1 million Wiis Netflix'd, 3DS confirmed for E3

Reggie Fils-Aime says console owners are trying out video-streaming service in droves; Nintendo "showcasing" new handheld at next month's expo; 5.26 million Wiis sold in last four months.


Last month, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter predicted that Netflix would pick up 2 million new customers thanks to its game console video-streaming service. Of those, he estimated that the Wii, which began supporting the video-rental company last month, would add 800,000 subscribers by itself.

Many Wii owners are trying out Netflix's disc-based streaming service.
Many Wii owners are trying out Netflix's disc-based streaming service.

This week, Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime offered a more concrete number of Wii owners who have tried out Netflix. "What we've seen so far is that nearly 1 million consumers have participated in the system, in the service," said Fils-Aime in an interview with CNBC host Maria Bartiromo (see video below).

The outspoken executive said that following a soft launch in March, Wii Netflix use "started to pick up steam" in April and that May will see "a lot" of marketing promoting the service on the console. He added that even though Wii owners must be mailed a disc to use Netflix, consumer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. "So far, so good," he summarized.

Fils-Aime dismissed host Maria Bartiromo's assertion that the iPad--which just sold 1 million units in one month--might cut into the DS's market share. "We have not seen any impact on our DS business [from the iPad]," said the executive, before predicting that the first four months of 2010 would be the best on record for the DS platform.

Fils-Aime also confirmed that in June, Nintendo will be "showcasing a new 3DS" at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. The new handheld, which was rumored as far back as 2004, was unveiled in March to reportedly head off an exposé by the Japanese media. It will offer 3D graphics without requiring the player to wear special glasses, and may go on sale as early as October.

Never missing an opportunity to tout the Wii's success, Fils-Aime boasted that 5 million Wiis were sold in the last four months. "That's equal to the entire amount our competitors sold over the previous 12 months," he claimed. US game sales reports from the NPD Group show that some 5.26 million Wiis were sold domestically from December through March.

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