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Nintendo Needs Apps

by Zack Kaplan - November 4, 2014, 11:39 am EST
Total comments: 18

Nintendo is lagging behind its competition with multimedia support. It's time for a change.

Whenever a Nintendo system launches, the only thing that truly concerns me is what games will I be able to play. After a while I crave more. That's when applications come in handy. With the 3DS and Wii U, apps have been few and far between, and if Nintendo wants to compete for sales, they should reach out and bring more to their platforms to add more value.

Let's face it, at the Wii U's price of $299, multimedia content is severely lacking when compared to the Xbox One (being dropped to $349) and PlayStation 4 ($399). While I understand the Wii U is a gaming console first and foremost, the reality of the market shows that many people, especially those outside the core gaming crowd, determine value by what a system can do. When spending hundreds of dollars, the average consumer looks at these features to make their decisions.

While the Wii U and 3DS both have Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, and the Wii U has Amazon Instant Video, there is room for so much more. Here are a few suggestions:

eReader, Kindle and Nook: Reading on phones and tablets has become commonplace, I see no reason for Nintendo systems not to do the same. The 3DS would provide a convenient way to bring books wherever you go. The Wii U GamePad could easily serve as an eReader with Off-TV Play. A partnership with a company like Amazon or Barnes and Noble would bring a lot of attention to these devices, and could get people hooked on gaming in the process. Buy a 2DS as a really cheap eReader for your kid, and hey did you know you can play Mario on it, too? Comic books are also worthy of an app, specifically Comixology (also owned by Amazon). The Wii U and 3DS could both handle these kind of applications, and the fast speed of the New 3DS could make everything run even more smoothly for new handheld adopters.


Services like Vudu allow consumers to watch digital copies of movies anywhere on any device using UltraViolet. Throw it on to the 3DS and Wii U, and now both systems would have large video libraries for rent or purchase, without having to set up a whole different movie store interface for the eShop akin to the PlayStation Store.

Personal Videos: Now that the New 3DS allows users to sync data over WiFi, why not let users put their personal mp4s on the microSD card? While it is possible with the camera app, a dedicated app for videos longer than 10 mins, would be useful. Nintendo's own 3D videos could be stored here too, like trailers for movies and maybe purchasable versions of Miyamoto's Pikmin Shorts.

While Nintendo systems may be missing many services that other systems have, they are still great devices. A few more features would go a long way this holiday season and beyond into convincing consumers to go the Nintendo route.



Ian SaneNovember 04, 2014

I personally don't care about this stuff.  I buy a videogame system to use as a videogame system and any extra functionality it has is just a bonus I probably won't use.  But I do think it's important for Nintendo products to come across as being of comparable value to the competition.  Despite being cheaper the Wii U's perceived value seems much less than the other consoles.  I think the lack of apps is pretty minor compared to other issues but Nintendo should take perceived value into account when designing their products.  If you're missing a feature that the competition has what trade-off is there to make up for that in the minds of consumers?  If there is some key app that Nintendo is missing do they have a functional alternative for it or some different app that the other guys don't have an equivalent of or some reduction in price?

If you go through a checklist of all three consoles there shouldn't be any empty checkboxes on the Nintendo side unless they can be balanced out by empty checkboxes on Sony and Microsoft sides and even then careful consideration has to be taken into account that Nintendo's extras are perceived as equal or greater in value than the stuff they're missing.  Nintendo has been really shitty at this since the N64 (ie: no load times does not have equal or greater perceived value than FMV, red book audio, third party support, demo discs and lower game prices).

If Nintendo had a better selection of apps on their console it wouldn't really affect a purchase decision for me but it would (slightly) improve my faith in the company because it would demonstrate that matching features is important to them.  The really damaging effect of missing features is the perception it gives that they don't care, that Nintendo is content with offering an inferior product.  Or, even worse, it gives the impression they're too out-of-touch to even notice where they're lacking.

Leo13November 04, 2014

I'm with you on Wii U needing VUDU!!!!!
It's a great service, but the Wii U just can't use it (my PS3 can though)

LouieturkeyNovember 04, 2014

Crunchyroll app would be another good one.

LouieturkeyNovember 04, 2014

Did the ability to modify disappear?

I just remembered the Neon Alley app as well.  I think that actually streams eps of Pokemon.

ejamerNovember 04, 2014

Who is responsible for getting these apps on the console, and once there who is responsible for maintaining them?

Take the Wii U implementation of Netflix: it doesn't support profiles (a deal-breaker in any home with kids), doesn't save your progress midway through episodes. Gamepad implementation isn't terrible, allowing off-screen play or switching language/subtitles on the fly, but could be much better if there was a way to queue up the next program or search the Netflix library while a show is still playing.  So even though Netflix is supported on Wii U it's hardly a good experience - and unless more csutomers call can complain that simply won't change.

I get the feeling that part of the reason Nintendo lags behind is because of the third party debacle: people don't want to develop for Nintendo consoles unless the install base is HUGE, and even then do the minimum required in most cases.

the asylumNovember 04, 2014

"Apps?" Whoa whoa whoa, hold on there. Nintendo just got clued in on the whole "HD" thing. You can't just toss a car crash survivor onto a treadmill and expect them to start running again.

StrawHousePigNovember 04, 2014


Now that the New 3DS allows users to sync data over wifi

Exsqueeze me? What's all this then?

purevalNovember 04, 2014

I find it odd that the WWE Network is not available on Nintendo platforms. WWE has been pushing The Network HARD. It is on every possible device except Nintendo.

I'd like to see Nintendo (or any of the console makers) get an MLS Live app. The other guys have NHL and MLB apps, which would be nice to have on Wii U as well.

LucarioNovember 05, 2014

Most people would just put porn on the 3DS if that happened.

Quote from: pureval

I find it odd that the WWE Network is not available on Nintendo platforms. WWE has been pushing The Network HARD. It is on every possible device except Nintendo.

It's hard to do that when you're not even bringing in... wait, how much is it again?

VahneNovember 05, 2014

Well, apparently Wii U does have a niconico app...but only in Japan. Sucks though, since any Vita can download and access that app.

yoshi1001November 05, 2014

It still puzzles me that there isn't a Pokemon TV app for either system.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterNovember 05, 2014

Quote from: Lucariofan99

Most people would just put porn on the 3DS if that happened.

WWE /= porn, at least I don't think it does.

Armageddon 1999 would like a word.

justinlueyNovember 06, 2014

It would probably be easy for Nintendo to work with more services to create apps for Wii U, and if that's the case, they should do it. But I don't think it should be a priority. I actually think Nintendo needs to double down on their own content. Let Sony, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Apple fight over the  mythical "everything to everyone" box, and focus on building the ultimate platform for Nintendo content.

BlackNMild2k1November 06, 2014

If my Roku can do it, my Wii U should be able to do it too.

Mop it upNovember 07, 2014

I still don't know why people care about this stuff.

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