DVD playback. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.


Let me preface this post by saying I am deeply sorry if you or your parents or loved ones do not yet own a DVD player. That said, get with the program and join the majority of the world in the 21rst century. I say this because one of the latest rumors regarding the Wii — that DVD playback would be included in an “update” console in 2007, only in Japan — has been confirmed by Nintendo.

In this day and age, this is almost a non-news item. When I pick up the Wii on Nov. 19 in the cold parking lot of a New England Best Buy/Target to be named later, watching a movie on it will be the last thing on my mind. Strike that, it won’t even be on the radar screen whatsoever. Why? Because sitting at home alongside my TV is a PS2 and a DVD/VCR combo unit from Wal-mart that my girlfriend has had since college. I can’t remember the brand name, but I think they also make toasters.

Point is, DVD playback was big when the PS2 got big; I’d argue this feature was one of the driving forces behind its overhwhelming success. But today, such a feature is overkill, which is why this news from Nintendo today is so puzzling. It’s almost like a case of PS3 boomerang-itis, wherein a small yet very vocal minority of people demanded a niche feature and got their wish simply because they were so loud and obnoxious. Having a second console launch so close to the first dilutes the brand, and gives people one too many options. Sure it worked for the DS, but by the time of the DS Lite there was a stable of great games already out, and the system had proved itself worthy of a facelift. Today, there’s a confirmed facelift for the Japanese Wii already announced, and the system hasn’t even hit the pavement yet.

DVD playback and the Wii. Absolutely worthless.


  1. Admittedly, it’s a whole lot easier to use one thing for many things than to unhook one thing from my TV and hook something else up. However, DVD playback is not an important feature to me (because I dont spend a lot of my free time watching movies).

    But I agree. Releasing the two versions so close to eachother is probably not a very good idea. Regardless, if enough people complain, something will happen, and, well…something is going to happen.

    I suppose some people got their wish.

  2. But the weather, cheesy photo manipulation, web browsing, and messaging are vital features?

    Personally, I’d rather have DVD playback than anything else. Yes, I already have a DVD player, but if the Wii were to function as one as well, I’d need one less box under the TV and one less remote to have to deal with.

    I think Nintendo is really falling into this weird place with their marketing. Since E3 2005, Nintendo touted GAMING as the core experience and stated that it would also include DVD playback. Now, Nintendo has these weird non-gaming features that are much better implemented on a computer and has eliminated the DVD playback.

  3. if it’s included great, if it’s not great. Either way I don’t use anything other than a standalone player since i wanna leave the laser for my game dvd and don’t wanna wear it down with something that’s more expensive to replace. I’ve been throwing dvd players like once every couple years and I have never use my xbox or ps2 for dvds…

  4. Anon, you see the trees but not the forrest. All of those things you mentioned (Weather, photos, messaging) are all a part of a much larger beast, Wii Channels. On their own, not so much to talk about, but once included in the overall picture they begin to take on a nice community model that is certainly vital, especially given today’s success of community-driven software. Wii Channels, and the Virtual Console especially, are going to play a much bigger part in Nintendo’s future strategy than they, or anyone else so far, has let on.

  5. Why do we keep beating this horse? If the discs are dvd format, then including a codec after the fact is a no-brainer (that’s how Sony and MS did it last gen).

    Chances are, there will be a home-brew one in no time.

  6. Further to that thought, I don’t want Nintendo writing DVD playback code anyway; I want games.

    (Am I right?)

  7. If like Rezlow says, the DVD playback feature is just a matter of including a codec and some software, then bring it on… But don’t ask me to wait for it. I already have a DVD 3-disc player plus an Xbox!

    Features that I only had in my computer, like picture viewing, weather reports, internet browsing, etc…. Those are welcome, since I don’t have my computer connected to my big TV!

  8. I said it before but I believe you’ll just be able to download a DVD player with Wii points. I wish it had DVD playback because I have two TV’s and my wife uses one while I use the other. Sometimes I don’t want to watch what she wants to and I just have to deal with it or disconnect the DVD player and drag it over to my TV. Really, don’t be so shallow as to believe that just because you have your system on your main TV with a DVD player means that everyone else in the world does too. You might as well start saying everyone needs HDTV too. In the end it doesn’t bother me too much cause it saves me money on the launch console although I’ll have to spend the money eventually one way or the other. I just don’t like your arguement.

  9. I personally agree with your post. I don’t use my consoles to watch DVD movies, mainly because the loud noise from the fan turns me off.

    Also the MPEG2 chip in the PS2 is lousy at best and you need an expensive RGB cable to make the best of it.

    Still no match against my Pioneer DVD standalone-player.

    BUT: Why do the Japanese get DVD playback if it doesn’t matter??

  10. Useless. Unless however they may be hinting at the HD-DVD version. There have been talks to possible ‘update’ the Wii to HD-DVD but not until the format war has been decided, which may be a LONG time.

  11. I play dvd’s on my dvd player. Not on my ps2 for example. I don’t want my laser to get broken faster, it’s there for games.

    With the amount of movies i watch quality dvd players stop reading discs in 2 years. Count my gaming time on top of that and you have to buy a new console every year.