Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) is no stranger to gamers, with its streaming video available on all three major consoles. Now it's coming at you on Nintendo's (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) 3DS as well.
The Japanese gaming giant announced yesterday that Netflix subscribers will be able to stream from the service's digital library on their 3-D handheld devices when it hits the market later this month.
Naturally, owners will need Wi-Fi access to make this happen, but there's another treat on this front: Nintendo and AT&T (NYSE: T ) are teaming up to offer free -- and automatic -- 3DS connectivity through more than 10,000 AT&T hotspots.
Is this the game-changer that will help Nintendo turn its $250 portable gadget into a blockbuster? The ability to stream Netflix video will help, but owners of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPod touch devices have had the same benefit for months. Nintendo's 3DS is hitting the market at a higher price point than Apple's entry-level iPod touch, so it will need something else.
Thankfully, Nintendo already has a few other things in the works for the March 27 launch.
How do 3-D movie trailers sound? Why settle for drab coming attractions on your computer, when you can see them pop off the screen -- without needing special glasses -- on the 3DS?
Movie studios will be able to promote their upcoming 3-D theatrical releases, but Nintendo may be the bigger winner here, as 3DS owners make their friends envious of the ability to stream high-tech trailers. Nintendo will also roll out a proprietary short-form video service, on which Nintendo-vetted videos will be available for streaming. Suddenly, the 3DS doesn't seem like the $250 paperweight that I had written off earlier this year.
In another 3DS-exclusive bonus, a future software update will allow for 3-D video recording. I didn't see that coming, figuratively or literally. I don't know whether Nintendo is too late to topple Apple's iOS empire, but at least it's loading up with plenty of eye-popping ammo.
Will the 3DS be a hit for Nintendo, or is it too expensive or too much of a novelty to matter? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.