On June 30, Nintendo quietly pulled the plug on the Wii U and 3DS Netflix apps. Not only does this mean anybody still using these older consoles to watch Netflix are now screwed, but it also officially means that in the year 2021 there is no way to watch Netflix on a Nintendo device. This would be surprising if it was any other company than Nintendo.
We knew that Netflix on Nintendo consoles was not long for this world. Back in January of this year, Nintendo confirmed that the Netflix apps would stop working on June 30. The month before that, the publisher removed both the 3DS and Wii U Netflix apps from each console’s digital stores. So while this news isn’t surprising, the situation it leaves behind is strange.
In 2021, digital streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ are bigger than ever. You can’t go more than a few weeks without some company that owns a library of old movies and shows announcing that, yes, they too are getting in on the streaming wars. It’s very likely that the bubble for all of this will pop sooner than later, but that won’t kill streaming services. It will instead consolidate power around a few big ones.
Meanwhile, Nintendo is mostly not interested in any of this. Sure, it’s true that there are a few streaming video apps on Switch, including YouTube and Hulu, but the vast majority of popular streaming services do not have apps on Nintendo’s hybrid console.
Zack, you might say, who cares? There are approximately 45,431 different ways to watch Netflix. But odds are more folks than you might hope still used their Nintendo devices for Netflix, so 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 around like flies on a dead horse, it seems even more bizarre that Nintendo wouldn’t want to give its customers an option to stay within its ecosystem when they want to watch some Nailed It. I mean, even the PS2 had Netflix, come on Nintendo.