Nintendo is officially shutting down TVii in August, the company has announced.
What is TVii? That has been part of the problem for the gaming giant: nobody seemed to use it. And, more to the point, nobody seemed to care whether they did or not.
The original idea was a bold one: when the Wii U first launched in 2012, the promise was to provide a new way to organise TV for gamers, using the gamepad controller to manage recorded shows, VOD services and a TV guide. It would “transform how people find, watch and engage with TV shows, movies and sports”.
But that potential never really took off in the USA – something that became ever clearer when, earlier this year, Nintendo announced that the service would never make it European shores.
“It’s one thing to take a single country and get all of its cable providers on board in order to transform your Wii control pad into a universal remote that hardly anyone uses,” said Nintendo in February. “In Europe, with its individual countries and languages and late-night German trivia call-in shows and phone sex ads, it’s nearly impossible.”
Now, in a world of set top boxes that promise similar integration and rival consoles that have established themselves as home entertainment hubs – with both Xbox and PlayStation offering their own movie rental system, not to mention each company’s entry into the original content production world – Nintendo has finally given up the TV ghost, announcing that TVii will close on 11th August.
“We are deeply thankful for all of the engagement and excitement our users have generated and enjoyed while using the service,” said the company. “Soon after, a system update will remove the Nintendo TVii icon from the Wii U Menu and the Wii U GamePad controller’s HOME Button Menu.”
“Every service has a life cycle, and it is time to focus our resources on other projects,” explained Nintendo, somewhat bluntly. Does that mean the company has bigger plans for the future? “We have nothing to announce at this time,” added the company.
The console will still have compatible VOD applications available, though, such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. The question is: does anyone use their Wii U to stream video anyway, whether they have TVii or not?