Nintendo finally announced today that it has added streaming Netflix to the Wii game console, with Netflix now supporting all three major game consoles.
The rise in popularity of streaming content has led Netflix to transition from its DVD rental business to streaming media.
Both the Microsoft Xbox 360 (Nov. 2008) and Sony PlayStation 3 (Nov. 2009) game consoles offer Netflix and other online media, but Nintendo has lagged behind. The Wii has remained the No. 1 game console, and adding Netflix support this spring should help the company stay competitive.
Nintendo also offers pay-per-view content in Japan, but that isn’t expected to be available in the United States.
Netflix subscribers can now use any of the three consoles to access the instant viewing online movie and TV service for free.
As much as I enjoy playing the Wii with two or three other people, the lack of digital content and quality of solo games is extremely disappointing. Since its launch, Nintendo officials defended the console by noting it was meant as an interactive game system, and not a digital entertainment console. The Wii doesn’t have DVD or Blu-ray support — or offer high-definition video similar to the Xbox 360 or PS3 — but has seen success due to its Wiimote and unique gaming experience.
I still have a hard time believing Nintendo will be able to compete with the Xbox 360 and PS3, even with the addition of Netflix. The Wii’s game collection is disappointing — the Wii trails the Xbox 360 and PS3 in total usage time, as gamers have quickly become bored with the Wii. I think this is the biggest hurdle Nintendo has to overcome in 2010, as the company works with game developers to ensure quality titles are being developed.