Switch won't have Netflix at launch and this is why that's actually a good sign

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Nintendo Switch won't launch with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, or any of that stuff. The company confirmed as much in an interview with Kotaku, though it did say "support for video-streaming services is being considered for a future update". Wait, just considered, not aggressively pursued? Almost every electronic device that can plug into your TV or fit in your bag can do Netflix these days, so it may seem alarming that Nintendo is being so non-committal about an expected feature. It definitely does tell us something about the direction that Nintendo's planning to take the console, but it's actually more encouraging than concerning.

Do you remember TVii? The reason every Wii U GamePad has a television remote control built into it? Me neither, until I started writing this article. It was supposed to be a one-stop entertainment solution, bridging all of your video-on-demand services with your cable or satellite. At the press of a button you could call up a single search to see all the different options you could use to watch any given program, get recommendations based on your viewing habits, and participate in special curated social-viewing experiences.

TVii was barely used in the three years before Nintendo shut it down (it didn't help that TVii never actually launched in Europe). The video streaming apps themselves remained, but Nintendo's grand plan to make Wii U an overall entertainment platform - one of the system's original selling points - totally fizzled.

Why should Nintendo stress about giving you yet another streaming option?

So yes, I'm pleased that Nintendo is officially done with trying to make an all-in-one entertainment destination. Everything it's said about Switch so far has fed back into one concept: it's a home video game console you can take with you on the go. It's meant to be a companion for your everyday life, a way to keep higher-end gaming with you wherever you are. It is not and will never be the one piece of tech you want for any given situation.

Heck, you need to pull up a smartphone app just to do multiplayer voice chat on Switch! And if you have a smartphone, you already have a way to watch Stranger Things. Why should Nintendo stress about giving you yet another option?

Sure, there are plenty of scenarios where it would be nice if Switch did video streaming: you don't want to keep a bunch of stuff hooked up to your TV, you don't want to bother switching your display input around all the time, your phone has a tiny screen, and so on. But the console's intended market can't spit without hitting a Netflix-enabled device, and Nintendo already been burned by trying to sell a system that lacked focus. If and when the streaming services arrive on Switch, that'll be great. Until then I'm glad that Nintendo's focusing on the two things it's always done best: fun games and new ways to play them.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

One of GR+'s news crew, Connor also writes features from time to time and does a lil' streamin'-streamin' on the side. Chrom is his husband and nothing will ever come between them.
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