Nintendo's new Wii U will support online video
Nintendo has added a live TV element to its strategy to make the next Wii--the Wii U, due for the U.S. market in November--more than just a game console.
In addition to the usual array of games, the Wii U will offer consumers a shot at on-demand video from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), Hulu Plus and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) as well as the opportunity for second screen live TV consumption. The loaded lineup means that Nintendo is back in the game with competitors Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), which have been offering video services and working with pay TV providers for a while now.
And, while Nintendo still has a way to go in its battle with the Xbox and Playstation 3, it has come up with a differentiator over the competition. The Wii U's touchscreen gamepad can be integrated with a user's existing cable or satellite TV service, turning it into a remote control with IR blaster and second screen capabilities. In the TV mode, the gamepad can be used to browse titles from Netflix and live TV listings. TiVo owners will be able to control their DVR through the gamepad, which also turns into a second screen with access to game stats during sporting events and Twitter access thanks to an agreement between Nintendo and I.tv.
The whole TV connection is called TVii, and it's free for users who pay the normal fees for Netflix, Amazon or Hulu Plus. That's a pretty big difference from the likes of Microsoft, which request a subscription fee for its Xbox besides the third party fees, and it's a big addition to Wii's originally announced intention to include support for Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus.
- check out this GigaOM story
Nintendo 'moving beyond' hardware with new online strategy
Amazon video streaming goes live on Microsoft's Xbox 360