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Iwata: Wii U's Online Component, No Blu-Ray/DVD Playback

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Since the Wii U was unveiled last week at E3, gamers have been wondering about the system's aspects. How will the online component function? Will the console provide a multimedia experience and support Blu-Ray or DVD playback? Nintendo President Satoru Iwata addressed these concerns in a Q&A on Nintendo's Japanese site.

Regarding the Wii U's online capabilities, Iwata wasn't exactly 100 percent clear despite having spoken in length about the system's internet-based component. He did state that the online feature for the Wii U would be a lot more developer-friendly. "Our current direction is how we can take the desires of the third parties and create a system that's flexible enough to enable them to do the types of things that they might want to do," explained Iwata. The Nintendo CEO also discussed integrating social media such as Facebook into the Wii U's online service due to their prevalence on today's consoles.

When asked whether or not the Wii U would play DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, Iwata responded that such functionality would not be built into the machine. (Cue the collective moans and groans of gamers everywhere.) According to Iwata, this move was meant to cut costs, and it was based on the realization that most people already own DVD and Blu-Ray players. "Wii U does not have DVD or Blu-Ray playback capabilities," said Iwata. "The reason for that is that we feel enough people already have devices that are capable of playing DVD 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."

A lot of gamers are probably confused about Iwata's ambiguous description of the Wii U's online functionality. Just as many gamers are probably deeply disappointed that the new hardware won't support DVD or Blu-Ray playback. Nintendo has never struck me as a company that tries to provide every medium on their machines. They're video game console manufacturers, and that's what they focus their efforts on. Still, with systems expected to offer optimal entertainment experiences, how will the masses react to the lack of DVD and Blu-Ray movie playback?

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