ByAna Valens, writer at
Writer and games critic. As seen at the Daily Dot, Waypoint, Kill Screen, Bitch Media, and ZEAL.
Ana Valens

Nintendo fans have been demanding video streaming apps for the Nintendo Switch for months now, and the company has finally answered their requests. Sort of.

Polygon reports that the Nintendo Switch has received a video streaming app for Niconico, the highly popular Japanese video service used across the globe. The app is free, and allows Switch owners to use the service with their devices.

Anyone can grab it too, technically. Although the Niconico Switch app is only available on the Japanese eShop store, any Switch owner can download it by making a Japanese account and hopping into the Japanese shop.

There's a lot of good news here, of course. Niconico is a popular video and livestreaming service, so for Switch fans on the go who enjoy logging into Niconico, the app is already a good start. But it also signals that Nintendo is interested in video streaming on their platform, which is quite frankly long overdue.

Nintendo has wanted video streaming on the Switch for awhile. And it seems like the console will receive more video apps in the U.S. in due time. A Washington Post interview with Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime shows that the company is currently negotiating with Netflix, Amazon and other platforms to bring video to Switch. But games are the main focus for now:

"We’re talking to a range of companies about other services, companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon—things that will come in time. In our view, these are not differentiators. What differentiates us is the way you play with the Nintendo Switch and what you can play. And that will continue to be our focus into the future as we continue driving this platform."

So Switch users might receive Netflix, Hulu and Amazon soon enough.

Video Streaming Will Help Push Switch Sales

The Nintendo Switch is a social gaming platform. It's built to carry around, bring to parties, and play together before class or during a work break. In other words, the Switch works well because it's mobile, not in spite of it. Just look at Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon 2. The Nintendo Switch does mobile gaming well.

But if the Nintendo Switch wants to be an accessible mobile solution, then it needs to diversify. It needs YouTube access on the go. It needs Netflix for long train rides. And it needs Twitch livestreaming, so players can watch their favorite streamers and comment during shows.

In other words, the Switch needed to ship with these features. They're staples of mobile gaming, especially tablet gaming. To this day, many Wii U owners regularly use their GamePad for that very reason, extending the console's lifespan even after the Switch's introduction. But as it stands, the Switch is competing with its predecessor right now for video streaming tablet services. And things just don't look good for the Switch in comparison to the Wii U's video apps.

[Source: Nintendo]
[Source: Nintendo]

It's great to see Nintendo focus on game development. The Switch still needs a diverse roster of launch window games, and it's clear that the company has its priorities in the right direction if they're focusing on gaming first and foremost. But it's hard to justify $300+ on a mobile gaming device that does nothing but play games. It's much easier to convince consumers that the Nintendo Switch is a $300+ gaming tablet that can let people watch videos, stream gameplay or binge on anime series wherever they go.

Nintendo understands this enough to negotiate with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon for Switch apps. But if Nintendo doesn't land any more video streaming apps for the Switch by the holidays, the console may be a tough sell for social gamers that want a relatively balanced mobile platform for the end of the year.

VIdeo streaming is a requirement these days for mobile devices. Let's hope Nintendo wraps up the Switch's video conundrum by them.

What video apps should Nintendo add to the Switch's eShop? Share your picks in the comments below.

(Source: Polygon)


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