Netflix on Gaming Consoles?


I wasn’t planning to cover this, but the amount of attention it’s received (and the amount of pings I’ve received) have led me to say something: Netflix movie streaming to PS3 and/or Xbox 360 ain’t gonna happen any time soon. When conducting market research surveys, scenarios are often presented in the present tense, as if they currently existed. For example, last summer Netflix gathered opinions on the possibility of a $50 or $100 movie-renting set-top box. Seen one yet? So let’s be clear – gaming console Netflix movie viewing doesn’t yet exist and you probably won’t see anything like it for many months, if ever.

Having put it in perspective – I think this could be a killer app for any gaming console and something I’d personally appreciate. Tons of movies, perhaps unlimited viewing included with my monthly subscription on a box I already own, and the Netflix name to market the service (and console). However, Netflix will find several barriers to entry… Going beyond their technical challenges, Microsoft currently runs their own movie service on Xbox Live. Would they consider augmenting it or replacing it with Netflix? Because the only way Netflix will land on the 360 is with Microsoft’s blessing. Unless they go the extender route which isn’t as clean or elegant and would reduce their potential customer base exponentially.


16 thoughts on “Netflix on Gaming Consoles?”

  1. If Netflix didn’t have it’s head in the sand. It would put it on the Wii through Wii Ware. But, that probably won’t happen.

  2. I have to agree with Josh. The Wii is the most popular selling console and is more geared to the whole “everyone in the family can get something out of this” market share.
    Yet, everytime something like this comes up, it’s PS3 and XBox, machines far less likely to be considered a primary source of entertainment by a 50 year old dad who might be a Netflix subscriber.

  3. the wii is least likely, the software doesnt over playing actual dvds let alone streaming content. it would rock the house if it did though…

  4. The biggest hurdle for the Wii becoming a multimedia hub is the hardware limitations that kept it cheap and so easily adoptable. It’s got a very limited amount of on-board memory and RAM, and it can’t do HD, which seems pretty important when talking about digital distribution. Didn’t Netflix just get added to Windows Media Center?

  5. This service seems fine, making movies available to consoles on-demand. My new main source of worry is bandwidth demands in the home, if everything is downloading or streaming, my little copper connection (768up,1.5dwn) will just be overtaxed!

  6. With the Wii, couldn’t you get around the memory problem by having a SD card in it?

    Regarding HD, Watch Now is far from HD as it is now.

    Yes, MyNetflix is an add-on that was added by a USER not Netflix.

  7. The fact that Microsoft already offers movies over Xbox live doesn’t mean they won’t allow Netflix on xbl. They’re feeling the pressure on all sides, and bidding for Yahoo and buying Danger are signs that they’re trying to remain relevant. Netflix on xbl would dwarf the current xbl movie renting system. Why protect a tiny revenue stream when you could develop this killer app and figure out how to monetize it later (a la Google)?

  8. I have a PS3, so this is of interest. Are the online movies in HD and in true widescreen with 5.1 sound?

    This was the deal-breaker for me with Amazon Unbox and TiVo. Netflix has to do better, otherwise I don’t see myself using this service for anything more than old TV shows which were already in SD to begin with.

  9. 360 would be awesome, I like the 360 for games. But, you add in all the other stuff you can do and it’s media extending options it’s a great deal. I would think MS would have to look at this, they’d have to make some money off it somehow. But, it would make their box much more valuable. You’d probably have people buy more boxes just so they could stream movies and shows to other locations in their homes.

  10. Rob, please: Yep, I think it could be huge in marketing the console. Which is why Microsoft and Sony would argue for a period of exclusivity to make it that much more compelling over the competition. Which may run counter to Netflix’s desire to be on 100 boxes.

    Michael, the quality isn’t currently where you want it – but it’s “free.” I agree Unbox content can be painful on an HDTV. Since replacing our 32″ bedroom SDTV with a 30″ HDTV we haven’t used it. (Well, I did use it once but that was researching a pixelization problem reported on the TCF.)

  11. Dave, agreed about the fact that the survey means nothing. Another internet scoop down the tubes! Surprised so many outlets picked it up as if it meant something.

    Netflix needs to move on SOMETHING here. Work with Tivo. Get on Apple TV. Offer something through cable STBs. Offer their service through the Wii, XBox or PS3. Or something. Any or all of these have issues of course–the vendors would prefer to partner directly, they already have a competing partnership, etc. But nobody is going to install a Netflix only box at this point. I suppose they could integrate their service into one of the media center extenders coming out from Linksys et al, that might be their best shot really….

  12. Dave, Maybe it’s already in place, but wouldn’t this be a killer app for the Slingcatcher? Being able to Sling Netflix would only make the upcoming box even more killer! (been waitin for a year now to see the Slingcatcher)

  13. Deb, you should probably figure out how to read calendar dates before engaging in name calling. However because it’s pretty damn cold in Alaska and “jerko” amuses me, your comment gets to stay up.

Comments are closed.