Netflix has completed its console trifecta, as the video rental company's "Watch Instantly" streaming service is set to hit Nintendo's Wii console this March.
Netflix's 11.1 million U.S. subscribers can sign up on Wii without any extra cost, provided they already pay for a subscription plan at $9 or above. As with the PlayStation 3's Netflix streaming, however, the service does require a special disc inside the system.
"We believe that the intermediate step requiring a disc for the Wii and PS3 was taken in order to comply with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 exclusive arrangement with Netflix," points out Wedbush's Michael Pachter. "The current deal was announced in July 2008 and implemented in November 2008, with no terms made public."
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said the Netflix deal "is a continuation of an effort to bring more and more entertainment to consumers who interact with the Wii," according to the New York Times
Adds Netflix CEO Reed Hastings: "Our growth in the last two years has been propelled in large part by our investments in streaming content and in the streaming platform."
This latest partnership will bring Netflix to Wii's approximately 26 million U.S. userbase; "When the Wii application ships, it’s going to really open up a large additional opportunity," says Hastings.