Wii U won't have support for DVD or Blu-Ray movies

While Nintendo's upcoming Wii U game console will be more powerful than the current generation of game consoles, don't expect the device to play any of your collection of DVD and Blu-Ray movie disks. Nintendo has posted up an English version of an investor Q&A with its president Satoru Iwata that was held during E3 2011. During that interview he states, "Wii U does not have DVD or Blu-ray playback capabilities." He added that Nintendo's reasoning for such a decision "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."

DVD movie playback has been a part of the PS2 console since its 2000 launch and for the original Xbox when it was released in 2001. Nintendo's GameCube was also launched in 2001 but used a proprietary disk format that was smaller than the traditional DVD disk. In 2005 the Xbox 360 launched with DVD playback and later released an add-on that allowed the console to play HD-DVD movies. Sony launched the PS3 in 2006 and was one of the first devices to offer Blu-Ray movie playback (it also can play DVD movie disks). In 2007 the HD-DVD movie disk format was discontinued and Microsoft abandoned the HD-DVD add-on device. The Wii used a more conventional DVD disk format but is still unable to play DVD movies although at one time Nintendo had plans to offer such support.

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And Nintendo still wonders why the stock dropped?

At this point it would be easier and perhaps more profittable to stop building consoles all together and just sell Mario and other Nintendo exclusive games for PS3 and/or XBOX.

Or even better just sell out to Sony, Microsoft or some other big shot and just call it quits.

In the scenario that the console has the hardware to do it, couldn't they make DVD and Blu-Ray playback an unlockable feature that you could purchase separately?

That way, only those who would like to have that capability could pay for it, and the others wouldn't get charged for a feature they don't use.

For example, Archos does this for their portable media player and their codec pack. If you're fine with the initial playback capability then no need to spend more money, otherwise you can purchase an additional codec pack that is licensed. Having the choice is always better.

Looks like they didnt learn a damn thing. Thats just sad. It needs to play movies otherwise you have no reason to buy their console vs someone else's.

Max Norris said,
Unless of course you buy a game console to play the games.
You can just use it on 360 or PS3. I am specifically talking about 3rd party titles. Which is where nintendo is extremely lacking right now.

Gotenks98 said,
Looks like they didnt learn a damn thing. Thats just sad. It needs to play movies otherwise you have no reason to buy their console vs someone else's.

You mean the Mario and Zelda franchise are on the 360 now?

TRC said,

You mean the Mario and Zelda franchise are on the 360 now?


If you had read his reply, you would have seen he was talking about 3rd party titles (which does not include Mario and Zelda).

TRC said,

You mean the Mario and Zelda franchise are on the 360 now?

having 1st party titles is not enough to justify having the console. Resident evil is the only title worth getting that's 3rd party and that's because there is no other option to get re4 other than gamecube or jaggie infested ps2.

Nintendo just fail, I mean a old xbox can do this -_-. And the original Wii COULD play DVDs but just not the software. Why should I have a Wii U and have to purchase a DVD player for my bedroom when I could just buy a 360 and Kinect that'll be cheaper.

Benjy91 said,
Shelf space at a persons TV is very competitive. If a piece of tech can't pull its weight....

competitive to what? the other devices you already have than can play dvds and blurays. If you are looking for an all-in-one device in the Wii or Wii u then im sorry its mostly gaming device with a picture viewer and netflix support thrown in on the software side. That doesnt mean they cant add dvd support for a small price as an download.

In the UK they won't ever have services as good as Netflix, they have very victorian broadband caps. Even the "unlimited" ones are no more than 100gb, go over that twice in two consecutive months, and expect a Nasty letter from the ISP.

Stifling innovation isn't going to be lifted anytime soon while cash lines fat cat pockets. It's a tradition in the UK after all for hundreds of years.....selling less for more.

nintendo should have dvd support and allow users to unlock the support by paying $5 that way the console will be a low cost to all but those who want dvd playback support can purchase it.

most dvd players sold have scart connections, wii u has hdmi, much better quality being digital and upscaled than crappy scart.

last time I use a console for a DVD player? gawd that was like the original XBOX probably and maybe once or twice at most?

If they had online video options equivalent to the 360 and PS3 then that would be acceptable, but if they don't how can they expect this system to be for hardcore people when they are still acting like they want to cut corners and be cheap. Simply adding HD doesn't make a system ah uber hardcore or something. The more they release about this system the less hope I have that Nintendo themselves will actually change how they operate.

tiagosilva29 said,
My Sega Saturn plays audio CDs. But my fiancée's Wii doesn't.

Out of the box, no. But it's very easy to get a Wii to play audio CD's and DVD movies, along with various streaming sources etc.

Max Norris said,
Out of the box, no. But it's very easy to get a Wii to play audio CD's and DVD movies, along with various streaming sources etc.
The whole point of bang-for-buck is getting the most out of something, for a decent price. While I have nothing against the homebrew/DIY crew, Nintendo's doing... is ridiculous.

i dont care for dvd player ive got 5 in the house and i dont use them, nor will i buy a bluray player either. hell my xbox360 does all my streaming for me and ive got a standalone hdd/usb stick player in my daughters play room. if it makes it cheaper by not including it im fine with that

DKAngel said,
i dont care for dvd player ive got 5 in the house and i dont use them, nor will i buy a bluray player either. hell my xbox360 does all my streaming for me and ive got a standalone hdd/usb stick player in my daughters play room. if it makes it cheaper by not including it im fine with that

I agree completely. I have an xbox360 that serves solely as a media centre extender, and it has never been used as a DVD player. I have a 5 disc changer for a DVD player, and the only time it gets used is when I'm watching a TV series and don't want to get up and change discs every few episodes. Everything else I bought has been ripped and streams to my Xbox, Xoom and PCs.

Years ago, I'd be outraged that again they put out a device that doesn't play DVD, but now I'd rather they kept the costs down on the WiiU, because my media requirements are already being met.

fourinjuly4ij said,
All the people complaining about this...are you not the same people that were arguing that physical media is dead?

Not me

fourinjuly4ij said,
All the people complaining about this...are you not the same people that were arguing that physical media is dead?

In my opinion, the DVD will be here for quite some time for multiple reasons. I do stream my movies from Zune to the Xbox, however I still buy movies on DVD format and a lot of music on CDs. Hell I always like having my installation disc around for any software i buy

Price wise, decisions like this are why Nintendo release WAY below what Sony and MS do. And they will sell a lot of these.

leeoniya said,
makes sense, but only if it translates to lower cost for both - Nintendo AND the consumer

Which it won't Nintendo have always charged more for less hardware, even back in the SNES days (the SNES CPU was something like 3x slower than the Genesis)

cooky560 said,

Which it won't Nintendo have always charged more for less hardware, even back in the SNES days (the SNES CPU was something like 3x slower than the Genesis)


The only thing that was more powerful in the Genesis was the actual CPU but the SNES custom chips/modes, such as Mode 7 (advanced scaling, rotation, psudo3D via morphing 2D backgrounds etc), and some obvious things like a far bigger colour palette (32,768 vs. 512), 4 background layers vs. 2 background layers, and the ability to display many more simultaneous sprites on-screen at any one time (128 vs. 80), simply pushed it beyond the Genesis.

DKAngel said,

The only thing that was more powerful in the Genesis was the actual CPU but the SNES custom chips/modes, such as Mode 7 (advanced scaling, rotation, psudo3D via morphing 2D backgrounds etc), and some obvious things like a far bigger colour palette (32,768 vs. 512), 4 background layers vs. 2 background layers, and the ability to display many more simultaneous sprites on-screen at any one time (128 vs. 80), simply pushed it beyond the Genesis.

Wow. This article is bringing out the old school fanbois!

cooky560 said,
Which it won't Nintendo have always charged more for less hardware, even back in the SNES days (the SNES CPU was something like 3x slower than the Genesis)

Genesis has the megaCD addon, if the snesCD addon was made, I'd expect it to be similar in specs to the MSU1 design, see http://byuu.org/snes/msu1/

leeoniya said,
makes sense, but only if it translates to lower cost for both - Nintendo AND the consumer

The Original Wii drive COULD play DVDs. It was not the cost, they are too lazy to provide software support, if you homebrew your Wii it plays DVDs

DKAngel said,

The only thing that was more powerful in the Genesis was the actual CPU but the SNES custom chips/modes, such as Mode 7 (advanced scaling, rotation, psudo3D via morphing 2D backgrounds etc), and some obvious things like a far bigger colour palette (32,768 vs. 512), 4 background layers vs. 2 background layers, and the ability to display many more simultaneous sprites on-screen at any one time (128 vs. 80), simply pushed it beyond the Genesis.

Oh yeah? Well the Genesis has Blast processing!

TechDudeGeorge said,

The Original Wii drive COULD play DVDs. It was not the cost, they are too lazy to provide software support, if you homebrew your Wii it plays DVDs

You are wrong. The DVD technology is patented and Nintendo would have to pay extra licensing costs for providing decoding capabilities for DVD playback. The homebrew alternative is an unstable, incomplete open-source DVD decoder, which is far inferior for a commericial product.

So, yes, it was about costs.

Max Norris said,

Have you actually priced a Wii versus a 360 or PS3?

thats like comparing an intel atom to sandy bridge cpu and proclaiming the atom is better because its cheaper

kaffra said,
thats like comparing an intel atom to sandy bridge cpu and proclaiming the atom is better because its cheaper

The word "better" was never used. Just cost.

n_K said,
It's not longer a shock why their stock market value dropped 10%.

The fact that they try to keep the price down on their consoles is one of the reasons why they have sold well in the past. The Wii would not have been as successful as it was if it included a Blu-Ray player.

So, no, this cannot in any way be connected to why their stock market value dropped.

Colicab said,
Major Fail!

How is this a "major" fail when people probably already have at least one BR player in the house already? Doesn't have an XM receiver or cable-TV decoder in it either. Fail?

Max Norris said,

How is this a "major" fail when people probably already have at least one BR player in the house already? Doesn't have an XM receiver or cable-TV decoder in it either. Fail?
I wouldn't go so far as to say most people have a BR player. DVD for sure, but BR is still not widely adapted by people I know unless they have a PS3

Max Norris said,

How is this a "major" fail when people probably already have at least one BR player in the house already? Doesn't have an XM receiver or cable-TV decoder in it either. Fail?

Thats not even a fair arguement. No consoles have XM or cable-TV support.
Youre comparing apples and oranges now.

Its called standards, all consoles now (besides the Wii U I guess) have DVD support.

Max Norris said,

How is this a "major" fail when people probably already have at least one BR player in the house already? Doesn't have an XM receiver or cable-TV decoder in it either. Fail?

I think can think of a scenario where it's a major fail. I am not a major gamer so i only have 1 console at a time that is rarely used (could also only have room for 1, and not have the funds to buy an extra, or youngster only allowed 1).

In that case if i wanted a Wii U i would sell my PS3 and buy it with those funds, but now the Wii U wont have a Blu-ray there is absolutely no way it will be replacing my PS3.

I know there are plenty who will buy it in addition, but there are plenty who sell old kit to buy new, me being one of them.

If this console is going to put up a good fight it needs to tick all the 'can it replace my current console' boxes.

It's a fair point though. It's being sold as a gaming console. Personally if I wanted a media center device I can do much better with something put together that runs everything versus being locked into whatever happens to work on that particular console. No PS3's required.

xbamaris said,

No consoles have XM or cable-TV support.


The 360 has support for AT&T's Uverse so it works as a a Set Top Box.

That aside I do think they should include at least DVD support.

chisss said,

The 360 has support for AT&T's Uverse so it works as a a Set Top Box.

That aside I do think they should include at least DVD support.

The poster I was quoting before was saying cable-TV DECODER which is hardware and has a coax-in. The UVerse support is software.

But yes. I agree. It has a DVD reader so would it really be that difficult? Geeze. Lazy Nintendo. Its either that or they arnt willing to pay for the DVD decoders.

xbamaris said,
Geeze. Lazy Nintendo. Its either that or they arnt willing to pay for the DVD decoders.

Exactly as the article stated. They didn't want to increase the cost of the unit on redundant features, which in turn drives up the cost to the consumer.

Max Norris said,

How is this a "major" fail when people probably already have at least one BR player in the house already?

I don't. They're too expensive.

Meph said,

I don't. They're too expensive.

And if you cannot afford a BR player already, you wouldn't be able to afford the Wii U with the increased cost of including that either. The BR player was one of the major reasons for the high cost of the PS3.

And virtually everyone has a DVD player in their house already, meaning there is no reason for Nintendo to include it in this console. At least I do not want to pay extra for a redundant feature, and I assume those who want has no valid argument for why they cannot use their other DVD players instead of their Wii U for playing DVDs.

Kreuger said,
I wouldn't go so far as to say most people have a BR player. DVD for sure, but BR is still not widely adapted by people I know unless they have a PS3

I wouldn't pay for a Blue Ray player. They are so expensive and the movies are even worse.

Dan~ said,
They should have this, should be like an excellent console with good media box facilities.

Wii already has Netflix. WiiU could have more, if not all, online media facilities. Why do you need DVD or Blu-ray?

Voice of Buddy Christ said,

Wii already has Netflix... Why do you need DVD or Blu-ray?

Because we don't all live in USA. The UK just doesn't have anything in the same league as Netflix.

Voice of Buddy Christ said,

Wii already has Netflix. WiiU could have more, if not all, online media facilities. Why do you need DVD or Blu-ray?

Because in Canada, bandwidth cost an arm and a leg.

Manish said,

Because we don't all live in USA. The UK just doesn't have anything in the same league as Netflix.

Thank You... And not only UK, but the other countries of the world...

Voice of Buddy Christ said,

Wii already has Netflix. WiiU could have more, if not all, online media facilities. Why do you need DVD or Blu-ray?

Because I hate having multiple devices in my living room. Currently only the xbox360 slim and my TV

Voice of Buddy Christ said,

Wii already has Netflix. WiiU could have more, if not all, online media facilities. Why do you need DVD or Blu-ray?

Comcast & AT&T, two of the largest ISPs in the USA have data caps. Also, DVD penetration in the USA is at ~57%. Blu-Ray penetration is at ~17% in the USA. For first time console buyers it is quite possible that they don't have a DVD player. It's also possible that someone could be buying a console for a child's bedroom, and when given the choice between a $150 Wii U (low estimate) and a $199 XBox 360 that does offer DVD playback, I may get the device that allows my kid to play DVDs in his room too.