On July 13, the Nintendo Switch will receive its first streaming service. Don’t get too excited, though. It’s not Netflix, Hulu, or even YouTube. It’s the popular Japanese streaming service NicoNico — an app which, to be fair, resembles YouTube, as it allows users to share and comment on videos.
NicoNico will only be available on the Japanese eShop. However, considering that it’s relatively easy to access games from other regions’ eShops, it’s possible that users will be able to access the application on the North American eShop. NicoNico does offer English language features over on its site.
While NicoNico probably isn’t the app that most non-Japanese users want to see on the Nintendo Switch, its launch signals a very important development for the device. NicoNico will become the first third-party application available on Nintendo’s latest console, and, at the very least, demonstrates that the console doesn’t have any undiscovered issues with streaming in general.
You’d be forgiven if you thought there were problems with the Switch’s hardware when it comes to streaming, though. More than four months have passed since the Nintendo Switch launched, and to this day, popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video haven’t even been officially confirmed by Nintendo.
For Nintendo’s part, it has claimed that, as with all of its consoles, the Nintendo Switch is dedicated to video games. Shortly after the Switch’s March launch, Nintendo of America’s president and COO, Reggie Fils-Aimé, echoed this sentiment. “What I would say is this: We built the Nintendo Switch to be a world-class gaming device, meaning we want you first and foremost to play games on the system and have an incredibly fun experience,” he said.
He proceeded to claim that although Nintendo was in talks with companies such as Netflix to bring streaming applications to the Switch, streaming services were “not differentiators.” Nintendo believes (and probably rightfully so) that those who consider purchasing a Switch won’t be swayed either way by Netflix or Hulu. And, if it needs to be said, most users who own a Nintendo Switch likely have at least one other means of streaming at home and on the go, starting with their smartphones.
Regardless, it would be nice to have the option to stream shows and movies on the Switch, and the arrival of NicoNico in Japan perhaps hints that we aren’t too terribly far away from having that option.