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Wii U Faster Than 360 Or PS3, No Blu-ray Or DVD Support

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the hamsters-on-steroids dept.

Nintendo 332

jdkramar was one of several readers to write with news of the Wii U hardware information that's been trickling out since E3. The new console will run a multicore IBM processor based on 45nm architecture (technology currently underpinning Watson), and will have an AMD R700 GPU chipset found in the Radeon 4000 line of video cards. Apparently it will, in fact, run Crysis. Nintendo has confirmed that the Wii U will use a proprietary 25GB disc format, and won't support DVD or Blu-ray playback. A spokesman said, "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."

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Translation (0, Troll)

deepershade (994429) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460050)

"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."

We want our own so we can try and be filthy rich but it'll probably die on it's arse just like UMD.

Re:Translation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460078)

We want our own so we can try and be filthy rich but it'll probably die on it's arse just like UMD.

They're not trying to distribute movies on it, just games. Nintendo consoles have always used proprietary media.

Re:Translation (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460112)

Eh? Pretty sure the Wii disks are just DVDs aren't they?

I know all the rest have been console specific, mostly because they were carts up until the gamecube, but I had thought they went with the standard last time.

Maybe the ease of piracy for the Wii made them change their minds.

Re:Translation (3, Interesting)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460222)

they were DVDs but did not adhere to the standard data frame format (more info here: http://hitmen.c02.at/files/docs/gc/Ingenieria-Inversa-Understanding_WII_Gamecube_Optical_Disks.html [c02.at] - awesome reverse engineering done by hacker xt5). However, modchips enabled standard DVD functionality back.

I bet they went with a proprietary optical disk format in order to prevent piracy. If no one can burn the disks, then piracy will (hopefully for them) be less rampant.

That is, of course, until someone figures out how to run disks from whatever disk or flash drives they support, which is much more convenient anyways ;)

Re:Translation (2)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460506)

Sure worked for Sega with the draemcast and GDROM. /rolls eyes. When will they learn.

Re:Translation (1)

squall14716 (734306) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460758)

Only because the Dreamcast also let you boot off of CD-Rs. I doubt Nintendo will let you burn a Blu-ray and play it, especially if it isn't capable of reading one.

Re:Translation (3, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460130)

Nintendo has always enjoyed being the only people who can duplicate media for their consoles. They've been doing it since the NES days.

It lets them set prices they feel comfortable with.

Re:Translation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460082)

That's a leap, how the hell did you read that out of it.

I read it as "if we can keep construction costs down we can have a larger profit margin or offer it cheaper". I don't reckon they're interested in making a massive loss per unit like Sony did in the PS3s early years.

Re:Translation (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460148)

So... you don't think economies of scale would make blu-ray players cheaper than building a whole new disk player and new disk pressing plants to go with it...?

Ever heard of patents? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460182)

Nintendo makes and sells millions of consoles per year. At millions of units, economies of scale don't change much if you use common parts or proprietary ones.

The console business model depends on volume and technological advances to drive prices down quarter after quarter.

Patents, on the other hand, do not scale with volume, nor do they scale with technological advances. They can stay consistently high for the term of the patent, or even go UP year after year (as the h.264 patents do).

In other words, expensive video player patents are incompatible with a pure console business. Don't be surprised if the "25GB disk" is very Blu-Ray like in all mechanical, optical, and electrical ways. But the encoding skirts patents.

Re:Translation (5, Insightful)

damnbunni (1215350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460212)

It doesn't say the drive doesn't use DVD or BluRay technology.

It says the machine won't do DVD or BluRay movie playback.

At 25 GB per disc, it's probably a single-layer BluRay disc. They're just not paying the license fees for the software to play back BR movies.

My understanding is that DVD player and BR player license fees are roughly ten bucks each, so if your console plays DVDs and BRs, it costs $20 per unit more to ship.

Re:Translation (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460596)

That can't be true, as the goodguys had DVD players at ... $9 each !!!

THAT'S THE PLAYERS !?!?!?

Re:Translation (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460288)

The disc format is probably almost identical to BluRay, but just different enough to not require licensing the patents. Also different enough that the discs won't get recognized by a standard BluRay drive.

From here [one-blue.com] , the royalty fee for a BluRay player is $9/unit. Each data disc has a $0.0725 royalty fee. You're looking at hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty fees over the life of the system, even if it only sells at the level the GameCube did. If the system is a Wii level success, you're in the ballpark of a billion dollars. Oh, and tack on another few dollars/unit for DVD royalty fees as well.

Re:Translation (2)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460298)

Not a new player, just a firmware tweak to the cheapest single-layer bluray-type drive mechanism they can source.

Likewise, no new pressing plants - any existing plant that can press a single-layer BluRay disk will be able to press these...

Re:Translation (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460262)

Also, they don't seem to be targetting the disc format for anything except delivering it's own games to it's own platform.
It's not much different from the incompatible-with-anything-else game cartridges used in the past.
If you don't care for compatibility, why pay license fees to be compatible?

Re:Translation (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460730)

I read it neither as "We want a new disc format to compete against Bluray" or "We can keep construction costs down".

Instead I read it as, "We want a non-standard format like we had on the Gamecube which was impossible to copy, and was not cracked by pirates for four years." It makes sense to me. Were I Nintendo I'd probably do the same.

Re:Translation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460656)

I guess the NES, SNES, N64, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, Gamecube, and probably other consoles' of Nintendo will fail too, because of the proprietary formats.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460784)

Bullocks. I can get a DVD player for $20 at Walmart these days. Excluding manufacturing/production costs etc i bet the patents would not amount to more than a few bucks. Even it's not fixed price but let's say 1% of RSP it would be like 2-3 dollars.

Re:Translation (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460858)

More like:

"Hey, check out this copy protection scheme..."

Re:Translation (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460862)

Yeah the wii was really screwed over by doing the same exact thing.

Proprietary format. (2)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460060)

I'm pretty sure it has very little to do with the patents and more to do with the same reason they used those awkward, little, inverse-reading GameCube discs: fear of homebrew and fear of sharing backups.

But as we know from both the GameCube and the Wii, it's only a matter of time before people work around those limitations.

Re:Proprietary format. (1)

billyswong (1858858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460080)

But if they use a disc format proprietary enough, it may be so incompatible to DVD and Blu-way that disc copying is prohibitively expensive. At least not doable at home.

Re:Proprietary format. (1)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460122)

Given that the Wii U can read the disc, if hacked and given internet access or SD card access, it's not inconceivable that the discs could be dumped as files over a network or to the flash media like was already done on the previous gen consoles.

Re:Proprietary format. (4, Funny)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460126)

But there's already an obscure format that nobody has hardware to play. It's called HD-DVD.

Re:Proprietary format. (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460518)

/me looks at his dvd/hd-dvd/blu-ray burner.

Re:Proprietary format. (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460526)

Hey now, I got a one of the Xbox 360 HD-DVD players around here that I picked up at a pawn shop.

Re:Proprietary format. (3, Interesting)

thebrave (1332837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460144)

The point is that usually big N was cheap enough to use standard technologies, without the certifications. In this case, the WiiU would use a standard bluray drive (because they are mass produced by ton of factories and it is mature), but the data file format/layout on the drive would be proprietary. By not bundling video bluray/dvd playing capability, Nintendo doesn't have to pay the better part of patent fees.

Re:Proprietary format. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460410)

Tell that to SEGA and the dreamcast with its proprietary 1GB disks.

Re:Proprietary format. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460090)

Gamecube didn't read the disks any differently like you suggest; it was a myth.

Re:Proprietary format. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460158)

That "matter of time" was the whole point. Making it perfectly uncrackable is near impossible. With the GameCube they did a good job on the encryption and what not, but also did some very effective security by obscurity techniques on top of it. There were multiple layers of boot code and firmware images with varying levels of difficulty to reach. There was even fake firmware in there. It took something like 3-4 years for people to fully crack it. That's good enough for a system intended to have a 5 year lifespan.

The Wii was simply botched in a lot of ways. There were bugs in the firmware, the GameCube emulation, and in the big Zelda launch game that all enabled the system to be cracked easily.

Re:Proprietary format. (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460206)

The gamecube was the also-ran of its generation, which decreased the number of people actively trying to hack it... The gamecube had very little to offer over the PS2 or Xbox. The Wii on the other hand was extremely popular, and had a unique control system not available on other consoles which also brought with it some unique games.

Re:Proprietary format. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460356)

no. it has more to do with selling it as cheap as possible.

Deep encryption on the disks themselves and in the OS are what's going to keep out homebrew and backups.

Crysis? (1)

Squapper (787068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460084)

TFA says that it will run CryEngine (which PS3 and X360 also are capable of). It says nothing of Crysis, the PC game that didn't make it to consoles due to their less powerful hardware.

Re:Crysis? (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460114)

Actually the console will use a R770 derivate from AMD which means the hardware is on direct X10 level. Compared to the xbox 720 which will likely come out by 2013 this wont be the latest hardware (the 720 probably will be on directx 11 level) but the differences to the next gen from Sony and Microsoft wont be that big.
One advantage of the stallment on the PC side of things induced by the consoles, the 3d hardware does not make such huge jumps anymore than it used to 7 years ago.

Re:Crysis? (1)

Paradigma11 (645246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460616)

One advantage of the stallment on the PC side of things induced by the consoles, the 3d hardware does not make such huge jumps anymore than it used to 7 years ago.

What a great advantage that is.

Re:Crysis? (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460282)

Also by the time it's released you will likely be able to buy a used computer that will best the new system for cheaper.

Re:Crysis? (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460532)

Unfortunately, you'll also be dealing with games written by PC coders who can get away with "just buy a bigger video card" or "just add more ram" rather than actually attempting to optimize their code for the platform.

Re:Crysis? (4, Insightful)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460626)

And yet PC gamers still end up with shitty half-assed console ports.

Re:Crysis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460648)

And console gamers end up with shitty half-assed PC ports.

I tuned out (1, Insightful)

hsjserver (1826682) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460088)

When they said only one player gets to use the fancy new controller at a time. I understand the limitation, but it just makes the whole thing seem half baked to me. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to spend my money on a PC to run Battlefield 3.

Re:I tuned out (2)

thebrave (1332837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460174)

I also expect that the quality of the main (TV) screen will have to be severely downgraded when the other one is enabled. Considering the HW architecture of the ATI GPU, I think that a not negligible amount of GPU cores are used to trans-code the aux screen output to some kind of compressed video feed.

Re:I tuned out (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460286)

What makes you think the controller is incapable of driving it's own display? Seems like it would be more straightforward then bluetooth video streaming...

Re:I tuned out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460332)

The battery? You don't want to burn your hands, make the controller heavy, or have it last less than 5 minutes, so you want the least possible processing power involved in displaying a picture there.

Re:I tuned out (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460380)

Um, that makes no sense. Power consumption on most mobile devices is dominated by the power necessary to run the wireless communications. Streaming bluetooth video(not to mention having to decompress it!) would consume much more bandwidth, and thus much more power, than simply streaming application code and having the device render the picture is going to be more efficient provided the device is capable of rendering the graphics necessary.

Re:I tuned out (1)

frenchbedroom (936100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460474)

We don't think the controller doesn't have a video card. We know it doesn't. Nintendo said so at the E3 conference.

Re:I tuned out (1)

thebrave (1332837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460552)

For me, it's the "1 controller with display limit" combined with "same quality on TV and on the controller".
Generating graphics on the controller would allow technically breaking the limit, because you would be basically sending OpenGL commands via bluetooth, and that's scalable.

But it would be a fking expensive controller.

Generating two views, compressing one to AVC, sending it via wifi, and the controller side only having a custom asic decoding video with a C sending back button and touch information. Make more industrial sense and is way cheaper.

Re:I tuned out (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460414)

Not even that. Consider that the 5xxx series can have 6 screens driven by the single GPU. Just divide the resolution so you have one 1920x1080 and up to 4 848x480 "screens"

848x480x4 bytes = 1628160 bytes per frame. If the screen is 30fps, that's 48MB/sec before compression.
Compare that to the 1980x1080x4 bytes = 8294400 bytes per frame, at 30fps is almost 250MB/sec.

So in all likeliness, from the GPU's point of view, it simply has 5 "Screens", and a simple XOR-LZW compression algorigthm compresses the video stream using the GPU or even the CPU (Remember 4 cores), and is played back on the controller device. None of this is particularly earth-shattering. It's the wireless interface that I'm wondering about and can't wait to see when iFixit will take one apart. If the compression is rather efficient (XOR-LZW can be done at 30fps on a single core at 1280x720x30fps, non-changing frames cost nothing to transmit) then this should work as how Nintendo demonstrated. On the other hand if they use something like OnLive, it would require a dedicated hardware decoder if they are using something lossy like h264. I doubt they are using h264 since it uses license-able patents. They might simply use something older or propietary, or again just something like lossless like any varient of delta-frame with LZW. Note I mention LZW since that's currently the fastest encoder/decoder pair. The most efficient to compress is actually PPMd. LZMA is too slow and barely more efficient than straight LZ. This is on straight lossless sources.

Re:I tuned out (1)

Jerom (96338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460564)

where did you read this?

Thx

Re:I tuned out (1)

hsjserver (1826682) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460774)

http://www.slashgear.com/wii-u-to-support-only-one-controller-per-console-at-launch-10158774/

DEAD ON ARRIVAL !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460094)

This is D.O.A. Edmond O'Brien style !! To find out who killed it ... but does anyone really know ?? Does anyone really care ?? Who killed it ??

Not that Shady (1)

Ensayia (912026) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460102)

I don't really see this as a shady move. Practically everything plays DVDs and the price of a standalone DVD player has dropped to practically nothing. If the proprietary format boasts extra compatibility or features that's always a plus, but I don't really see the downside of this decision.

Re:Not that Shady (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460180)

Space. I don't mind having 3 consoles underneath my TV, but I know full well I'm in a minority there - I don't really give a damn if one end of my living room looks a bit messy. Certainly, there's no way my parents would ever countenance having more than 2 boxes under their TV - one of which will always be their Sky TV box. At the moment, they have an Xbox360 that I won in a Christmas raffle and didn't need. This took over the slot previously occupied by their old DVD player. My dad does play a fair old bit of Forza, but the main thing their 360 is used for is playing DVDs.

Re:Not that Shady (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460544)

Given that a DVD player costs "practically nothing" why are nintendo bitching about the cost as the reason they aren't including playback? I don't want to have to pull cables to play a DVD, or buy a new TV with n+1 HDMI inputs.

Re:Not that Shady (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460602)

The question is whether there's even a need for a separate hardware player when you're already buying an expensive device which has a device that's technically capable of playing movie discs.

And why should I clutter up my living room with additional devices just because some bean counter wanted to save five bucks?

What??? (4, Funny)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460184)

An upcoming console is supposed to be more powerful than 5 year old hardware?
I'm shocked!!!!!!111eleventyone

Re:What??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460382)

It's Nintendo, they always had shitty graphics.

Re:What??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460562)

wow. just wow.

Re:What??? (4, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460502)

I'm not sure I believe TFA anyway. The Radeon 4000 architecture has been replaced by the 6000 now, which gives better performance at lower cost and produces far less heat. What possible reason is there to use something that costs more and needs more cooling, as well as being an older architecture anyway?

My guess is that they have mistaken using 4000 series features and performance levels for actually using that architecture, but I imagine the chip will be a custom design for Nintendo.

Re:What??? (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460668)

I am guessing that it has the same amount of shader cores as the 4870, and hence someone said that's the most similar chip.

What is interesting is the fact that it's meant to be 32nm - which means GlobalFoundries making it, rather than TSMC (who have made all ATI/AMD GPUs for a long time, Llano excepted and that's an APU). I am sure that we don't know a tenth of the details right now, hell the demo boxes might be plain old 4870s now because the actual GPU design is still being baked by AMD. In that case we actually know nothing, it could be 4870, 6xxx, or even 7xxx series, with an overall GPU performance around that of a 4870 (allegedly 1.3 TFLOPS for the Wii U).

Re:What??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460812)

That's 5 years on the market, the PS3 will be 6-7 and the 360 7-8 years old by the time the Wii U hits the shelves. Excluding the time they were in development! Utterly pathetic for a new console. Heck, by the time the Wii U is coming up to it's first birthday, smartphones will have eclipsed it in performance.

Faster? (1)

xulfer (1368787) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460216)

The 360 may be easier to call, but I'd hesitate to say from those specs alone that it's outright faster than a PS3. When you compare an x86 to a cell... which is almost apples to oranges you have to take a lot more into account than simple clock speed, cache, memory, etc. SPE's aren't like cores. They're not even similar. Benchmarking will be necessary surely. Without it I don't think it's fair to say one way or the other.

Re:Faster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460278)

The CPU means shit-all in a gaming console next to the GPU. A console's most demanding task is rendering quality 3D graphics, not crunching data for SETI.

Re:Faster? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460326)

If you want decent AI then you'll need the CPU as well.

Re:Faster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460444)

We all want that but we never get it. And that ain't down to CPU power in any way.

Re:Faster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460592)

Need I point out there are many games that look better on the 360 because when it comes down to it, the PS3 has the better CPU, but the 360 has the better GPU. Sony bet the farm on the Cell, and it's getting to the point that the PS5, Wii3, Xbox 4 will likely use something more akin to an AMD Fusion processor--GPU and CPU in one.

Re:Faster? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460724)

360 is POWER based, not x86.

this is why some games aren't playable on the 360. it uses some weird emulation layers to work properly.

Proprietary format? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460224)

Are they really trying to claim that developing a proprietary disc format, and having the hardware used to read it custom made is going to be cheaper than just using a format which already exists, and for which drives are already being mass produced cheaply?

Re:Proprietary format? (1)

Crookdotter (1297179) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460246)

It's cheaper because they actually get to earn profit by selling games this time.

Re:Proprietary format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460252)

No, they're really not. As others have explained, this console will almost certainly use BluRay discs. It just won't use the standard BluRay data layout, and won't be capable of playing back BluRay or DVD movies.

Re:Proprietary format? (2)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460280)

and won't be capable of playing back BluRay or DVD movies.

... until someone will write some software to add that feature, similar to the DVD player on the Wii.

Re:Proprietary format? (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460822)

I wonder whether charging the customer extra, via their game store, to enable blu-ray playback would be an acceptable solution to the patent holders?

Re:Proprietary format? (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460256)

Wii drives are slightly modifed DVD drives (which is why early wii's can play DVDs with the right homebrew software)
Wii U drives will most likely be slightly modified Blueray drives.

I won't be shocked if the Twiizer people get there hands on the Wii U and enable Blueray/DVD playback.

Re:Proprietary format? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460296)

PS3 was banned from Europe because Sony thought is was too expensive to pay for blue ray patents. One could guess that has affected Nintendo's decision.

Re:Proprietary format? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460328)

I think they'll do the same thing as they did with the Wii: use standard DVD hardware, but fill the discs in a non-standard way. This means they don't have to pay DVD licensing, but can still use all of the technology that's already available. Except this time, DVD will probably be Blu-Ray.

Re:Proprietary format? (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460344)

Are they really trying to claim that developing a proprietary disc format, and having the hardware used to read it custom made is going to be cheaper than just using a format which already exists, and for which drives are already being mass produced cheaply?

No, only that they will use a proprietary disc format. Most likely it will be standard, cheap, mass produced hardware with custom firmware to support whatever is non-standard, be it sector sizes, spin direction or something else. Possibly the hardware will have a minor, Wii U-specific modification but nothing big. Just enough to make copying the discs unfeasible for the general public for the forseeable future.

Re:Proprietary format? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460364)

There is speculation they are using a modified HD-DVD format. Which would make ALOT of sense and significantly reduce costs for the huge gain in capacity. Personally i think discs are almost anachronistic now, but apparently we arent quite there yet.

Re:Proprietary format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460770)

My biggest complaint against PCs these days is optical media - Window, OSX and GNU/Linux all choke and die on a DVD with minor errors. It brings down every system I've used to its knees - I'm not a hardware guru but it seems as if the entire system waits on the optical drive to finish deciding that its a problem and that maybe an error should be reported.

Re:Proprietary format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460430)

They are probably using BD drives, but they are most likely altering the firmware to use a different geometry so that drives with standard firmware can't read or write it.

Re:Proprietary format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460856)

It's called not having to pay royalties or licensing fees.

Doesn't warrant the cost (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460318)

This sounds like so much bullshit really. The Wii is more than capable of playing DVDs and there are homebrew DVD players for the device. Given the Wii U is backwards compatible one can assume it is capable of playing DVDs too.

So what cost are they talking about? A couple of dollars in licensing? Well sell the DVD playback from the online store and that's that.

Perhaps they have more of a case for not implementing Blu Ray but absolutely not for DVD.

Re:Doesn't warrant the cost (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460398)

True, sell the DVD and Blu-ray playback feature for 10-15 bucks each and you'll be able to recoup the costs.
And people who don't have a need for that feature in their game console won't have to pay for it.

Re:Doesn't warrant the cost (3, Informative)

Amarantine (1100187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460470)

Didn't Microsoft do that with their first Xbox? Punters could enable dvd playback by purchasing the separate remote and IR receiver, which acted as a dongle to unlock the dvd playback facilities. The royalties for dvd playback were included in the price of the remote, not the console itself. However, many people blamed MS for just looking for an excuse to squeeze more money out of its customers, because the remote was a bit expensive. People might think the same if Nintendo would do the same, charging $10-$15 for a 10KB file that enables their console to do what every other bit of equipment with an optical drive could do since the dawn of time.

Re:Doesn't warrant the cost (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460504)

In that case the customers saw it as an overpriced remote control, but in the case of the new Nintendo console the controller will already represent a feature-rich remote and you'd only be paying for the software. Different psychological effect on your customers.

Re:Doesn't warrant the cost (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460720)

Yes exactly. XBox sold a separate remote demonstrating a working solution. If Nintendo devices were so packed with technology they couldn't possibly afford to DVD enable the things, then sell a licence pack or a remote. Problem solved. More than solved since they'd probably money off the deal by rounding the price up a bit.

Why use discs at all (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460366)

For media distribution, it is getting to the point where some form of memory card may be the answer.

Re:Why use discs at all (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460496)

For media distribution, it is getting to the point where some form of memory card may be the answer.

I suspect bulk-pressed optical discs (as opposed to writable media) are still considerably cheaper - and faster to manufacture - than 8GB+ memory cards.

As others have pointed out, they're skimping on the licenses for DVD/BluRay video playback capability - its quite likely that the drives will still, physically, be BluRay mechanisms.

Re:Why use discs at all (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460866)

Memory cards are still above the dollar mark in price. Discs are usually below the dollar mark and possibly even the $0.01 mark.

Nintendo got burnt with the late move from solid state, at the time if the N64 since they just couldn't provide sufficiently large storage capacity or the lower cost. Until solid state is both cheap enough and has enough capacity I am sure that they will continue with disks. Pressing a disk is also probably faster too.

The Wii U is likely to still have an SD reader for game saves.

Marketing double-speak or not, they are right. (4, Insightful)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460372)

I have 10+ devices that could play a DVD and several that can play Blu-Ray. I didn't "intentionally" buy any of them with that express intent. If it *actually* lowers the price on the thing, I am all for this. I do not have the desire to pay for functionality which I do not need.

Re:Marketing double-speak or not, they are right. (1)

Amarantine (1100187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460486)

True, but people consider it common basic functionality nowadays. I remember discussions with PS3 fanboys, who argued that their console included wifi "for free" (as if anything from Sony is free) where MS charged $$$ for a wifi dongle. I could not convince them that i was fine with my Xbox 360 not having wifi, so not paying for it either, because i hooked it up to my wired lan anyways. I bet 90% of the target audience doesn't even know that dvd playback requires the manufacturer to have a license to do so, let alone what it costs.

Re:Marketing double-speak or not, they are right. (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460556)

Part of that problem is how Sony wasted pretty much every marketing opportunity to present the PS3 as a complete home entertainment center which could do everything from playing Blu-rays, DVDs and CD to watching movies stored on computers in your home network to playing the latest games on unmatched processing power and browsing the web from your couch.

Instead people perceived it as an overpriced black heating unit which could play a handful of games.

Re:Marketing double-speak or not, they are right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460800)

True. It's amazing how under marketed the capabilities of the PS3 are. I use it for all those things. If it was marketed for them, maybe some of them would work a bit better, but they're all decent enough to actually use. I bet there were entire departmetns within Sony that resisted this kind of marketing. How would the Sony home entertainment unit sell Blu-Ray players? What about the Vaio unit of shitty computers that are supposed to be multimedia centers.

Sony certainly did do its share to kill the PS3.

Wii U still junk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460450)

At least when the Wii came out it didn't look like a gimmick. I wish I could say that for the U

Re:Wii U still junk (0, Troll)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460576)

It didn't? I thought then, as I do now that its just shitty third rate hardware dressed up with a "revolutionary" controller that isn't.

Games Console Plays Games Shocker (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460452)

I hope that all the naysayers that said nay about the Wii (myself among them) have finally grokked that there's - demonstrably - a huge market for a small, relatively cheap games console that:

  1. Just plays games.
  2. Makes Nintendo money on each console sold, rather than losing it like early run XBoxen and Playstations.

Rail against it if you like, but you'll have to shout: Nintendo are way down there at the deep end of their Olympic sized pool full of cash, blow and hookers.

People don't know their device plays movies anyway (5, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460458)

Even if the Wii U was able to play movies, most people wouldn't know about it anyway. Ars Technica did a survey [arstechnica.com] back in 2007 where they found most people owning a PS3 don't know it plays Blu-Ray. I doubt that has changed much.

Re:People don't know their device plays movies any (0)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460680)

perhaps they asked the wrong people.

for AV enthusiasts, everyone knows a PS3 plays blurays. It plays them remarkably well apparently, and as its cheaper than some dedicated bluray players, there's a lot of people who've bought one just for that - not to play games on it at all.

I think home cinema choice uses one as their reference BD player for reviews.

Re:People don't know their device plays movies any (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460726)

What a terrible excuse.

Reminds me of something:
"We don't need smooth full screen Flash playback anyway, who the hell uses that!?"

What's with these specs? (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460528)

What's with all these specs? [time.com] That keep ending in question marks? And don't form complete sentences? And aren't even questions? But end with question marks anyway?

Worked out fine for the Wii (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460744)

The Wii shipped without DVD playing capability (yes you can hack it to do it), and that didn't seem to slow down sales to any appreciable amount. Besides, look at the remote for your blu-ray player (any blu-ray player you have; you probably have more than one by now) at your home. Compare the number of buttons on that remote to the number of buttons on the Wiimote or the buttons show on the remote for the Wii U. People are already mocking the Wii U remote for being too big; do you really want them to an another 40 buttons to it?

And you can't honestly tell me that the PS3 controller is a great blu-ray remote. If you think it is a good remote then hand it to a senior citizen and ask them to start a movie.

While originally when I bought a Wii and found it couldn't play DVDs, I was disappointed, this time I agree. We don't need the Wii U to play DVD or blu-ray. The old ideal of an all-in-one media center device for the home just didn't happen, and doesn't need to.

Blu-Ray support (1)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460810)

Actually I'm fine with their decision. My media setup involves a dedicated Blu-Ray/DVD player, the media PC which has a Blu-Ray drive in it, and the PS3 which has a Blu-Ray drive in it. All of them hooked up to my home theater system and my 40 Inch LCD HDTV.

I really don't NEED "yet another Blu-Ray player".

Redundancy is nice and all but really.

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