News Article

Wii U Won't Support Blu-ray or DVD Playback

Posted by Trevor Chan

So don't bother trying

With news that the Wii U won't be compatible with GameCube games, and that the console's proprietary disc format is able to hold an amount of data that rivals the PlayStation 3, we naturally wonder if the console will be able to play Blu-ray Discs, or even DVDs.

At this year's E3 analyst Q&A session, hopes of being able to play the aforementioned formats on the Wii U have been dashed as Satoru Iwata had the following response to a question on the console's multimedia functionalities:

Wii U does not have DVD or Blu-ray playback capabilities... 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.

It's not like Nintendo consoles have a history of being able to play CDs or DVDs so this shouldn't come as a surprise, but does it come as a disappointment? With plans to have the Netflix service available on the console, perhaps Nintendo is satisfied in continuing to provide streaming media with its next home console.

[via nintendo.co.jp]

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User Comments (83)

Bacon_Gal_Blaze

#1

Bacon_Gal_Blaze said:

Nintendo have really got to add something new to their Home Consoles, they have to have these type of things.

monkat

#2

monkat said:

Are you kidding me? It's 2011. 2012 when the console hits. It is time for DVD playback--no. It was time in 2001. Now it's just ridiculous, and frankly makes me a little bit...uninterested in the Wii U.

Tornado

#4

Tornado said:

I feel like quoting Lando Calrissian: "This deal is getting worse all the time!"

SilentJ

#6

SilentJ said:

I'm really disappointed. I would've been ok with no bluray but no cd/dvd playback again?! I'm sure it'll still sell like hotcakes.

Edit: I already have a bluray player but I keep my Wii in another room so dvd playback would be a very welcome feature. This won't stop me from buying the Wii U though.

Will_Ireland

#7

Will_Ireland said:

@1+2+4 whats the problem? Most people already have multiple devices for DVD playback in their household. Do you really need to pay extra for another? Nintendos bang on to exclude it.

edit +6!

FonistofCruxis

#8

FonistofCruxis said:

@monkat You're uninterested in a games console because it can't play blu-ray or DVDs? Thats just stupid, its main purpose is to play games so other features like this shouldn't be a deciding factor on whether to get a console or not.

md1500

#9

md1500 said:

Sony owned the Blu-Ray format so it made sense for their consoles to support it.
Look at it the other way - would Sony have included Blu-Ray if Nintendo owned it? Doubtful.
If Nintendo had included Blu-Ray, they'd have to pay money to Sony - their rival - every time a console or game was bought - and it would make everything far more expensive.

komicturtle

#10

komicturtle said:

y'know, I don't mind this. I have Netflix to watch movies (on Wii or my computer) and well, for DVDs, there's my computer as they look better on it.

Just as my Wii can play DVDs through a special (software) method- Nintendo could easily issue a firmware update or even distribute software if they wanted to so people can play DVDs. Though, I don't use it to watch movies... Just to play video games :P

CapedGodot

#11

CapedGodot said:

[inb4argument about Blu-Ray Ownership]
Honestly' I don't care in the slightest. If it's anything like the Wii, it'll be softmod-able to allow DVD and/or Blu-Ray anyway.

sc100

#12

sc100 said:

At first I didn't like this news but then I thought more about what Iwata is saying. I already have two DVD players at my house, so realistically, would I have used the Wii U's DVD playback feature? Probably not. And I definitely don't need to. Everybody I know has at least one DVD player in their house already, usually two, one on the computer and one on the TV. I think far more people will benefit from the Wii U price savings from not having DVD playback than those that don't have a DVD player on their TV and would benefit from a Wii U with DVD playback. I just wonder how much extra it would have cost to add these features.

WolfRamHeart

#13

WolfRamHeart said:

Not sure how many times it has been said already but Sony does NOT own Blu-ray.

This is definitely one less reason to own a Wii U. Whether you like it or not these features sell systems and not having this ability lessens the appeal to potential customers. The Wii U should be able to do everything that the Xbox 360/PS3 can and more. Nintendo should have at least allowed for DVD playback. Seriously, how hard can that be? This may not stop me from buying a Wii U but for a lot of people this is going to be a deal breaker and Nintendo needs all the sales that it can get. This is just another reason to keep my Xbox 360 and PS3 under my TV set.

Sir_Deadly

#14

Sir_Deadly said:

Umm i dnt really care if there is dvd playback. Thats y i have a dvd player. Or i could use my 360 or ps3 which i have both of them. Soo people who are complaining bout this, go buy yourself a cheap dvd player or if u have one use that.

Burning_Spear

#17

Burning_Spear said:

Can't see having paid another $50 or $75 for DVD or Blu-ray. It's a gaming machine. When did DVD playback become a part of gaming? Why not add a coffee maker at the same time?

Retro_on_theGo

#18

Retro_on_theGo said:

Gamecube all over again. Sigh, I honestly don't care I'll still buy it, but I can see this thing not selling. History repeats itself.

Pod

#20

Pod said:

I'm happy they're leaving this out.

It's important for Nintendo to signify that their machine's primary function is playing video games.

Danimals

#21

Danimals said:

I find it odd that Iwata would say the Wii U can't read Gamecube discs. The Wii disc is the same format as the Gamecube disc; it just uses a full-size disc rather than that MiniDVD-sized discs. If the Wii U can't play GC games, it won't be because it can't read the disc- the same as how PS3s no longer play PS2 games.

SwerdMurd

#22

SwerdMurd said:

wasn't expecting it. As long as it plays movie files I'm fine with it--I rarely watch Blu-Rays on my PS3, much less DVDs.

Xiao_Pai

#23

Xiao_Pai said:

Like what Jango said really....I could care less...its a gaming system, not a multimedia/DVD/BluRay/coffee maker/ice cream dispenser/ ATM/pizza oven system. >_>

Beechbone

#24

Beechbone said:

Sure I can play BD via my laptop but it'd be more convienent for me to have BD playback on a device that will be constantly connected to my display. Still, I copletely understand Nintendo and it won't affect my choice of buying Wii U.

RyuZebian

#25

RyuZebian said:

@7
The problem isn't about price, really. It's about Nintendo seing this as some kind of way to combat piracy or something stupid like that!
... Now if you excuse me, I'm going over to Kotaku to deliver some swearing.

tylers_username

#26

tylers_username said:

ok its settled im getting a vita (no, not a life, as i already have one) for christmas instead of money for this.

Nintendophile

#27

Nintendophile said:

Yes, most people have other means to watch DVDs. But it's the CONVENIENCE factor that an included DVD player would have. I know I'm running out of plugs in the back of my TV, so anything I'd be able to combine would be wonderful. Is it lazy to not want to have to turn off one system and plug in another? Yes. Would it be convenient to have a DVD player included in Wii U? Also yes.

thanos316

#28

thanos316 said:

so what if u can't play dvds or blu rays on it. the wii didn't and people still got it to play dvds eventually and im sure the same will happen for the wii u. and if ninty wants to save me some pennies then im all for it.

Kirk

#29

Kirk said:

Blue-Ray support was always unlikely but no CD/DVD playback is just cheap.

daznsaz

#30

daznsaz said:

boo hoo oh wait ive got a stereo and a dvd player how can you play a game if someones watching a film or listening to a cd

WolfRamHeart

#33

WolfRamHeart said:

Imagine how cool it would have been to watch one of your DVDs or Blu-ray movies streamed to your Wii U controller while a person in the same room is watching something else on TV. Too bad that won't be happening now but I think that would have been awesome. I hope that Netflix will be able to be streamed to the Wii U controller at least.

bro2dragons

#34

bro2dragons said:

People are upset about this? It will make the Wii U far cheaper to purchase, and come on... raise your hand if you honestly don't have any other sort of DVD player in your house. :P

Angelic_Lapras_King

#36

Angelic_Lapras_King said:

Once upon a time, there was a Gamecube that could play DVDs released in Japan. Despite its sexy silver look, it flopped. The End.

No point upping the price just to pay for DVD and Blu Ray playback.

Despair1087

#37

Despair1087 said:

what the H even my dreamcast plays CDs >:[ lol

i really dont care at all because i already have a DVD and CD players and i dont need another one, but i think had they included it, it probably would have sold the wii u better. just adding that simple feature would probably make nintendo waaaay more money than it cost them.

Tasuki

#39

Tasuki said:

What they said makes total sense. I have a Blu-Ray Player, I have a computer that I can watch DVDs on as well as an Xbox 360 the next thing I need is another device that can play movies on it. The only movies I watch on my video game consoles are streamed from Netflix if I want to watch a disc I use the Blu-Ray Player. Also without the addition of Blu-ray or DVD play back it will make the Wii U cheaper I mean that controller is going to be expansive enough already.

Geez people honestly we buy video game systems to play video games on not to use as DVD/Blu-ray players. If thats the reason you buy a video game system for just buy a Blu-ray player if you something to watch movie discs on instead of a video game system.

Xiao_Pai

#40

Xiao_Pai said:

Imagine if the Wii had all of this and when it launched then everyone would be complaining about the price. xD

timp29

#41

timp29 said:

@4-Tornardo Lando knows the score!

Anyway, I thought Nintendo said they wanted the nintendo Wii U to be the first thing that people turned on when they went into the living room. Making the Wii U able to play the DVD format would have at least helped this cause. Kids could watch movies on the handheld device so that parents got some time out. Would have been awesome! At the least it better be able to play *.avi, *.mkv and *.mp4 for this reason.

Maybe they have to pay some licence to be able to play these formats and avoiding this will make the console cheaper? I must admit I feel that once you hit a couple of hundred in cost it more important to keep the cost from rising further than tacking on extra features.

Deviant_Mugen

#42

Deviant_Mugen said:

People are already complaining/fearing that the price of the Wii U will be too high, so adding DVD and/or blu-ray playback would only serve to jack up the cost some more. Besides, it is 2012 (its release date), meaning virtually every home should have some kind of means by which to view DVDs; the Wii U (and the Wii, for that matter) doesn't need that feature. I, for one, am perfectly satisfied with Nintendo sticking to what they know best: making game consoles...

@timp29: "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."

So, yeah, adding DVD/blu-ray playback capabilities costs money...

Xiao_Pai

#43

Xiao_Pai said:

@42: ....When you stated that it will be 2012 I was about to expect some "end of the world" joke...xD

SunnySnivy

#45

SunnySnivy said:

Are you guys really surprised?

Besides, who at this point doesn't have a DVD player?! I mean come on.

Blu Ray isn't as common but I have one, and it would only make the console more expensive. For me it would be pointless. Why do people care so much? I buy a console to play games, not watch movies.

Pj1

#46

Pj1 said:

Shame but if it makes the console cheap or cheaper then cool, but I wonder how much it costs to put the technologhy into Wii-u for blu ray playback?

ToneDeath

#47

ToneDeath said:

@Otaku: You took the words right out of my mouth.
The ability to play DVD and Blu Ray discs would of course have been nice, but it's not what I'd buy a Nintendo console for. Besides, wasn't everybody already worried what the new controller would do to the price?

gojiguy

#48

gojiguy said:

@9

You serious? SONY DOES NOT OWN BLU-RAY.

anyways. This is a really bad decision on Nintendo's part. It just shows how cheap and lazy they are being. I know if I had a choice between a 299 PS3 with blu-ray and a bajillion games + bluray, DVD, CD, etc playback and a WiiU with a few games, the same horsepower and a higher pricetag I'd pick with the PS3 any day.

AlbertoC

#50

AlbertoC said:

@49: It only specifies a limitations for the console. Exact technical info on WiiU right now is scarce.

Kid_A

#51

Kid_A said:

Good for them. Everybody has one, and it'll keep the cost down (which is going to be tricky for the Wii U anyway). As long as it has Netflix, I'll be set ;)

Link-Hero

#52

Link-Hero said:

Oh well, I already have a DVD player anyway. Plus the Wii U is going to support Netflix. So this doesn't bother me one bit.

Nintonic

#53

Nintonic said:

This either completely bothers someone or not at all. It doesn't matter to me if they have a dvd player or not because like most people said, most people have other dvd players in thier house and frankly, videogame systems are not made for dvd players, if you have seen that you have known that they tend to freeze up all the time. So take my advice, just still to the old dvd player or just watch Netflix on the Wii.

dangermouseuk78

#54

dangermouseuk78 said:

Cant please all the people all the time and quite frankly it astounds me people even thought that it would play movies. Nintendo make games consoles there not a multimedia device maker like Sony is, also Sony own the Blu-ray logo and also Sony along with a long line of developers get royalties for Blu-ray so wouldnt be cheap id imagine.

Im on the side of the fence that i just want a gaming console pure and simple but id assume video will come digitally at some point.

RedYoshi999

#56

RedYoshi999 said:

I'm a little disappointed. Yes, I have DVD players in my house, but one is broken and that's the room the Wii U will be in so without the function, I have to watch DVDs on the computer :(

Gameday

#57

Gameday said:

i aint tripping cause ill buy a dvd player or blu ray player when i want to watch movies like so , and i buy game systems for games. to me , in the end it seems like your just wearing out your system more anyway trying to watch movies and play games and etc.

DestinyMan

#58

DestinyMan said:

Oh, well, I can watch with other machines anyway. Even if it did have Blur-ray or DVD support, the cost of the console would have skyrocketed. Since they have Netflix, Nintendo would be extra careful about putting in something that would only make their system more expensive and dash their idea of reasonably priced hardware.

Link-Hero

#59

Link-Hero said:

@Everybody

SONY DOES NOT OWN BLU-RAY!

That title goes to the Blu-ray Disc Association. Nintendo would have to pay royalties to them, not Sony. Sony is only a supporter of Blu-ray, just like Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Phillips, ect.

What I think the main reason why Nintendo is not supporting Blu-ray or DVD playback is because they would have to use the slandered Blu-ray and DVD discs in order for them to work, which means that they would have to pay royalty fees. That would raise the costs of the console, and we all know that Nintendo wants their products to be as affordable as possible.

Nintendaholic

#60

Nintendaholic said:

I was shocked a little on the dvd part but im buying this for games. But on the bright side, there will be netflix.

dizzy_boy

#61

dizzy_boy said:

i`ve only got on scart input on my tv, so i bought a scart switch box for my dvd, wii, digi box. makes things so much easier.
also, i`ve seen brand new dvd players go for dirt cheap in the shops any way. and even then you could probably find second hand ones for even less in second hand / charity shops aswell.
blue ray will eventually get cheaper. but hey, while dvd`s are still going about, i`m not giving up on my dvd playerr any time soon.
also, nintendo could quite easily get the license for blue ray and dvd if they wanted. they could offer the feature as a downloadable channel, if people wanted to pay for it on the wii u shop.

kurtasbestos

#62

kurtasbestos said:

I don't mind the lack of DVD playback, and I refuse to ever purchase a Blu-ray disc, but I'm not going to buy this system because I'm sincerely disappointed that it doesn't make coffee as the rumors told me it would.

Seriously, though, it's a video game system. If you're unhappy that it doesn't play media that you most likely already own a compatible device for, then maybe you need a break from the Internet for the rest of the day.

GeminiSaint

#65

GeminiSaint said:

I'm fine with it. If I wanted to watch a movie, I'd use a proper DVD/BluRay player, not a video game console.

Capt_N

#68

Capt_N said:

I have a feeling Nintendo probably went this route for cutting costs on the consumers' behalf, as being the least of all reasons(if even part of their reasoning at all), also including, but not necessarily limited to:
1. Nintendo also being paranoid about piracy possibilities, as (comment) #7 RyuZebian said.
2. Nintendo seeing that not paying for the dvd format will save them some money, if even if only a little.
3. As I said above, they might also be doing this to pass on to the consumer a lower costing machine, but I still feel this is probably the least of their reasons, if in their current thinking at all.

Nintendo hasn't strictly been going the gaming route. If they were, the Wii wouldn't have Netflix, a photo channel for viewing movies, & photos(albeit in limited formats), or the news, & weather channels.

Yeah, I have a/my pc to watch dvds on, but I personally prefer a multi-functioning/media console. Game systems/consoles are beginning to have multimedia-like functions.

EDIT: This probably wont be a deal-beaker for me(buying/purchasing the WiiU), but I can see it being so for others. I'm not rich enough to be a multi-console owner, so I think (as of) right now (early on, before much is know about the console), I'm gonna continue to say Nintendo is going to have to give me a mess of good reasons why to purchase their machine. They very well may. They always have.

DrDaisy

#69

DrDaisy said:

Playback of movie discs would have been a nice feature. I think it's kind of sad that Nintendo is the only one not allowing DVD playback on their consoles. It's not a deal breaker though.

SigourneyBeaver

#70

SigourneyBeaver said:

@7 With the controller having a screen it would be nice if a DVD could be streamed to it the same way as a game. But I have six DVD playing devices and a ps3 for blu ray, so the disappointment over this is becoming increasingly invalid. If you want a DVD player you can get one for £20. Blu ray players are down to about £60 now.

How many more things do we want these devices to do? I just want a games machine.

JJtheTexan

#72

JJtheTexan said:

DVD sales are falling off a cliff, and Blu-Ray isn't seeing the kind of growth studios had hoped for. Five years from now, virtually all home movie viewing will probably be streaming (i.e. Netflix) and discs will be a thing of the past, like tapes are today. Smart move by Nintendo to keep the price down a bit on what looks to be a very pricey system already.

Kit

#73

Kit said:

Don't have a DVD/BR player, I play DVDs through my lappie on our HDTV. I am a bit gutted that you won't be able to play DVDs (again) on the Wii U. :( Bad form Ninty! Their sales might suffer somewhat at the Wii U's inability to double-up for multi-purpose - very short sighted!

eviLaTtenDant

#74

eviLaTtenDant said:

I think BluRay playback would have helped sales a bit at the right pricepoint. The technology is still quite new and the new controller has possibilities that you can't get on any standard remote. I'm not a huge fan of netflix so it is a bit of a wasted opportunity in my book.
On the other hand it would rival netflix so if Nintendo really wants people to use that service it might be better to leave out DVD/BR playback ... :|

mjnmixael

#75

mjnmixael said:

68. Capt_N
As per your #3. I dunno man. Nintendo has always been keen to make profit on their consoles but not at the cost of charging huge amounts of money. Based on past console prices, I'm willing to be the Wii U will be under $300 and that Nintendo worked hard to make the console for that price-point and still make a cut.

Bassman_Q

#76

Bassman_Q said:

I honestly don't care about the DVD playback... It's the Blu-Ray that I would've liked to have. I don't own one, and I don't think I'll be owning a PS3 anytime soon, so it would've been great if the Wii U had one. It's disappointing, yes, but I don't think it's a deal-breaker... unless it's extremely expensive without the Blu-Ray drive.

SteveW

#77

SteveW said:

Why would anyone want to wear out a console drive playing movies when you can get a Blu Ray player for less than $99 ???

Alphack3r

#78

Alphack3r said:

/My/ Wii plays DVDs...and so I'm guessing that my Wii U eventually will too >:D (and darn the commenting rules!)

Pod

#79

Pod said:

All you guys. Aside from price this is about the message they're sending with the system.

No matter how many of you say you're not going to buy it because of this, they won't change it. Ultimately it's too important for how the system is perceived.

They want it to not be compromised in its use as a games system. If it becomes someone's primary DVD or CD player, it's much less likely it will be brought around for game playing at get-togethers, or moved between the different rooms of the house.

They've made it small for this exact reason. Giving people reasons to rely on it for anything other than games or the specific services Nintendo themselves provide would be silly.

Sir_Deadly

#80

Sir_Deadly said:

@ gojiguy u say this is a really bad decision on nintendos part, but looks what happened to the wii. Soo y again is this bad??? Besides like many of us have already stated, we either own a dvd or blu-ray system, or a 360 and a ps3. Soo y do we need another one again?

melechofsin

#82

melechofsin said:

PS3 has blu ray, but it has no gamez lol. So each one can choose what he likes.

EDIT: I just found out my microwave, fridge, tablecloth and bedframe don't have dvd or blu rays either. Even my TV doesn't, what a ripoff. Guess I'll just watch anything I want over the internet for free like 99% of the rest of the world does. Touch choices. Even if the Wii/U had dvd/blu ray I wouldn't waste the laser on movies.

pntjr

#83

pntjr said:

You guys do know that is costs more to have an included CD/DVD player and a whole lot more for a BluRay player. If you want to pay for a $500 dollar console, be my guest.

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