Nintendo will shut down streaming services on the Wii console starting next year.
It looks like it’s the beginning of the end for the Nintendo Wii. According to a recent announcement from Netflix, the best-selling home console from the mid-2000s will no longer support video streaming starting on January 30th, 2019.
Back in its heyday, the Wii was a smash hit, selling over 101 million units globally. It eventually got a boatload of games, but it wasn’t until 2010 that the Wii finally teamed up with Netflix to allow video streaming services over their console. Hulu followed suit in 2011, YouTube in 2012, Amazon Prime in 2013, and finally anime streamer Crunchyroll in 2015.
Not only that, but Nintendo is also shutting down the Wii Shop Channel. This means that Wii users will no longer be able to download any previously purchased WiiWare or Virtual Console software. It also means you won’t be able to transfer data to a Wii U using the System Transfer Tool.
Nintendo has given everyone a little over 2 months to completely abandon ship unless you’re into playing single-player only games.
It’s understandable that Nintendo wouldn’t want to continue supporting a platform in perpetuity, but even in today’s fast-paced gaming market, 12 years supporting a console just doesn’t seem long enough. That said, it’s still longer than Microsoft gave the original Xbox, which came out in 2001 and lost its online support in 2010.
The original Xbox also didn’t have streaming services, which meant there were fewer reasons to keep it around after everyone had already started moving to the Xbox 360.
So why would Nintendo cut the Wii’s cord now? Probably because it’s wildly successful Switch is fast acquiring streaming apps of its own. Hulu arrived late last year, YouTube arrived last week, and Netflix is likely to follow shortly. With most Wii users surely having moved over to Nintendo’s next hot console, the poor Wii is getting put out to pasture.