Nintendo Reveal Wi-Fi Partnership With AT&T For Nintendo 3DS, More On Netflix

By Ishaan . March 2, 2011 . 10:35am

Last month, Nintendo of Europe revealed their Wi-Fi hotspot and video content distribution partnerships with various European service providers and broadcasting networks. This morning, Nintendo of America did the same at the Game Developers Conference.


As far as public Wi-Fi hotspots go, Nintendo of America are collaborating with service provider, AT&T, to set up over 10,000 Nintendo 3DS-compatible Wi-Fi hotspots in the U.S., including in locations such as restaurants, book stores, coffee shops and airports. The 3DS will automatically connect to these HotSpots to download content from them using its SpotPass functionality or for online multiplayer games.


Nintendo also elaborated on a partnership with Netflix to offer the service on the Nintendo 3DS. Starting in summer, Netflix members who have an unlimited plan will be able to stream movies and TV shows to the 3DS. If you already access Netflix via the Wii, you’ll be able to pause a movie on the Wii and continue watching it on the 3DS where you left off.

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  • maxchain

    Well, well! So we’ve finally arrived in the future, where the video codecs of Nintendo’s handhelds aren’t terrible! Hopefully.

  • AT&T? Of all companies, guess they want to ensure they get those of us who chill in Starbucks.

  • M’iau M’iaut

    Color me even a bit more confused/concerned with how Ninty is going about pimping this new system. They seem to be trying very very hard to make people think the 3D will be more than a gimmick. It seems an odd selling point given that home theater 3D remains stuck in neutral. And with this announcement, they are simply repeating Sony’s failed ‘Swiss Army Knife’ sales approach with the PSP.

    The folks who want everything in their hand already have it through far more capable do it all devices. Nintendo’s biggest benefit was always that it put the games first; and perhaps did something cool (i.e. touch screen) along the way. While there is nothing wrong with selling the sizzle instead of the steak, I’m just still not yet seeing enough 100% beef to make my stomach happy.

    • Dude, lol what?! Reggie himself said “THE 3DS IS FOR PLAYING GAMES”. You didnt watch it? The AT&T is for the spot pass and interactivity with other people for games. I think their focus on games is set as none of this other stuff theyre suggesting is even available on day 1

      • M’iau M’iaut

        Yes, as an aside in a presentation that was nothing but 3D movie trailers, netflix movies, AT&T internet and shooting home video. These are things that can muddle a companies focus and add more things that can go wrong. We knew a mainline Mario title was already in development so that is not a new announcement. We were not the only place where folks questioned the quality of the 3DS launch and near launch line up. And to make game announcements only to say see it at E3 doesn’t support his ‘for games’ comment.

        The Ipod 2 got its announcement today and we know damn well the NGP will have better multimedia capability. People buy a video game system because of the games they will be able to play on it; not because they can watch a 3 minute 3D trailer on a 3 inch screen.

        • Tom_Phoenix

          That’s beacuse GDC isn’t exactly the best place to announce new games, since it is a conference dedicated to developers rather than the public. E3 is far more suitable ocassion to announce new projects.

          Anyway, I don’t think we have any reason to worry that Nintendo is going to attempt the “Swiss Army Knife” approach. The fact that “people buy a video game system beacuse of the games” is something that Iwata mentioned in this very speech. Heck, he even correctly noted that consumer only hesitantly purchase the hardware in order to get to the software.

          The reason why Nintendo is providing additional utilities with the 3DS isn’t beacuse they want to turn the device into a “jack of all trades”. Afterall, Nintendo is old enough to have witnessed the hype and demise of the 3DO and CD-i and realise that the convergance idea is a fallacy. Plus, Nintendo would be commiting suicide by trying to compete on technological terms, since Sony and Microsoft have far more resources at their disposal on that front.

          However, when thinking about these additional utilities, one has to keep in mind that Nintendo is in the ENTERTAINMENT business. What this means is that, indirectly, they are competing with many things. Whether it be movies, music, books, the funny pages…all of these things are competing with Nintendo’s gaming systems for people’s attention. So in order to keep people’s attention on their gaming system as much as possible, Nintendo has to give people as many reasons as possible to keep using the device. By doing so, they indirectly encourage people to use the device’s primary functionality, that being gaming, and further explore the game content that is available for the device.

          Think of something like the Weather Channel on the Wii. At face value, this seems like a worthless feature that is completely out of place on a gaming console. Afterall, there are about a million other ways you can check the current weather and the weather forecast, right? But that’s precisely the thing. If the feature wasn’t on the Wii, it means that the person using it would have to turn it off and check for the information somewhere else. Once they have done that, they might very well end up feeling like not turning the Wii on again and will rather continue to use the device they used to check the information on the weather instead. So, in the end, something as unrelated to gaming as the Weather Channel can mean the difference between whether or not people use the Wii (and play games) more often.

          Don’t misunderstand. Just like cell phone cameras didn’t replace dedicated cameras and Swiss Army knives never replaced dedicated knives, a 3DS is never going to replace a device dedicated to watching movies, such as a television set. But that’s ok, beacuse that isn’t the point. The point is to increase the utility of the device so that people are indirectly encouraged to use the device more often (and since they cannot advertise one of its features, that being the autostereoscopic 3D, via conventional means, it is important for Nintendo to give people every reason to carry their 3DS around), which further encourages them to utilise the device’s primary function of gaming. And the more people play, the more likely they are to buy more games for the device.

          So make no mistake. Regardless of what features Nintendo has implemented on the 3DS, they are all meant to (directly or indirectly) support its main function as a gaming device. Infact, it is even better if an additional feature can somehow be tied to the product’s primary function. Think of the 3DS’s camera (or rather, two cameras) as an example. While you can use it to take normal photos or even video footage, it is also utilised with augmented reality games.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Certainly willing to wait and see on the path the 3DS will take. Both you and Ishaan on the other thread have laid out a course that makes a great deal of sense. Showing what something is capable of is indeed different from what Ninty expects it to first do. It just did on the surface sound a lot like the ‘convergence’ platform that has as noted proven to be an absolute fallacy.

          • Joanna

            Yeah I have to agree. Nintendo only has game developing, so it would be rather weird for them to stop doing that or for it to take a second seat to other features. Whereas Sony, Apple, and Microsoft all have other divisions so gaming isn’t as integral to their survival. I see these features more as additional features to keep people interested and to address (even if Nintendo denies it) similar features on competing platforms. Remember, the investors always ask about these and it would be rather stupid for Iwata to ignore them when these additional features can easily be implemented and at the same time extend the appeal and usage of the system. It just makes sense on many levels to push these. :)

    • In todays market all devices have to do something more than what they are just design for. Nintendo has a monopoly on the 3D handheld market right now. While you do you take advantage of that. By showing your 3D gimmick has more to it than just games. Nintendo want some of that Ipad money too. You not going to get those people with games alone. You need movies, video, internet, and pictures to attract them. Sony failed because the where offering those items to just the gamers. Nintendo is hoping to attract people who want new 3D content in general. Until someone else does it Nintendo is your one stop place for portable glasses free 3D content. Why not take full advantage of it.

  • kupomogli

    You don’t need to have Netflix through the Wii to start where you left off. You can play a movie half way on any device and then restart it where you left off on any other device. Nintendo decided to avoid this information to make their products seem more appealing.

    • Thats interesting…but cant we already do that?

      • kupomogli

        That’s what I was saying. That we can already do that and it’s not just a Wii to 3DS only feature.

    • No they let people know who start using Netflix through their Wii. The now have this as an option. The Wii has brought in first time Netflix users the same way they brought in new gamers. You need to keep everyone updated with anything that may be relevant to them.

    • Joanna

      You say it like it’s a bad thing. Of course they aren’t going to say, “by the way, you can also do this with any other device.” It would undermine the very feature they just highlighted, nor are they obligated to state that since this is a presentation on the 3DS and not on Netflix. It’s Netflix’s job to highlight this feature, not Nintendo’s.

  • SolidusSnake

    Dude in the pic reminds me of one of the 3 Stooges

  • Finally! I can go to… uhh… places with AT&T hotspots.

    Where are those, anyway? Most places in Austin offer free WiFi…

    • Airports, Barnes and Nobles, Starbucks, McDonalds, FedEx’s, Convention Centers, and Hotels; usually.

      I cant believe it costs so much a month for Wi-Fi Access through AT&T…Nintendo must really be shelving out some big money.

      • Starbucks started offering free WiFi in March 2009. B&N might still be an AT&T hot spot, but again, Austin, TX has free wifi pretty much everywhere.

        Supposedly all of downtown is a free wifi hotspot. I’ve never really checked though.

        • I dont think the point here is whether the Wi-Fi spots cost or not, but that AT&T Wi-Fi spots will allow the 3DS to automatically connect to them whether awake or sleep.

          • Ahh, I see. I wonder if it’s possible to set that up with other hot spots though. Say you could set it up to do it with your home’s wireless network, if you have one. That would be nice.

  • Joanna

    Well that’s nice, but what about Canada? I know there is an Nintendo of Canada, but well, they practically do nothing and I have this suspicion they are only a distribution arm. Nintendo’s been getting better with support for Canada (we are getting quite a few 3DS events, albeit after launch and one of them is right next to my house~ Also, I’m not sure if this is thanks to Nintendo or Gamestop but we’ve been getting all those Gamestop events like Celebii and DQIX. Now just extend the Toy ‘R’ Us events and Canada will almost have it as good as USA.)

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