Wii U Supports Social Networks, But Not Blu-Ray/DVD Playback

Published 3 years ago by

Wii U Blu-Ray DVD Social Networks
The Nintendo Wii U has turned many heads since its announcement, despite the fact many details about the actual system still haven’t been revealed. Though the console continues Nintendo’s tradition of giving its hardware head-scratching names, the controller reveal nonetheless has us excited about the system’s potential. As features are slowly being ironed out into confirmed details, we’re beginning to truly see what the Wii U will be like when we get our hands on it next year.


There’s no doubt that watching a movie after a long day at work is a good way to unwind. If you’re looking forward to playing on a movie on your future Wii U and, say, moving it on to your controller’s screen when you have to make a run to the kitchen, you might want to stop yourself right there. During an Investor’s Q&A session this week, Nintendo SEO Satoru Iwata has confirmed that the Wii U will not support playback of either DVD or Blu-Ray movies.

“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.”

Taken together with the news that Wii U will use a last-gen processor, it’s clear that Nintendo is doing everything possible to keep the cost of the system down. This cost-saving strategy shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as the Wii U will be entering a competitive market where both the Xbox and PlayStation 3 cost less than half the price they used to. If Wii U were to come out at a much higher price, many consumers may choose not to buy it after comparing prices. That said, Wii U pricing is still unannounced, though Iwata has been dropping some hints. Still, consumers will be waiting with baited breath — we all remember what it was like when Sony first shouted “Five-hundred-and-ninety-nine US Dollars,” and no one wants to hear that kind of news again.

The original Wii didn’t feature any kind of playback support for DVD, though it was supposed to have been addressed a year or two after launch. This never happened, but it was discovered that you could locally hack your Wii to enable DVD functionality through homebrew. Nintendo will likely have much tighter security on the Wii U, so don’t be expecting a quick and easy fix when you want to pop in a DVD.

Infamous industry analyst Michael Pachter also had some less-than-stellar things to say about Nintendo’s new kid on the block, which mostly had to do with pricing concerns:

“The most impactful ‘reveal’ at the show was the Wii U, which, in our opinion, is arriving two years too late. Depending on pricing, the system will be either a phenomenal success or a phenomenal failure, as competitive bundles for Xbox 360 with Kinect and PS3 with Move are likely to be priced below $300 by the time the Wii U launches.”

While many of the things he’s said in the past have been tough to defend, one thing he mentioned here was pretty-well spot-on: the Wii U’s success will likely hinge upon a good pricing strategy to compete with the bundle packages from Microsoft and Sony. Whether it plays DVDs, Blu-Rays, or nothing at all, the Wii U is a serious competitor with some serious competition.

Iwata, during the investor’s meeting, was also eager to move conversation away from movie playback to Nintendo’s new and fresh online outlook. While the original Wii wasn’t known for ease-of-use when going online, it’s already been confirmed that the Wii U won’t have the hassle of friend codes. It’s definitely a step in the right direction, and we’re happy to see Nintendo is growing more comfortable with giving the players the option to interact with the online world.

“As for social networks, after examining the penetration and adoption rate of social networking services like Facebook, etc., we’ve come to the conclusion that we are no longer in a period where we cannot have any connection at all with social networking services. Rather, I think we’ve come to an era where it’s important to consider how the social graph of the social networking services can work in conjunction with something like a video game platform.”

While Iwata went on to say that Nintendo has a policy of adapting to changes, including social networking and VoIP, he stated that nothing concrete could be said during the meeting. In the next few months, we should expect the social networking partnerships to be solidified and confirmed — we know they’re coming.

What do you think about the Wii U not including DVD or Blu-Ray support? Is social networking an important feature for game consoles?

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Source: Kotaku, Gamasutra, Andriasang

TAGS: Nintendo, Wii U

5 Comments

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  1. I’ve got to be honest here…

    That’s just SORRY.

    I mean… AT LEAST DVD playback here. I wouldn’t be sure if the drive itself is Blu-ray or not. I can see why they would avoid Blu-ray drives due to cost.

    But at the same time… Has it NOT occurred to them that people would STILL buy the console if it cost a little more than the Wii did?

    What bothers me about this is that if it’s not a Blu-ray drive, are the games really going to take full advantage of system’s capabilities? Or are they going to simply cram more DVD discs into their games to fit all of the game’s textures and videos? (e.g. Xbox 360 titles like Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, L.A. Noire…)

    Nintendo was at E3 as we all know. They did a huge reveal… But at the same time, they’ve done even MORE to confuse people afterwards.

    I’m growing more and more skeptical about the worthiness of the Wii U. Especially after the crap they pulled with the Wii. At this juncture, fancy tablet controller aside… I’m NOT willing to put my money down on this machine until Nintendo gets their crap straight and TELLS US what IS and what is NOT. Straight up. Hard facts.

    I hate this whole beating-around-the-bush business.

    • With homebrew, it was possible to play DVDs on the original Wii. In other words, a software tweak is all it takes. As stated above, Blu-Ray is understandable as it needs a whole different type of drive but if it has a DVD drive anyway then why not?

      Also, for a Next-gen console why doesn’t it have a basic function that even the last-gen PS2 had. The PS2 even managed to keep the price down for that.

      Really Nintendo? You’re joking right?

  2. ridiculous.

  3. I’m starting to think the Wii U is just something to hold Nintendo over until they can release a truly revolutionary console. Besides the screen on the controller and more 3rd party support, not much seems different than the Wii.

    Blu-ray may not be a big deal to many, but it would have sweetened the deal for someone like me who still hasn’t purchased a PS3 or blu-ray player.

    If Nintendo is trying to go the inexpensive route, they should release the Wii U for around $250. That would certainly catch people’s eyes.

  4. I do not need any more devices that allow me to connect to social networks. I wouldn’t mind having another Blu-ray player. This is not disastrous news of the “one controller per console” variety, but it is one more little piece of disappointment to throw on what is beginning to look like a mighty large pile.

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