Confirmed: Netflix Streaming Coming To The Wii Very Shortly Dan Rayburn, Streamingmedia Blog, Wednesday October 28, 2009, 2:03 PM
Last week I received some images that showed Netflix streaming on a Wii console. I didn't run with the story at the time as I didn't know if the images were legit and it's taken me until today to confirm they are in fact real. I'm not disclosing who confirmed it for me but someone involved in the project has confirmed that Nintendo is currently in testing stages with Netflix to bring their streaming service to the Wii very soon.
What I'm hearing is that Nintendo originally planned to bring the Netflix service to the Wii before the end of this year, which still might take place, but that Nintendo is also considering holding off on the Netflix service until they release their next generation Wii HD unit in early 2010.
Note: I am not sharing any of the images I received as I don't want to burn the person who sent them to me.
Nintendo Wii to Add Netflix Service for Streaming Video By BRAD STONE, New York Times, January 13, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO — Owners of the Nintendo Wii can finally stop waving their video game controllers in the air and sink back onto the couch.
Nintendo is bringing Netflix’s online streaming video service to its Wii gaming console, the most popular in the industry, the companies plan to announce Wednesday. The service lets subscribers choose from a catalog of generally older movies and television shows and watch them instantly.
The deal is further evidence of a movement by makers of game consoles to broaden their appeal by positioning them as a bridge between the living room television and a wider world of online multimedia.
So far those efforts have not been enough to calm anxieties about the overall direction of the $16.8 billion video game business. The industry is threatened by a dearth of popular new franchises, which tend to attract gamers to an endless number of sequels, as well as the sudden rise of cheap games for smartphones and free casual games on social networks.
“You just have to wonder if people are going to buy prepackaged $60 video games in the future,” said Mark Mahaney, managing director for Internet research at Citigroup. “If you are a console maker, you better quickly hurry to add more functionality and features to your console.”
Nintendo’s rivals are generally further along in that effort. The Sony PlayStation 3 has a Blu-ray disc player and can use Sony’s own online movie store. Microsoft has outfitted the Xbox 360 with its Zune high-definition movie store and allows users to chat online while they watch films together. Both of those consoles already offer the Netflix service.
The Wii has had only minimal video material, but it will take a big step forward in this regard with Netflix, when the Wii adds the service this spring. Wii owners with a broadband Internet connection who have at least a $9-a-month subscription to Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service will be able to use the online service at no additional cost.
But Wii owners will need to receive a free software disc in the mail from Netflix and put it into their console when they want to watch a movie, as on the PS3.
The Wii, unlike the PS3 and Xbox, is not powerful enough to display high-definition streaming video. Some analysts and industry observers expect Nintendo to announce a new Wii HD version of its console next year.
Though it is now more than three years old, the original Wii continues to charm casual gamers with its unique style of game play, which involves physical gestures. Nintendo said it sold three million units in the United States alone over the holidays, outselling both of its rivals, and has sold a total of 26 million in this country.
However, both Sony and Microsoft are expected to add gesture-style game play to their devices over the next year. And the PS3, at least, appears to be slowly gaining ground on the Wii. Sony introduced a slimmed-down version of the PS3 last year and said it sold 3.8 million units worldwide in December, a 76 percent increase over the year before.
By adding Netflix to its service, Nintendo may be making a bid for customers who are considering switching. “Nintendo is saying, look, we are doing all the same stuff. You want to remain connected to us,” said Pelham Smithers, an independent video game analyst.
Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, said the Wii had always been primarily about bringing video games to the mass market, including people who normally would not play a violent shoot-’em-up or pick up a traditional video game controller.
But, Mr. Fils-Aime said, “from Day 1, we always had other capabilities within the console.” The deal with Netflix, he said, “is a continuation of an effort to bring more and more entertainment to consumers who interact with the Wii.”
The deal gives Netflix a prominent hat trick in the video game console market and underscores its recent emphasis on its digital streaming business. The company, based in Los Gatos, Calif., now has more than 11 million subscribers to its traditional DVD-by-mail business. But more of those people are also watching movies and shows online: more than 50 percent, up from 20 percent a year and a half ago when Netflix first started adding its streaming service to devices like the Xbox.
“Our growth in the last two years has been propelled in large part by our investments in streaming content and in the streaming platform,” said Reed Hastings, Netflix’s chief executive. “When the Wii application ships, it’s going to really open up a large additional opportunity.”
One part of that opportunity is to expand the somewhat dusty catalog of films available online. Hollywood studios make mostly older movies available for streaming on Netflix: the 1976 version of “Carrie,” for instance, but not the 2002 remake.
Mr. Hastings says the size of the streaming catalog correlates to the size of the checks it can write to Hollywood studios. So as Netflix adds customers — and cuts costs — it can gradually expand the catalog. Analysts say they believe it costs Netflix about 5 cents to stream a movie online, versus 60 cents to mail a disc to and from a customer.
Netflix also hopes that the accessibility of its online service on devices like the Wii will encourage subscribers to stick around, helping it cut down on marketing expenses. Terms of the Nintendo deal were not disclosed.
As its digital service expands, Netflix subscribers who want to ditch, say, an expensive $25-a-month plan, which allows them to keep four DVDs at a time, may be more easily persuaded to cut back to a cheaper plan instead of canceling outright.
“Netflix is hoping more people will sample the streaming service and like it, and that it will ultimately limit churn,” said John Blackledge, a senior analyst at Credit Suisse.
Analysts have been expecting a deal between Netflix and Nintendo for some time. Mr. Hastings said the Wii’s unusual interface, as well as the specifications of its hardware, created technical challenges to getting the service to work properly.
“The other platforms have a pretty consistent and well-known paradigm, but the Wii is unique,” he said. “All of those things have taken a long time of experimentation and refinement.”
Everything you need to know about watching movies on your Wii
The Wiire, By Mike Suszek / Friday, 29 January 2010
Nintendo recently announced their partnership with the movie service giant, Netflix. Their deal, to bring the Netflix service to the Wii, has no doubt turned many heads.
Nintendo's Wii console make sense as Netflix's next target. Their goal, as Vice President of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey puts it, is to be "ubiquitous on all devices."
Part of that goal has been met. Netflix streams instantly on two-thirds of the main home video game consoles. The last system standing, as it were, is the Wii.
Luckily for Wii owners, the process of streaming movies through your Wii system to your television couldn't be easier.
To simplify it, we'll update you with all the information we have on the Wii Netflix service right here, so I encourage you to bookmark this page.
Below is a part of our interview with Swasey, where he describes the steps you need to take to get your Wii Remote-enabled Netflix on. No speakers? No worries, you can listen in on part of the interview below as well.
What you need:
•Nintendo Wii system •Active Netflix membership •Netflix instant streaming disc •Broadband internet connection •Internet-enabled computer (tentative)
What you do:
1. Order the instant streaming disc. In order to stream Netflix to your Wii console, you need the disc that Netflix provides. Those interested in trying out the service can order their disc NOW, well before the service's Spring release. The disc operates much like your standard Wii game. Upon entering the disc into the system and accessing it on the Disc Channel, it connects you to your Netflix account online (a broadband internet connection is required
2. Sign up for a Netflix Membership. Not surprisingly, to stream Netflix instantly to your Wii takes being a member of Netflix. That, in turn, takes money. By signing up for the standard DVD-by-mail service that Netflix provides, you're automatically allowed to stream movies to any of your supported devices (including the Wii) free of charge. There are no extra fees for instant watch on Netflix. Memberships start at $8.99 per month, and are a must-have for movie buffs. Obviously, current Netflix members don't need another account, the active one you have right now will work just fine.
3. Run the initial Netflix setup. Upon inserting the instant streaming disc in your Wii system, a short setup runs to setup Netflix on your Wii. As of now, there are no plans for this step to place any sort of Netflix Channel on your Wii for instant streaming, the disc is still required for use. Neither Netflix nor Nintendo have said what exactly the disc is installing or setting up on the system.
4. Set up your Instant Watch queue. Your Instant Watch queue is a playlist of movies you set up personally, which streamlines the streaming process. As of right now, this queue will have to be set up and modified from your home computer, as there is no confirmation that this Instant Watch queue can be configured from your Wii console.
5. Browse categories and begin watching. Netflix on the Wii may not currently offer the ability to modify your Instant Watch queue, but it does let users browse and select movies based on various categories. The categories, such as popular titles, personal preferences, genres, and likely more should make the experience easier for any person using the Wii.
6. Rate the movies you've watched. A movie service like this would be nothing without some form of rating system. Luckily, Netflix is including a simple ratings system with the service on the Wii. Viewers can rate movies they've watched, which as we understand will factor into categories when browsing movies by their rating.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What's the point of streaming Netflix on the Wii when it doesn't support HD? Funny enough, Netflix doesn't support HD as much as you think. Out of the 17,000 movies available for Instant Watch on Netflix, not that many are in HD, nor is the HD as "hi-def" as you would think.
In fact, our recent interview with a Netflix representative indicates that the Wii service is "fundamentally the same" as those offered on other video game consoles. As long as the service performs well, there's no reason to disregard it entirely, there's still plenty to watch.
Why do I have to have the instant streaming disc in the Wii to watch movies? The disc is proprietary software that simply makes the whole service work on your system.
Some say that it's a loophole in Netflix's exclusivity agreement with Microsoft to stream movies to the Xbox 360 (as Sony's Playstation 3 also uses a similar disc for Netflix on its console). Others think that the disc is necessary to make Netflix "watchable" on a more underpowered system like the Wii.
There has been no confirmation from either Netflix or Nintendo to verify either rumor.
Will Netflix ever make a Netflix Channel for the Wii, like the Nintendo Channel? While Netflix has confirmed that the Sony Playstation 3 system's use of the instant streaming disc is a temporary solution until Netflix is added to the game console's software, neither Netflix nor Nintendo have elaborated on the possibility of a Netflix Channel eventually replacing the instant streaming disc.