Wii DVD Playback

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Hollywood & Video Games

Wii2Nintendo has made a great gaming system with Wii by streamlining the new console for gaming, rather than going the trojan horse route that Sony and Microsoft have gone with their entertainment hubs PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. With Sonic Solutions issuing a press release and Nintendo confirming that the Japanese giant is looking to implement movie playback into a potentially new Wii, or a Wii accessory in Japan for some time in 2007, it seems strange. Gamecube was not a failure because it bypassed DVD playback, which PS2 and Xbox offered. It just never managed to find an identity or an audience beyond the Nintendo devoted. Wii's riding a high that Sony wishes PS3 had, ever since gamers got their hands on the motion-sensor controllers.

A spokesman at Sonic Solutions confirmed that the company's products allow hardware makers to utilize current as well as next generation HD-DVD and Blu-Ray Disc playback. He did not know what type of technology Nintendo was going to use for its device or whether this would be a built-in feature in a new Wii or an add-on product like the $200 Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive. There's also been no word on whether this Wii device will even be released outside of Japan.

I don't think Nintendo needs to worry about current or next generation DVD playback. I don't even understand why there are two competing next generation DVDs out there. Not many people are complaining about the quality of their current DVD collections. I've had the chance to play some Blu-Ray Disc movies, including the "Talladega Nights" PS3 pack-in, and they look great; but I don't see this as being a driving force for purchase. There will be people who buy a PS3 for BR-D capabilities down the line, considering the $1,000 price points of stand-alone players, but game console sales are driven by games, especially exclusive titles.

Nintendo has the advantage over its competition with a slew of huge franchises that span the age demographics. Games like "Mario," "Mario Kart," "Legend of Zelda," "Metroid Prime," and "Yoshi" are just a handful of examples. One thing Nintendo has always done well is innovate. "Brain Age" games have helped Nintendo DS clobber PSP at retail. Those games are also heading to Wii. People will buy Wii because it's a great, fun, gaming system. Whether or not it plays any types of movies, as well, isn't really a selling point. Especially when you consider the number of multiple-console homes out there that already have a PS2, Xbox, or Xbox 360. Not to mention stand-alone DVD players.

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