Sony and Microsoft entered the current generation of consoles with far greater immediate ambitions for non-game content. Nintendo appears to be warming up to the idea of its Wii becoming a place to watch movies and TV episodes, however. Though the company has denied plans for an HD hardware upgrade, their "Wii no ma" service in Japan has now expanded beyond ad-only content to include paid viewing options as well.
Warner, Pokémon, Disney, Sesame Street, J League soccer, THK and TV Asahi are all providing content for the service, according to Kotaku. The format may be structured to compete with the PlayStation Video Delivery Service and Xbox Live Marketplace, but no plans have been announced to bring the system over to North America.
TV show rental prices start at 100 Wii points and go up. The Wii's Nintendo channel in North America similarly offers video content, but everything there is basically a streaming advertisement.
Netflix has been expanding aggressively over the last year onto home entertainment systems. With the 360 and PS3 now in its stable, it would make sense for Nintendo to seek out a viable method of A) bringing Netflix to the Wii, B) adopting a viable method of competing or C) ignoring movies and TV altogether and focusing on games as it has for the last few years. Up until recently, I would have expected C to be their plan of action, but if they're piloting a new paid content delivery system in Japan, it may signal a few surprises ahead.
Would you buy or rent movies on your Wii? What do you think of Nintendo's new service in Japan? Share your reactions in the comment section below.