Today marks the day that Nintendo Switch users in the US are able to download and use the massive video streaming service, Hulu.
In Nintendo’s weekly press release, in which they detail which new games are coming to the e-shop, towards the end of the document slept a sneaky little bullet-point detailing the release of the Hulu app on the mobile gaming console.
Although Hulu is the first big streaming service to hit the American e-shop shelves, it isn’t actually the first for the system. The first video streaming service that was available to the public is the Japanese equivalent of YouTube – NicoNico. Though, obviously, this wasn’t available anywhere outside of Japan.
It seems like a strange decision for Nintendo to be so quiet about the release, which is the first of its kind, as the general public would have been excited to find out prior – regardless, it does open a few avenues and pave the way for more questions, such as:
Does that mean Switch users will be getting YouTube/Netflix/Amazon Prime?
If the success of the Switch continues to snowball like it has been since its release in March, then the likely answer is a yes. Yes, you’ll be able to watch the new series of Stranger Things whilst you’re on the daily commute to work, and yeah, you might be even able to fit a few YouTube videos in as well. Though it probably wont be any time soon – the Switch is a brand new console, and things take time. Nintendo aren’t throwing their caution to the wind, despite the desires of the general public.
The Hulu app looks identical to what you’ll see on other consoles, with support for ad-based and ad-free subscriptions, as well as live TV. It’s not been shared whether the release of Hulu means the release of other popular streaming services is imminent – for all we know, this could be a test, to see if the user experience and reaction is one that would be desired. Honestly though, turning the Switch into a full-fledged entertainment system leaves nothing to be missed, it would make even more of an amazing console if it had these further abilities.
Just after the Switch’s launch, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime staid this:
“We built the Nintendo Switch to be a world-class gaming device, meaning we want you first and foremost to play games on the system and have an incredibly fun experience. We’re talking to a range of companies about other services, companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon–things that will come in time. In our view, these are not differentiators.”
“When you think about a new platform, what will define it as a long-term success are the ongoing range of games and experiences that come to the platform–not what’s available on day one,” he added. “For the Nintendo Switch, we were very deliberate in wanting to make sure, from a Nintendo publish[ing] standpoint, that we had a steady cadence of great games in addition to strong titles at launch.”
Nintendo’s dreams for the Switch were for it to be, first and foremost, a gaming system. Including things such as Netflix or Spotify would make it too similar to its competition, the Xbox One and PS4. The Switch was created to stand out from the crowd and be big and different (which it most certainly is), and in the eyes of Nintendo, following in the footsteps of Microsoft and Sony wasn’t the way to separate it in the market.
Even so, it’s clear now that Nintendo understands the benefits of bringing streaming services over to their flagship console – it will drive sales as users who see the great possibilities of a portable streaming and gaming console.