On June 30, Nintendo quietly pulled the plug on the Wii U and 3DS Netflix apps. Not only does this mean that anyone who still uses those old consoles to watch Netflix is now screwed, but it also officially means that in 2021 there is no way to watch Netflix on a Nintendo device. It would be surprising if it was a company other than Nintendo.
We knew that Netflix on Nintendo consoles would not be long in this world. In January of this year, Nintendo confirmed that the Netflix apps to stop working on June 30. The previous month, the publisher had removed Netflix 3DS and Wii U apps from every console’s digital stores. So while this news is not surprising, the situation it leaves behind is odd.
In 2021, digital streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney + are bigger than ever. You can’t go more than a few weeks without a company with a library of old movies and shows telling you that, yes, they too are embarking on the streaming war. It’s very likely that the bubble for all of this will burst sooner rather than later, but it won’t kill streaming services. Rather, it will consolidate power around a few big ones.
Meanwhile, Nintendo is generally not interested in all of this. Of course, it is true that there are a few video streaming apps on Switch, including YouTube and Hulu, but the vast majority of popular streaming services don’t have apps on Nintendo’s hybrid console.
Zack, could you say, who cares? There are approximately 45,431 different ways to watch Netflix. But there’s a good chance more people than you might expect are still using their Nintendo devices for Netflix, so it sucks for them. Plus, I don’t think Nintendo catching up with the rest of us in 2021 by supporting a few more video apps would hurt the Switch in any way.
And with rumors of a 4K “Switch Pro” swirling like flies on a dead horse, it seems even more bizarre that Nintendo doesn’t want to give its customers the option to stay in its ecosystem when they want to watch some I have arrived. I want to say, even the PS2 had Netflix, go to Nintendo.