Why do modern consoles play DVDs?

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#1 Posted by deactivated-57e190e6cd327 (231 posts) -

Back then, a video game console used to be just a video game console. Nowadays, it can play games, DVDs, music CDs, and even Blu-rays.

For example, Sony makes the Playstation consoles, which can play DVDs and Blu-rays. Umm... they also make DVD players and Blu-ray players! Wouldn't there be no need?

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#2 Posted by mastermetal777 (3231 posts) -

It's the way technology works. If it can, then it will as long as it doesn't cost too much.

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#3 Posted by Byshop (19566 posts) -

@chad_devore said:

Back then, a video game console used to be just a video game console. Nowadays, it can play games, DVDs, music CDs, and even Blu-rays.

For example, Sony makes the Playstation consoles, which can play DVDs and Blu-rays. Umm... they also make DVD players and Blu-ray players! Wouldn't there be no need?

Consoles originally used cartridges to contain their "software", which were basically printed circuit boards that had EEPROM chips with the actual game software encoded on them. This worked for a long time from the earliest consoles like the Atari 2600 through to the SNES and Genesis generation. However, as portable CD players and CD-ROM drives in computers became more and more commonplace (and cheaper), consoles shifted to optical disk-based media. Cartridges had the advantage of almost no load time, but they didn't hold nearly as much data and they were expensive to produce. When consoles started shifting to CD-based media, they were able to cut their media production costs by a significant margin as well as increase the amount of stuff they could put on a disk. CD-based games meant that they could put more artwork in the game, voice acting, and real recorded/licensed music. Every CD-rom also has the ability to play audio CDs built in, so allowing the console to play audio CDs was an easy side benefit. In fact, in some of the early consoles the in-game music was stored as CD audio tracks on the CD.

Later, when the PS2 made the shift to DVD based media they also added the ability to play DVDs. This wasn't quite the freebee add on that playing audio CDs was, but it was a huge selling point for the console because (at the time) the PS2 cost about the same amount of money as a DVD player. The same goes for the PS3 and Bluray as well as the Xbone and PS4.

The reason that other companies still make these devices is because nowadays you can get a Bluray player for far less money than a modern console that can play Blurays (even as low as under $50) and not everyone wants a video game console.

-Byshop

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#4 Posted by DaVillain- (36445 posts) -

@Byshop said:
@chad_devore said:

Back then, a video game console used to be just a video game console. Nowadays, it can play games, DVDs, music CDs, and even Blu-rays.

For example, Sony makes the Playstation consoles, which can play DVDs and Blu-rays. Umm... they also make DVD players and Blu-ray players! Wouldn't there be no need?

Consoles originally used cartridges to contain their "software", which were basically printed circuit boards that had EEPROM chips with the actual game software encoded on them. This worked for a long time from the earliest consoles like the Atari 2600 through to the SNES and Genesis generation. However, as portable CD players and CD-ROM drives in computers became more and more commonplace (and cheaper), consoles shifted to optical disk-based media. Cartridges had the advantage of almost no load time, but they didn't hold nearly as much data and they were expensive to produce. When consoles started shifting to CD-based media, they were able to cut their media production costs by a significant margin as well as increase the amount of stuff they could put on a disk. CD-based games meant that they could put more artwork in the game, voice acting, and real recorded/licensed music. Every CD-rom also has the ability to play audio CDs built in, so allowing the console to play audio CDs was an easy side benefit. In fact, in some of the early consoles the in-game music was stored as CD audio tracks on the CD.

Later, when the PS2 made the shift to DVD based media they also added the ability to play DVDs. This wasn't quite the freebee add on that playing audio CDs was, but it was a huge selling point for the console because (at the time) the PS2 cost about the same amount of money as a DVD player. The same goes for the PS3 and Bluray as well as the Xbone and PS4.

The reason that other companies still make these devices is because nowadays you can get a Bluray player for far less money than a modern console that can play Blurays (even as low as under $50) and not everyone wants a video game console.

-Byshop

Also to add that back when PS2 was still new, DVD were still a thing, owning a DVD Player at the time were really expensive compare to PS2 which added a DVD drive and it was a gaming system for a great combo price. DVD also store more data then the cartridges since they were over expensive then DVD. Blu-Ray can hold twice more data which eliminates 2 disc on the game meaning no more switching from disc 1 to 2 and MS had to go with Blu-Ray with Xbox One since 360 didn't have a Blu-Ray drive

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#5 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (21530 posts) -

Actually "consoles back then" tried the multifunction approach too: the Game Gear had a TV tuner, the Dreamcast had a web browser, the PS1 and Saturn played Audio CDs, even the PSP had movies on UMD. It's not unheard of.

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#6 Posted by Byshop (19566 posts) -

@davillain- said:

Also to add that back when PS2 was still new, DVD were still a thing, owning a DVD Player at the time were really expensive compare to PS2 which added a DVD drive and it was a gaming system for a great combo price. DVD also store more data then the cartridges since they were over expensive then DVD. Blu-Ray can hold twice more data which eliminates 2 disc on the game meaning no more switching from disc 1 to 2 and MS had to go with Blu-Ray with Xbox One since 360 didn't have a Blu-Ray drive

I'm not sure what you mean by "DVD also store more data then the cartridges since they were over expensive then DVD".

Retail DVD players were running about neck in neck with a new PS2 back when the PS2 was first released. This was huge for Sony, since at that time there were few incentives to buy a standalone DVD player over a PS2 for the same price even if you didn't plan on gaming. There were a few arguments that set-top DVD players for the same price (or more) were better quality and this appealed to the home theater enthusiasts and audio-videophiles. Progressive Scan DVD players were just starting to become a big thing, for example, and this feature was not available on the earliest models of PS2.

Regarding the capacities, a standard CD-ROM could hold about 700MB (or .7GB) of uncompressed data (Dreamcast GD-ROMs were closer to 1gb). DVDs held 4.7GB for single layer (the limit of most DVD burners) and 9.4GB for dual layer (what factories could put out) which is over 10 times what a CD could hold. Blu-ray holds 25GB per layer, and dual layer is the current industry standard so a Bluray disk can hold over 5 times what a full sized DVD can, not double. Additional layering with Blu-Ray is possible although it's not currently used beyond 2 for most applications.

@Black_Knight_00 said:

Actually "consoles back then" tried the multifunction approach too: the Game Gear had a TV tuner, the Dreamcast had a web browser, the PS1 and Saturn played Audio CDs, even the PSP had movies on UMD. It's not unheard of.

That's a good point. I believe the PS1 even supported the seldom used "Video CD" standard (at least, seldom used in the US).

-Byshop

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#7 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (21530 posts) -

@Byshop said:
@Black_Knight_00 said:

Actually "consoles back then" tried the multifunction approach too: the Game Gear had a TV tuner, the Dreamcast had a web browser, the PS1 and Saturn played Audio CDs, even the PSP had movies on UMD. It's not unheard of.

That's a good point. I believe the PS1 even supported the seldom used "Video CD" standard (at least, seldom used in the US).

-Byshop

Technically yes: as far as I know there was a third party addon which slotted into the parallel I/O port and allowed VCD playback among other things, but as far as I know nothing officially made by Sony.

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#8 Posted by BassMan (10174 posts) -

How is this a bad thing? Why have separate players when one machine can do it all? Never mind the players, there is no need for consoles either. A PC can do everything. Now if they would only kill the consoles and release all those exclusives on PC, then we could all live happily ever after.

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#9 Posted by pillarrocks (1491 posts) -

I remember before I got a DVD player I used my PS2 as a DVD player as DVD players were pretty expensive when they came out. I think I remember my Sony VHS/DVD combo costing like $200 back in the early 2000's.

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#10 Posted by speedfreak48t5p (13614 posts) -

Um that's a good thing?

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#11 Posted by Archangel3371 (27894 posts) -

Because the technology allows for it to be an easy feature to implement.

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#12 Posted by JangoWuzHere (19032 posts) -

I've always watched blu-rays on my PS3. Why would I spend an extra $100 just for a blu-ray player?

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#13 Posted by Smashbrossive50 (3915 posts) -

@chad_devore: we moved on,sonny.

Back in those days, storage devices like cartridges,VCDs, and floppy disks were used,but the games they have are not as durable as today's DVD standard.. Mathematically, games back then hardly last up to 6 hours or longer,due to the storage capability haven't yet reached gigabyte,now we have reached 500 gigabytes,even up to terabytes,which is the most powerful option as of now.

so stop whining and carry on with the evolution of technology. We ain't expecting a Flintstone-leveled technology everyday,in which everything is carved out of stone.