Despite the fact that both Wii and Wii U offered video streaming apps for services like Netflix, Nintendo Switch launched without them. For its part, the company said it was focused on making Switch a solid games system and that such apps could come later, but firm plans were never revealed. Now, the US is finally getting its first Switch video app, some eight months after its initial launch.
As always, Nintendo has sent out its weekly press release detailing the games releasing on the Eshop in the coming days. And it's there, quietly buried toward the end of a bullet point list, that we see Hulu has launched for Switch. Its Eshop page is now live, showing the app looks identical to what you'll see on other consoles, with support for ad-based and ad-free subscriptions, as well as live TV.
Still, its release is notable given that it marks the system's first video streaming app (with the exception of Japan's NicoNico Switch app). There's no indication if this will open the floodgates for Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, and other services to also release their own apps or if this is intended as a test.
The absence of video streaming apps proved to be a confusing decision to some. Just after launch, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime stated, "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. 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."
"When you think about a new platform, what will define it as a long-term success are the ongoing range of games and experiences that come to the platform--not what's available on day one," he added. "For the Nintendo Switch, we were very deliberate in wanting to make sure, from a Nintendo publish[ing] standpoint, that we had a steady cadence of great games in addition to strong titles at launch."
Beyond feeling it would not help to set the system apart, Nintendo may have wanted to be clear in its messaging that this was a gaming system first and foremost--not something to be confused with a tablet. Whether that has played a part or not, Nintendo has achieved a great deal of success with Switch in its first eight months on the market. It's sold 7.63 million units as of the end of September, and it recently projected that Switch will top Wii U's lifetime sales within its first 13 months on the market.