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Nintendo's Wii console is starting to grow up. No, you still can't watch Blu-ray movies, or even standard DVDs, on the game console, but the best selling (and least expensive) current-gen console is going to integrate Neflix's online streaming video service.
Netflix is already available on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, and up to this point, Nintendo has been content to focus solely on gaming. According to a report in The New York Times, however, Nintendo may be feeling the pressure to compete on a larger scale than just console games, which are having to contend with a rise in cheap (smartphones) and free (social networking sites) gaming alternatives.
"You have to wonder if people are going to buy prepackaged $60 videogames in the future," said Mark Mahaney, managing director for Internet research at Citigroup. "If you are a console maker, you better quickly hurry to add more functionality and features to your console."
Wii owners will need a broadband subscription and have at least a $9/month Netflix subscription to enjoy the streaming service, which is a better deal than Xbox 360 owners get, who must also have an Xbox Live Gold membership.
The service will be available this spring.