Wii U won't play DVDs or Blu-rays, may support multiple controllers down the road

Nintendo has confirmed that the Wii U will not ship with the ability to play DVDs or Blu-rays. Following the console's reveal last week at E3, Nintendo told investors and analysts that while the system is designed to chug away on Nintendo's own “proprietary high-density [12-cm] optical discs”, it would not support a playback feature for commercial DVDs and Blu-rays, explaining that most consumers already have umpteen ways to enjoy media of this ilk. According to Nintendo, it just wouldn't make fiscal sense to add to the clutter.

"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," said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.

Addressing further concerns over the Wii U's hardware, specifically the notion it will only support one of the newfangled touchscreen controllers, Iwata revealed that Nintendo is open to exploring multi-controller options, suggesting, “In the future, we may look at what other opportunities there are for gameplay and, how having two of those controllers might create fun or interesting new styles of play, but of course in doing that, it would require a consumer to purchase an additional controller. Therefore, we would need to carefully consider how we could create such an experience and, potentially, how we could ensure that there would be enough value within that experience for the consumer to accept that cost and make that purchase.”

Nintendo appears to be taking a defensive stance following the Wii U's debut at E3 2011. And while the omission of DVD and Blu-ray playback makes some sense (remember, the Wii initially skipped this feature as well and the world continued to spin), the hesitancy regarding multiple controllers does seem contrary to the company's “let's let everyone enjoy the same experience” philosophy. Granted, Nintendo still has some time to change its mind on these things, but knowing what we currently do now, do the Wii U's features (or lack thereof) increase of decrease your interest in the Big N's next big thing?

Jun 15, 2011

[Source: Nintendo]

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  • Averagegamer18 - June 16, 2011 7:12 p.m.

    I said it once and I will say it again. I will only buy a Wii U if the new Zelda game absolutely requires it. If not then I won't be buying one
  • IvansTreehouse - June 16, 2011 3:33 p.m.

    Ironically (to me), buying a WiiU would mean adding another device to my "cluttered" entertainment area. I would have gladly replaced my DVD or BluRay player for a WiiU with DVD/Blu Ray playback. Still in today's economy, I commend Nintendo for cutting that corner to save TONS of cost.
  • FoxdenRacing - June 16, 2011 2:57 p.m.

    @Joco: Nintendo's never cared about being the 'only' console...only that they're in people's homes. Playing the game to be 'the one console to rule them all' is a losing proposition...leads to an arms race, cuts into margins, and increases the likelihood of very expensive blunders.
  • Joco84 - June 16, 2011 2:06 p.m.

    While I do like the idea in principle, in order to keep costs down, I do worry about Nintendo's thinking. If the Wii U is going to be a more powerful console when compared to a PS3 or 360, then when it comes to gamers choosing which one to keep as a gaming console, instead to removing the PS3 and keeping the Wii U as sole console, they'll see the Blu-Ray capability as another reason to keep the console. Nintendo need to do everything the others do and more, in order for them to become the sole console in households. If they continue to do things like this, they will always sit alongside another console at best.
  • fatguy19 - June 16, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    Surely if the controller your using isbigger then the conole intself thers something seriously wrong
  • AqueousBoy - June 16, 2011 1:38 p.m.

    @justinbanda It wasn't necessarily a given that Wii U wouldn't use Blu-ray. Blu-ray Disc Association owns the rights (of which Sony is a founding member) and they'd be more than happy to provide Nintendo with a license, I'm sure. But that's an extra cost per unit and Nintendo would rather go proprietary as a matter of control. It's not a surprise there's no DVD or Blu-ray support. Nintendo has made their position clear before that they make game consoles, not an all-in-one entertainment centre. Keep in mind that practically every home has a DVD player already. Also, Blu-ray disc sales are dismal because more and more people are eschewing physical media for services like Netflix, which of course is available on the Wii and no doubt will be for the Wii U. So if it keeps the console cost down and keeps in line with current trends, what's the problem?
  • Fizban - June 16, 2011 6:03 a.m.

    It looks like it's going to be using a proprietary disc system with discs that hold 25GB, if that's the case then it's probably using a blue laser, so in theory could read blu-ray discs. If they want to cut the cost of the initial product, why don't they bulk buy the license and let the consumer make a choice - make Blu-Ray compatibility a chargeable download option from the download store and let them bear the cost of the functionality if they want it.
  • 435 - June 16, 2011 4:05 a.m.

    @efreed: Different argument. You're turning it into a comparative where it is not. @KA: Agreed. No matter what their reasoning, what it's showing to me is that they're cutting corners to make a release window.
  • justinbanda - June 16, 2011 2:34 a.m.

    This is not good news. That WiiU would ship without Blu-Ray functionality was practically a given; Sony owns the proprietary rights to that media. But DVD? Seriously? The original Wii can't even play movies off of a USB drive! I got a PS3 last Christmas, and my family has actually used it more for watching movies (BD, DVD, and USB) than I have for games. A console that cannot serve as an all-inclusive entertainment system is a console that's not going to work for most families. Most people use 360s and PS3s as dual-purpose systems.
  • efreed52 - June 16, 2011 1:34 a.m.

    @KREATIVEassassin how can you call nintendo a joke when microsoft spent time during their press conference on kinect games like disneyland adventures and sesame street? Anyway, i have a dvd player what do i need a second one for?
  • CombatWombat101 - June 16, 2011 12:55 a.m.

    @510BrotherPanda: "That Twilight Princess HD trailer just didn't do it for me. Mostly because Link is right-handed in it." Boo. Fucking. Hoo.
  • KREATIVEassassin - June 16, 2011 12:45 a.m.

    Nintendo is a goddamn joke now. Everything I read and see about this system turns me off of it more and more.
  • 510BrotherPanda - June 16, 2011 12:23 a.m.

    I don't plan to be interested in this until they can come up with innovative-enough software for that controller, and fix the weird placement of those sticks and buttons. That Twilight Princess HD trailer just didn't do it for me. Mostly because Link is right-handed in it.
  • 4fromK - June 16, 2011 12:10 a.m.

    That is a surpisingly sane point coming from nintendo. sure it saved them a load in liscensing fees or whatever too so the console will be cheaper for it.
  • chrisat928 - June 15, 2011 11:30 p.m.

    "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," And we don't have enough devices that can play video games? /troll
  • bobob101 - June 15, 2011 11:29 p.m.

    I am more of a solo gamer than anything else, so I like this new console even more than the old Wii

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