It looks like Nintendo might be looking to expand the Internet video offerings available on the upcoming Wii U. AdWeek cites multiple unnamed sources in reporting that Nintendo is in talks with "a select number of top content companies" to greatly expand the video-on-demand offerings for their touchscreen-controller-equipped home console, due later this year.
AdWeek likens Nintendo's strategy to that of Microsoft, which recently opened up the Xbox 360's video offerings to include streaming apps from the likes of Syfy, MSNBC, the BBC, and even providers like Comcast and Verizon. One source specifically cited Comcast as a potential partner for video content on the Wii U—though if it's anything like the Xbox deal, users would still need a full Comcast subscription to access a limited selection of previously aired On Demand content over their Internet connection (Verizon subscribers get limited Live TV access through Xbox Live).
Such a move would fit a recent expansion of video offerings on Nintendo systems; the company recently added Hulu Plus capability to the Wii (many months after Xbox 360 and PS3 users got the same support) and has been pushing regular dumps of 3D web video content to the 3DS through the system's Wi-Fi connection.
But it's the huge success of Netflix streaming on Nintendo's console that has likely inspired the company to look for more video options. A Nielsen survey late last year found that a full 33 percent of time American users spent on the Wii went towards watching streaming content, much higher than the 14 or 15 percent of usage time spent streaming video on other video game consoles. True, those streamers might be less likely to spend money on games for the system, but Nintendo makes a profit even if consumers are just buying the Wii as a relatively cheap Netflix box.
While nothing might come of Nintendo's reported efforts, expanded video offerings are an especially interesting idea for the Wii U, thanks to the system's 6.2-inch touchscreen controller. Nintendo has already made a lot of noise about Wii U players potentially being able to transfer a game from the TV to that controller if someone else wanted to, say, watch a TV program. The same concept could theoretically work in reverse, with one person playing a game on the big screen while someone else streams video content to the controller screen.