While there are many video streaming services out there, Netflix remains the tentpole that got the ball rolling. The platform is used by millions all over the world, mostly thanks to its massive amount of support. If you have something with a screen or that plugs into one, chances are that it has a Netflix app. However, for Wii U and 3DS owners, that is no longer the case. Nintendo has announced that Netflix will be discontinuing its services for the two veteran systems as of June 30, 2021. The apps on their respective eShops have already been delisted as of the end of 2020, so only those who have downloaded the app prior to that date can continue to watch until the end of its service life.
After Netflix ceases operations on Wii U and 3DS, that will leave Nintendo as the only console manufacturer with a machine that doesn’t have Netflix support.
For still yet-to-be-explained reasons, the Switch does not yet have a Netflix app despite it being talked about several times. The latest being all the way back in 2018 when former Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime, said that it would come to the hybrid in “due time” alongside YouTube. Reggie’s words did prove true in part thanks to YouTube finally materializing on the Switch eShop later that year. Even so, here we are four years into the Switch’s life and two years since Reggie’s last statement on the matter and Netflix is nowhere to be seen.
Aging Nintendo systems have been losing access to streaming services over the years now. The original Wii’s online functionality was mowed down heavily in recent times, with Netflix (and various other streaming services) pulling support in 2019. The Wii Shop Channel also closed at the same time. The Wii U lost all support for Hulu in early 2019 and Amazon Prime Video pulled out of the Wii U’s Japanese market that same year. Last year, YouTube ditched browser support on Wii U and in 2019, the 3DS’ YouTube app broke with no further updates and was totally decommissioned in Japan.
Personally, I’m not sure who might still be using Netflix on either the Wii U or (especially) the 3DS. Netflix clearly has ditched the platforms due to their age and lack of popularity. The Wii U’s app did have the neat ability to pull the content down from the TV and keep the action going on the Gamepad, however. So, that definitely gives it one leg up over any other console/TV version of the app. And, as hideous as might be, watching videos on a 3DS is still portable, so at least you could have it in bed with you.
But, again, chances are the number of people using these apps on either console is likely far too low to be worth the expense of support. After all, both systems have been formally discontinued by Nintendo itself, so the fact that services are pulling out are to be expected. It’s only a matter of time before, like the Wii Shop Channel, the Nintendo eShop on both these systems will shut its doors.