The Nintendo Switch console is a masterful mobile entertainment machine, but what about its video streaming capabilities? How can I watch movies and TV shows on my Nintendo Switch, using streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video?
We're huge fans of the Nintendo Switch, which offers impressive portability for gamers on the go. As great as the 3DS is, Nintendo's dedicated portable gaming console can't offer the same quality of titles as the Switch, which gives a home gaming experience when you hit the road.
However, at the time of its release, the Switch wasn't capable of streaming video from services such as Netflix and Amazon's Prime Video. There were no apps for watching shows and movies from these services and the Switch of course doesn't have a built-in web browser, so you couldn't even head to the Netflix website and stream some movies or shows that way.
So has the situation changed at all, and can you finally stream video on the Nintendo Switch? Here's all you need to know about watching movies and TV on your Switch console.
Can I watch Netflix or Amazon Prime Video on my Nintendo Switch right now?
In a word, no. However, that doesn't mean you can't stream video at all, period. In fact, as of July 2017, a means of watching shows on the Switch does actually exist.
How can I stream video on my Nintendo Switch?
At the time of writing, only a single media streaming app exists for the Switch. This is a Japanese app that most of you possibly haven't even heard of.
Niconico is the video streamer in question. This YouTube-style app offers up a wide range of content, from episodes and clips of popular TV shows and anime to music videos and streams of Nintendo games. Sadly the menus are all in Japanese, so you'll either need to know a spot of kanji or fumble your way through blindly. Quality is also less than stellar, topping out at 720p and often falling below that.
The Niconico app is free to download and available right now, although you'll need to set up a Japanese Nintendo eShop account to get it. Bit of a pain, although worth it for any form of video streaming on the Switch.
Thankfully, Niconico is at least available to download no matter which region you reside in (as the Switch has no form of built-in region locking). So you won't need to somehow trick your Nintendo console into thinking you're living in the land of the rising sun.
Why does the Switch have such limited support for video streaming?
Nintendo has stated in the past that video streaming on the Switch is not a priority, as it wouldn't help to set the Switch apart from rival consoles. In other words, Nintendo wants to concentrate on making the best possible gaming machine for taking on the road, which will be the Switch's main USP.
If you want an all-in-one entertainment device that can play games as well as blast out the latest movies and shows, the Switch isn't going to cut it right now. Instead you'll have to look to something like the Nvidia Shield Tablet, which can play exclusive games at home or on the move and also do everything a standard Android device can. That includes support for Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.
Of course, chances are you'll have something on your person like a smartphone which can play Netflix or Amazon Prime videos on demand. Which means that getting your panties in a bunch about no Netflix on this one device is perhaps a serious case of First World Problems.
Does Nintendo plan to add support for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video?
The Switch will indeed evolve over time, as firmware updates and the rest provide a good bit of spit and polish.
The good news is, Nintendo has confirmed that it's currently in talks with the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu to bring video streaming support 'in time'. In other words, it's highly likely that Switch owners will be able to enjoy movies and TV shows streamed direct from the internet - or downloaded, in the case of Netflix and Amazon.
When will the Nintendo Switch support Netflix and Amazon Prime Video?
It doesn't appear that Nintendo is in any kind of rush to bring video streaming support to the Switch. However, if discussion are indeed already happening then hopefully a firmware update later this year will add the functionality.
Given the popularity of the Switch so far, we're sure Netflix and Amazon are keen to get their services on-board. And Nintendo might feel a fresh sense of urgency since so many critics have called them out on this matter.