Playstation 3 Gets Netflix. What About the Wii?

By  |  Monday, October 26, 2009 at 1:15 pm

netflixps3Starting next month, the Playstation 3 will be able to stream Netflix Instant Watch movies, and just like that, the Xbox 360 and Netflix are no longer an exclusive couple. But does this open relationship signal a similar offering for Nintendo’s Wii? Doubtful, for now at least.

The details thus far: PS3 owners will be able to order a free Blu-ray disc from Netflix that taps the Internet through BD-Live. This connects you to the streaming content through your Instant Queue or directly from Netflix’s Web site. The ship date for these magical discs wasn’t announced, but you can now sign-up for an alert. It’s not the ideal solution, but Sony and Netflix use the word “initially” when describing the process, so maybe a firmware update can fix this.

I’m wondering about the Wii because in June, Netflix surveyed some users on whether they’d like to see disc-assisted streaming on Nintendo’s console, just as Netflix conducted at least two similar surveys for Playstation 3 owners. The curious thing is that the Wii doesn’t have a Blu-ray player, and therefore, no BD-Live access, but I imagine something similar could be worked up with a regular game disc.

That’s assuming there’s enough interest in Netflix for the Wii to begin with. I don’t see why people wouldn’t want it, especially if they don’t already have another capable set-top box handy. But Nintendo might not love the idea, as its console has avoided multimedia features like the plague. Nintendo has been building a video channel in Japan, even adding Hollywood movies last June, but there hasn’t been any word that the “Minna no Theater Wii” (”Everyone’s Theater Wii”) will be available elsewhere.

If Nintendo does ever bring its video channel here, it’ll make Netflix look like a glaring omission, but right now, its absence bolsters the Wii’s posture as a straight-up gaming console, one that looks ever more different from both the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3.

Update: For the record, Netflix told Joystiq that “the Wii represents a great opportunity given the size of its installed base, but we have nothing specific to say about it at this point.”

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