Niconico - What Is The Switch's First Streaming App?
Players have waited months for the Switch to support video streaming apps, and the first has finally arrived.
Modern expectations for mobile and portable devices are fairly high, and this is especially true for gaming devices. It's not enough for something like a Nintendo 3DS or an Android tablet to just play games -- it also has to have internet access, social functions, and access to streaming video services like YouTube or Netflix. For most devices, this isn't much of a problem -- even the 3DS can get online and watch videos through a native YouTube app -- but up until now, Nintendo Switch owners had no video streaming service options. Fortunately, Nintendo has just revealed that gamers will soon be able to access Niconico through their Nintendo Switch.
What Is Niconico?
Niconico, which has previously been known by the stylized title Nico Nico as well as Nico Nico Douga, is a Japan-based video sharing service that's roughly similar to YouTube. It's a popular service in Japan, seeing well over 50 million users since its inception, and it stands out from other video services for a unique comment system that overlays user-submitted statements at specific times within videos.
Unlike YouTube, however, Niconico requires a login to view any video uploaded to the service. Users can create their own unique Niconico accounts or log in with their credentials from other services like Twitter or Facebook. Also, since the service is now available on the Nintendo Switch, users also have the option to log in with their Nintendo Network ID.
When Does Niconico Launch On The Switch?
Nintendo has announced that Niconico will be landing on the Switch today, July 13. However, not everyone with a Switch will be able to access the service -- for now, it appears that Niconico will only be available for download on the Switch in Japan, and there's no word on whether or not the service will come to Europe or North America.
Will The Switch Get Hulu Or Netflix Soon?
As has been the case since the system's worldwide launch, Nintendo seems to have no intention of bringing streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, or any other popular app to the Nintendo Switch. As quoted by Nintendo of America's senior PR manager Kit Ellis back in March, Nintendo sees the Switch as "a gaming device first," meaning that streaming video services are of a lower priority for the system when compared to creating new games.
However, Ellis did seem to allude to the possibility that the Switch could get streaming services down the line; though he didn't confirm that such plans were in the works, he stated that a lack of streaming services at launch "doesn't mean [they won't] come later on." That quote was made four months ago, however, and for right now it seems the plan hasn't changed.
You can always watch Netflix at home, but the Switch is uniquely positioned to play excellent games on-the-go, such as the titles we've featured on our list of the Best Nintendo Switch Games.