Wii don’t need DVD playback capability

Wii doesn't care about DVDSeems like putting a soothing blue light in the loading slot was a better business decision than including a pricey “blue-rayed” high def DVD player. Why? Because there’s more evidence out today that Nintendo was crazy like a fox for not including DVD capability in the Wii.


According to new research by The Diffusion Group, though 80 percent of console owners have the option, only 30 percent realized it was part of its feature set, and only 13 percent actually utilize it – more stats inside.

The new report, ‘On the Use of Game Consoles for Movie Viewing’, which surveyed 2000 U.S. homes, says that 74 percent of households rely solely on standalone DVD players for watching movies, while a quarter have gone online to purchase or rent digital movie downloads.

I think I’ve probably reached ad nauseum levels when it comes to criticizing the “video game console as a complete media center is a woefully failed strategy” but since it’s fun and I love schadenfreund schadenfreude so much, I’m going to continue it here today.

DVD players are today, in a word, CHEAP. They have saturated the market to the point where someone like my younger sister can have two break in less than a year and not think twice about going to Target to buy a third. People who think otherwise are the same kind of people who said cassettes would never die all while their CD-playing neighbors skipped around to different tracks with a button press.

And the quality of today’s standard DVD isn’t that bad for $15-20 a pop; a price that becomes more attractive when you stack it next to a Blu-ray disc and start asking what the extra $10-15 is actually getting you. Today’s DVDs get even more attractive when you start talking about upscaling and component cables. HD discs are a niche product that becomes even more niche when you start talking about playing them on consoles. Then there’s the fact that in five years digital distribution is going to make all physical media irrelevant — but that’s another string of personal opinion for another day.

People who bought the PS2 for its DVD playing capability NEEDED it. It was the 1990s. People were starting to buy DVDs en masse like Susan Summers Suzanne Somers roaming free at a cupcake convention. Today we no longer NEED or crave DVD players. We especially don’t need or crave a DVD player in something that was sold to us as a video games console with video game console branding (of course, if no games actually show up for a video game console, THEN you’ll be sure to see whatever else is crammed in there make an appearance in marketing and commercials).

Nintendo realized this way back in 2003 — or whenever it was they stared development on the Wii — as they realized any number of other things about the industry that weren’t conducive to a positive game play experience. Today’s news from Gamasutra that no one cares about DVDs in their VIDEO GAME consoles isn’t a surprise at all. Especially to Nintendo.