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Nintendo selects Sonic to enable DVD functionality in future version of Wii console

Out of all the new consoles (and a couple of the older ones), the Nintendo Wii will be the only one without DVD movie playback capability. While it's doubtful that the omission of such a feature will deter anyone from buying the console, considering that a basic DVD player can be had for less than the price of an extra Wii controller, the word came out today that a DVD-enabled Wii will be released by Nintendo in the latter half of 2007.

Sonic Solutions, creators of the Roxio CD and DVD software, was chosen by Nintendo to provide its CinePlayer CE DVD Navigator software for DVD playback on the Wii.

"To be involved in Nintendos ground-breaking gaming console is extremely gratifying and a testament to the efficiency, flexibility and dependability of Sonics technology," said Jim Taylor, senior vice president and general manager of Sonics Advanced Technology Group. "Game consoles represent a fresh market and platform where we can introduce a new audience of potentially millions to the quality of our brand and the power of our digital media applications."

A likely reason that Nintendo chose not to include DVD playback on its new console is that it would raise costs. In order for a machine to play DVDs, it must pay royalties for the license. The original Xbox sidestepped this obstacle by offering DVD playable functionality (and license) as part of a separate remote-control add-on.

While it is unclear why Nintendo chooses to release a completely different console instead of an "upgrade accessory" like with the first Xbox, a Nintendo spokesperson has made it clear that the differences are larger than just software and that it "requires more than a firmware upgrade."

The Nintendo Wii will launch in North America this Sunday, November 19.




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