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Wii welcomes video on demand

Nintendo and Netflix shake hands

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Nintendo will roll out a Netflix video-on-demand service to Stateside Wii owners, the gaming giant’s US chief has confirmed.

The two companies are expected to formally announce their partnership later today, but Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo America, has already told the New York Times that the deal “is a continuation of an effort to bring more and more entertainment to consumers”.

Price plans have yet to emerge, though it’s understood that subscribers to Netflix’s $9-per-month DVD-by-post service will be given free access to the firm’s online movie catalogue through the Wii.

Gamers will need to put a special Netflix disc into their Wiis before the console can play online movies, the NYT warned.

Both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 already support Netflix movie streaming. Netflix is expected launch on the Wii this Spring.

Netflix currently has no presence in the UK, so it seems unlikely the service will be duplicated in the UK. However, the US arrangement shouldn't preclude Nintendo UK striking a similar deal with a local content provider - Lovefilm.com perhaps.

A Netflix Wii service has been rumoured for many months. Back in October, Dan Rayburn, self-styled “voice for the streaming and online video industry” and Executive VP of streamingmedia.com, predicted the service would go live this year.

He also said at the time that Nintendo would hold off on launching the service until release of the “next generation Wii HD unit in early 2010”.

This has yet to happen, so perhaps Nintendo has another treat in-store for Wii fans? ®

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