Netflix on Wii: Consumer’s Don’t Care About Visuals

Nintendo of America President Says Loss of HD Content via Netflix on Wii is “No loss for the Wii consumer”

January 15, 2010 – On Wednesday, Nintendo announced that Netflix, the popular video rental service, would be coming to the Nintendo Wii platform, allowing Wii owners to rent movies and stream them directly onto their TVs through the Wii. In an interview with CNBC, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime discussed Netflix on the Wii and addressed concerns that the Wii can’t stream HD content as the Xbox 360 and PS3 can.

Netflix has been available on PSN and Xbox Live for some time now, enabling users of the two high-definition gaming platforms to stream movies onto their TVs. The Wii finally entered the fray, allowing their 26 million owners to access Netflix’s vast library of content. However, the Nintendo Wii was built as a gaming platform focusing less on visuals and more on interactivity. As a result, high-definition capabilities weren’t included with the Wii. So, users who access Netflix’s database via their Wii’s will miss out on HD movie experiences.

According to Mr. Fils-Aime, that doesn’t matter. During the interview he said, “the vast majority of content for streaming on Netflix is not HD content, so there really is no loss for the Wii consumer with the fact they can’t get any HD content through our system.”

Despite the fact that HD content is the new medium for TV and film, Mr. Fils-Aime said that Wii owners don’t really care about HD content, saying, “the consumer has voted: over 26 million consumers have bought a Wii. The consumer is saying that for them, the quality of the visuals is not nearly as important as the overall experience, the overall value.”

Will consumer's still not care about visuals when it comes to streaming films like Avatar in their homes?

As for when Nintendo will release something with HD content? Mr. Fils-Aime suggested that a new console won’t be needed until the Wii is “tapped out,” which he says won’t happen for years.

As NPD figures suggest, Mr. Fils-Aime is right in that regard. The Wii continues to sell like hotcakes and Nintendo’s exclusive titles for the Wii have been outperforming major titles such as Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed II and Left 4 Dead 2.

But, the question remains – will consumers hold a different standard about visuals when it comes to films? The owners of Nintendo’s Wii don’t seem to care about having HD gaming visuals, but when it comes to watching an episode of 24 or streaming Avatar when it’s released on film, will the lack of HD be an issue?

Source: CNBC