Nintendo TVii is a new direction for Nintendo. The WiiU application which combines streaming video services like Netflix, DVR, and live broadcasts into one central service accessible by touch is a new direction for the company that made the relatively net-phobic Wii, while Microsoft and Sony rushed to make their consoles into media centers.
Nintendo of America president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime told The Seattle Times that while he's confident in TVii, ultimately it's one more way for Nintendo to solidify itself as a full-service entertainment company.
"Nintendo TVii is certainly going to be something that every member of the family picks up and engages in at least once a day," Fils-Aime said. "If that helps them get more comfortable with the GamePad and in the end adds to more games being played, then that's great. But fundamentally it's part of the overall proposition of games, TV plus social."
TVii lets people watch either on their TVs or on the GamePad while watching social media streams or answering polls, and presents new ways to sort through the content available on all subscribed services at once. "We do think we've created a better mousetrap," Fils-Aime said, one which will compete against dedicated set-top boxes like Roku and Apple TV.
Fils-Aime said he expects the console to appeal first and foremost to gamers, saying that's about two-thirds of North American households today. TVii, which as its own service is available at no extra cost, will add value and be immediately attractive to media companies for its already-existing install base. "Essentially we were the perfect vehicle to drive this type of innovation into the home."
He doesn't expect the WiiU's services to be as profitable as its games, though he does think it will be a "healthy business."
"Because in the end the time that consumer spends in any form of entertainment that's not on our device is a missed opportunity for us. It's that type of thinking that led us to create Brain Age, same type of thinking that led us to create Wii Fit — it's looking at the broadest landscape possible as to what constitutes entertainment."