Before its unveiling at E3 2011, it was never expected that Nintendo’s next home console would play Blu-ray discs as part of its multimedia offering, but it was firmly believed that the console would at least feature the ability to play DVDs.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata flatly said in the investor meeting:
“Wii U does not have DVD or Blu-ray playback capabilities.”
Why will the Wii U not have DVD or Blu-ray playback capabilities? Here’s Iwata again:
“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.”
This is a bit of a shocking assumption to make, especially considering how the ability to play DVDs so greatly helped sales of the PlayStation 2 when it was launched, and sales of the PlayStation 3 have also been aided by its Blu-ray playback functionality.
This stance also flies in the face of Nintendo’s newfound philosophy of ensuring that its consoles aren’t intrusive in the living room ‒ if you need to buy a Wii U and another multimedia device (such as a DVD or Blu-ray player), there will be immediate clutter in the living room, while forcing you to continue to use two discrete devices for entertainment.
The Q&A session also went on to reveal some of the Wii U’s online functionality, while talking frankly on the state of sales for Nintendo’s recently released 3DS handheld.
You can find the full thing over here.