Against a backdrop of customer anger over a pricing paradigm change at Netflix, Nintendo 3DS owners in the U.S. and Canada are getting access to a free app that lets Netflix members with unlimited streaming plans watch TV shows and movies on the handheld device.
Nintendo sees it as a value-add for its portable gaming system. It's a natural step for both companies, since streaming content from Netflix is already available on the Wii console -- and that service has been a hit. Specifically, Nintendo reports that more than 1.5 million Netflix members watch content on the Wii console on the average day.
Marketing Secondary Functions
"Nintendo positions its game devices as game devices first and anything else second. They don't typically try to be first with multimedia content. But when you are selling devices in this category, the more you can do in some cases the better," said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis.
"If the Nintendo 3DS doesn't provide a differentiated gaming experience, no one is going to buy it in the first place. Sony for the longest time talked about how many people used their PSP as an MP3 player -- it's the second most popular use. The PSP is clearly a large device that's not designed well to be an MP3 player, but secondary functionality sometimes matters."
3D Content Available
The Netflix app is available for download from the Nintendo eShop. Once downloaded, it displays movies and TV episodes in 2D on the system's upper screen. Nintendo said gamers will also soon have access to an additional library of select movies that can be viewed in 3D without the need for special glasses.
In order to use the Netflix application on Nintendo 3DS, consumers need a broadband Internet connection and a Netflix streaming membership starting at $7.99 a month. Netflix members with unlimited streaming plans can access content on their Nintendo 3DS systems and other devices, including the Wii console.
Parents who are concerned about what their kids may be watching on Netflix can tap into the Nintendo 3DS system's parental control settings to manage access to the app. Parents can also manage the specific content their kids watch by using the parental control settings associated with their Netflix account.
Netflix Customers Still Angry
While Netflix may be hoping that its deals with NBC and Nintendo will deflect attention from its pricing changes, customers are still irate about Tuesday's announcement that the streaming video pioneer is splitting its services.
Netflix is separating its streaming service from its DVD shipping service and essentially charging 60 percent more to get what consumers got on Monday. Netflix on Tuesday announced it is launching new unlimited DVD-only plans in the U.S. at $7.99 a month for the one DVD out-at-a-time plan and $11.99 a month for the two DVDs out-at-a-time plan. The unlimited streaming plan will remain at $7.99 a month. The price for getting both unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be $15.98 a month. The changes go into effect on Sept. 1 for existing members.
"No, I do not think what Netflix did was a good business move. They are alienating their customers with their greed and arrogance," a commenter on the Wall Street Journal opinion poll wrote about Netflix's move. "I don't like streaming video, and this attempt to force us all to go that route is not good. Besides, they just instituted a price increase less than seven months ago, and now they want to jack the price again? Sure I can afford it, but it's the principle of the thing."
Posted: 2011-07-14 @ 4:25pm PT
I will cancel my account when Netflix raises my rate.