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Nintendo Wii Games Hardware

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

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  • Re:Translation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 16, 2011 @04:42AM (#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.

  • I tuned out (Score:1, Insightful)

    by hsjserver ( 1826682 ) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @04:44AM (#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:Translation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @04:54AM (#36460148) Homepage

    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...?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 16, 2011 @05:02AM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damnbunni ( 1215350 ) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @05:08AM (#36460212) Journal

    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.

  • by Raineer ( 1002750 ) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @05:36AM (#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:Crysis? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lennier1 ( 264730 ) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @06:21AM (#36460626)

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

  • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <{moc.tfosnacram} {ta} {rotceh}> on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:47AM (#36461030) Homepage

    The Wii could read DVDs from the beginning. The SDK even had DVD functions and the graphics chip has the requisite Macrovision crap to legally enable DVD playback. The system firmware has a flag for enabling DVD mode. They could've released a "DVD Channel" on the WiiWare store to enable DVD playback. If they didn't, it was a business decision, not a technical one.

    Newer Wii hardware nixed DVD playback because it was being used to pirate games (if you can read DVDs, you can read DVD-Rs; if you can read DVD-Rs, you can patch system firmware to make games transparently read DVD-Rs as if they were originals).

  • by dingen ( 958134 ) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:02AM (#36461154)
    Why would you think that? The Wii is the only console of the current generation not able to play movies without hacking, yet it's also the best selling one. Clearly people buy these devices because of their gaming capabilities, not because of their other functions.

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