As expected, fans on both sides of the debate jumped on the story. Some said that Nintendo’s decision to nix Blu-ray in the Wii U proved that the company just didn’t know what it was doing in the gaming space any longer. Those who came out in defense of Nintendo said it makes perfect sense, since streaming is the future, and the console will likely support Netflix and other similar services.
Although I can see both sides of the argument, I’m a little perplexed by Nintendo’s decision to not offer Blu-ray in the Wii U. Yes, I understand the company’s licensing argument and I can see where streaming would be more important, but whether we like it or not, physical media isn’t going anywhere. And Blu-ray will be with us for the long haul.
As far as I’m concerned, every next-generation console, including the Wii U, the PlayStation 4, and the Xbox 720 (or whatever those platforms will be called) should be running Blu-ray.
When I think about a game console, I no longer consider it as a device that only lets me play video games. Instead, I see game consoles as full home-entertainment platforms that allow me to enjoy different types of content depending on my mood.
So, if I want to play a video game, I can turn on my console and do so. But if after I’m done playing for a while, I want to watch a movie, I should be able to pop a disc into the device and be entertained. And just in case there’s something on Netflix that I want to watch, I shouldn’t have any trouble flipping over to that app and firing it up.
As much as Nintendo seemingly doesn’t want to admit it, the gaming business is about more than just video games nowadays. It’s why Xbox Live and PlayStation Network are integral to the experiences of using the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. And it’s also why Microsoft is doubling down on television content with the upcoming availability of live TV on its Xbox 360.
My ultimate goal in the living room is to eliminate all the many devices I currently have connected to my television, and get down to one or two products that let me do everything. As I’ve mentioned on SlashGear before, I believe the PlayStation 3 helps me get closer to that goal than any other device — gaming or not — on the market. And it’s my hope that the PlayStation 4 will capitalize on that even more.
By not offering Blu-ray or DVD playback in the Wii U, Nintendo has left itself open to unnecessary criticism. And if Microsoft and Sony can deliver that playback along with improved game experiences, should we really expect Nintendo’s console to be the next generation’s winner?
Sorry, Nintendo, but the times are changing. And it’s about time you realize that.
Don Reisinger is a technology and video game columnist. You can see what he's up to each day on Twitter by following him @donreisinger.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SlashGear