists on an entire range of devices that didn't exist just five years ago. It's for that reason that I think the download market is ultimately larger than the Blu-ray market. That's another reason why BD won't hit the same level of market penetration--the two formats only partially overlap.

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Joel H replied on Sun, Jun 19 2011 12:20 PM

Manduh,

Are you using component cables or composite cables for the Wii? If you use the composite cable that came default with the system, you're watching 480i (standard TV). Upgrade to the composite cables, and you'll get 480p. That might not seem like a huge difference, but it's very noticeable in real life. I saw a huge different in clarity and color when I updated--at I was using a 24" LCD.

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Manduh replied on Sun, Jun 19 2011 12:28 PM

I thought about doing that but I didn't think it would make much of a difference because I find with our tv being so big everything looks craptacular, especially with being used to watching HD tv and using the ps3 for everything else. Rarely do we ever watch tv channels that aren't high def because of that. 

I'll try it out though, thanks :D Hopefully it will make a difference. :S

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Joel H replied on Wed, Jun 22 2011 5:06 PM

Manduh,

It makes a huge difference. It won't make the Wii magically equal an XBox 360's 1080p, but it *will* look much better.

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