Dec 16th, 2013

Throughout the Wii U’s first year Nintendo’s strategy appeared increasingly–and frustratingly–mysterious to many of us. Mixed marketing messages, including the choice of Wii U for a name, coupled with an initial software drought have justified extra pressure for the Kyoto-based company to buckle down and prove the console is worth owning.

Hey, but look at them now! As if Nintendo truly had their ears open to the serious tone of industry concern, the Wii U’s outlook is beginning to improve.  The New York Times and other major publications rave that big holiday titles like Super Mario 3D World might just pull off the task of rescuing the little white console that (seemingly) couldn’t. Nintendo has even begun to ramp-up marketing: Free Wii U’s for everyone! …well maybe if you were a lucky Southwest Airlines passenger, at least.

As many Wii U owners, and many more non-owners know, serious questions remain for Nintendo regarding their Wii U strategy. One of the biggest of these, I believe, revolves around Nintendo TVii. What’s next for one of the most underused services on the system?


While it’s hard to argue that much of anything about the Wii U has been truly mass-marketed in the year since launch, Nintendo has been the most tight-lipped regarding its integrated TV service. Off to a decent enough start–albeit launching late–the general consensus of the press was that the service showed potential. Nintendo TVii offered a truly unique way to experience television. In fact, it was one of the first of its kind to attempt the integration of both live TV and streaming services into one social platform.

But what now? Of course it’s perfectly reasonable to argue the age old mantra that great games–and great games alone–are the foundation of Nintendo’s success. Being a dedicated Nintendo fan myself, I believe there is some serious truth to the company’s oft-repeated message to consumers and investors: “Software drives hardware in this business.” Indeed, great games are the main reason for the recent praise of the company. But as many sit at home barking commands at their new Xbox One console, Nintendo’s effort to innovate upon its own entertainment service has been nonexistent.

Nintendo TVii Graphic

Other than a brief reference on the latest official Wii U info-graphic the last time Nintendo TVii received any real attention from Nintendo was in March. For those of you that can remember that long ago, it was when Netflix was added. The increased focus on Wii U marketing by Nintendo is fantastic, and seems to be an effective restart for both the company’s P.R. strategy and the public’s perception of the Wii U.

However as the media spotlight finally starts to turn onto the console, Nintendo’s recent successes might not be able to completely outshine some of the Wii U’s ongoing problems. Nintendo TVii may not be critical to the value of the Wii U as a gaming machine, but it may be critical to the system’s future commercial success. Bottom line: for the sake of my own ability to continue playing great Nintendo franchises, I’d like to see all aspects of the Wii U strategy succeed.

Is it fair to compare Nintendo with Sony and Microsoft for its console’s entertainment capabilities? Do you use Nintendo TVii? If so, how would you like to see it change? I’m curious to hear your thoughts!

local_offer    editorial  Nintendo  Nintendo TVii  wii u  
  • Make it work outside USA and Canada so i can use it maybe? Nintendo sucks at services.

    • Zuxs13

      I don’t think its all their fault it doesnt work in other countries. Has a lot to do with those countries Broadcast laws.

      • Carl Fin

        Eh, Ireland and the UK have netflix too, and it would work there outright but Nintendo have been too lazy.

  • Ony

    Hello from Europe, what the fuck is Nintendo TVii~

    • Magnus Eriksson

      Its a red button down on the right of your pad. If you press it then nothing happens. One of the really great things from Nintendo this gen.

      • Nintenjoe82

        TVii in Europe is coming just after Miyamoto’s new IP πŸ™‚

        • Adam Porter

          so ten weeks from never??

          • Nintenjoe82

            If we’re lucky

        • InterTreble

          Source, friend? It’d be a great piece of news…

        • jjbredesen

          so 2016–> thats to late…

      • jeffp3456

        That is actually not correct. The red button is to bring up the built in IR tv remote. TVii is the red TV icon on the gamepad screen which shows TV listings. It is not too bad but needs improvement to be very useful.

        • Magnus Eriksson

          Yeeeeah… thank you for perfecting my joke.

          • PS4/WiiU

            lol, I can’t believe he didn’t get your joke

        • PS4/WiiU

          that is blue, he was talking about the power button just to troll him

        • sd

          The problem is that outside of america the feature does nothing and has never been implemented. Such a shame.

        • Random12multi

          But isn’t there a T.V. button…

    • AAAkabob

      Same goes for Sony & Microsft’s services probly won’t have full functionality for years in most of EU

    • I am pretty sure the reason that TVii is not available in Europe is the fault of the EU. They claimed the service was too confusing to consumers because it was not an actual TV Subscription service

      • sd

        Nintendo could easily get around this by offering support to europes largest cable providers in Europe and by offering Foxtel support in Australia. Anything else is just an excuse.

    • Harley

      Hello from Latinamerica!! same here…I am sick of see TVii is not available in your region!!! c’mon!!!

    • sd

      Same in Australia. It has never been supported and does nothing. Technically they have mis-sold the console as the feature was widely advertised when the console was first released. Not sure how companies can get away with advertising features of a console and then failing to deliver on those features.

      • Josie the Sketcher

        It’s just like Australia and many other countries don’t exist.
        We’ve been waiting for a year already and there’s been no change.
        I wonder if it’s the same problem with Xbox One and PS4 – anybody know?

        • sd

          So far my xbox one has most of the features I was expecting at launch. But whether things will be delayed here still remains to be seen. The PS4 will have delays in Australia with Gaikai thats pretty much certain. My frustraion is that I quite like my WiiU, but in Aus there is no advertising and no real support by Nintendo. Also I have 1000’s of points, but yet the online nintendo club is so pitiful its not even funny. Europe and especially America actually get things to spend their points on, other than a pencil or a Nintendo DS game.

          Having said that I can access the European E shops and have recently downloaded netflix, which is not available in Aus. I was then able to use a DNS changer and now have access to netflix US on my Australian Wii U. Netflix US is pretty great and works well on the Wii U.

    • Adrian Brown

      Costa Rica here, we don’t even have eShop.

  • wober2

    I wish nintendo had a better to bring miiverse and tvii into the main navigation. I forget about tvii but if there were reminders that popped up that would be nice.

    I think wara wara plaza is a pretty big waste of space and instead wish I could have my favorites updating for miiverse plus new sales and tvii reminders of tv shows.

    Plus I wish when I hit the home button in a game i wish i saw notifications for each of the nintendo features and did not have to open app to see them. While i am ranting… why the hell is there a giant “close game button”? and why does the notifications cover the time and battery status…

    • Nintenjoe82

      That Close Software button is a great way to accidentally erase hours of progress from a game when returning from web browsing or Miiverse.

      • wober2

        I know i have done that a few times. Why make that button the biggest, easiest to press button on the display?

        • Shota

          bitching over one simple button -_-

          • Nintenjoe82

            We weren’t arguing we were agreeing. Also, most games have a warning message but we’re all so impatient we just press “Yes” and close the software.

          • Petri

            And whose fault is that?

            But yes, it’s placement and size baffles me.
            Though I haven’t ever closed a game accidentally because of it.

          • wober2

            i am so conditioned to press yes on devices like my phone. just a rant and i deal with usability at work so it pisses me off someone thought that closing the game was the most important thing for the user to do.

          • Shota

            . also the Close Software button gives the yes or no option. if press that accidentally it’s your own fault

      • Stuart Thomas

        i have always mistook it for close menu and lost valuable Zelda time and progress.

  • Nintenjoe82

    Trade TVii in Europe for free copies of “Metroid Prime Trilogy HD (with added online features)”?

    I would be more than happy to do that.

    • Ony

      Free? I would pay 200$ for that.

      • Guest

        “$” goes before the number.. phfff… Europeans…

        • Ony

          Sorry, did I hurt some American pride here ? :3

          I said $ because 200€ (“€” which goes after the number, I’ve mistaken) is far more expensive, there is a limit in my wallet.

        • Kriskura

          Ho yeah! It is SO obvious for persons which aren’t used to it and don’t forcefully know exactly how it’s putted in America since well… They DON’T live in america and aren’t exposed to that!

          A little bit of tolerance. As they don’t know how it goes in America, they’ll not bash you because you don’t know that “€” is placed behind the number for them and is the way they’re putting it. What will you think if they tell you you’re an idiot for something you misplaced and can’t forcefully know since you’re not from Europa? Right.

          • Guest

            I was kidding!! Sheesh! Maybe I should of hinted that… sorry.

          • Kriskura

            It’s okay then, but it’s true that when things are written and not spoken, it’s difficult to really know how it’s said, so be careful ^^”
            Sorry if my post may seemed a bit harsh too.

  • John Stevens

    Looking forward to trying out TiiVii after Christmas. I’m an avid Netflix/Amazon streamer, and if there’s a way to get current primetime network shows on demand so I don’t have to go through the crappy Time Warner onDemand interface, then that’s a 100% success for me.

  • I do not use Nintendo TVii all that much but will hop on during a sports game to follow the game and interact with other people watching the same game.

    I do not use the remote functions as I cannot seem to get it to recognize my LG TV and it does not have support for my cable box.

    If they added DVR functions and the ability to work with my equipment I could see using it to find and schedule shows to watch ans such.

  • gamesplayswill

    I want Nintendo TVii in Europe FFS!!

    • C.S. Bailey

      When I saw FFS, in my head I was going “FFS what does “FFS” stand…..for…. “

      • Suraj Alexander

        i still have clue what FFS stands for.

      • Peter Lythaby

        For fucks sake!! πŸ™‚

      • gamesplayswill

        For fuck sake. :3

      • C.S. Bailey

        I should have explained a bit more clearly (I was worried about language). When I first saw “FFS”, in my head I was going “For fuck’s sake what does…. FFS….stand…..for…..”.

  • mark

    I would really love if TVii could not only index against Netflix and Amazon (finding another product that does both has been fruitless) but ALSO against a DNLA source. If it did that and I could index my media server then I would be so delighted!

    • Zuxs13

      Unfortunately the WiiU isnt DLNA certified.

  • AAAkabob

    Nothing is next, I don’t watch tv so just focus on games

  • I actually use it a lot at school. I don’t usually know what movies are playing or what’s currently on, so I pull it up and get a quick overview of what’s currently on, and what will interest me. It’s a really cool feature that I wish would’ve been more fleshed out.

    Nice article, Sam πŸ˜€

    • Sorry if disturbing you…but how at school?Just asking,nothing serious.

      • Pucker

        I think they means college when referring to school. Using it at the dorm or wherever they live.

      • yeah, I use it in my dorm room. They have cable there, and I dont have it at home, so I never know what’s on

  • Robert Butters

    I really enjoyed TVii, except for the limited functionality. The main thing they need is to make the gamepad into a smart remote. Its good for my TV, but I can’t change the volume on my stereo.

    • Zuxs13

      I agree, they need to work with URC or logitech or something to get more IR codes for devices and macro functions to make it more useful.

  • Marcos Crill Colon

    i use it alot works great for me and interacting with others watching the same shows is great it just needs a few changes to speed it up. but its not bad at all i watch every thing from walking dead to arrow on it

  • scooterdan

    To make TVii better they should at least allow ppl to just use the tuner….. we cannot use it at all in australia so its a complete waste!

  • Jason

    I have a Wii U, use it every day, even use Netflix every day on my Wii U. I don’t know what Nintendo TVii is or what it does.

    • Zuxs13

      If you were a TiVo user you would be used to the Idea. Its very much like how the TiVo search works. You look at a tv show, movie, etc and then it shows you were you can get that show or when it is on. Say you like “Big Bang Theory” It can tell you when it is on based on your cable channels, or how to get it on netflix, or Amazon and how much it will cost.

      • Jason

        I just tried it out. I sinced it up with my DirecTV, however the gamepad only lets you change between inputs/sources and does not support changing between analogue channels, so it’s kind of a hassle since I have to use my TV remote to change from input 1 (my Wii U) to channel 3 (my DirecTV) first anyway.

        • epicgrinds

          Change your remote settings in the wii u settings menu first then you can control both box and tv. The settings in tvii are only for your subscription s.

  • tomtank91

    We need NintendoTvii in the uk please

  • Rodger Jamjet

    That’s no used to me. I would love Nintendo TVii if Nintendo Australia weren’t so stupid. This feature will never see the light of day in this country. What a shame, it would be awesome and it would also be used quite a bit by myself. Australian gamers get constantly screwed over by Nintendo Australia

  • Kaihaku

    For me, TVii seems like a very cool idea that’s pretty much useless to me in it’s current implementation. I don’t have cable, I use streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime to get my media…and, to date, TVii has been an extra unnecessary step to take on the way to one of those apps.

    • Zuxs13

      For users like you it can be helpful because you can see what your friends are watching or you can share them as well and you can select your favorites on it or browse new shows that maybe your netflix search wont show.

      I do agree it is limited. It would be great if it had access to like 5 or 6 different services so that way you could search all of them in just one place in stead of going to each individual app.

      • see what your friends are watching? I’ve never seen that feature on TVii

        • Zuxs13

          I thought there was.

          • NatT96β„’

            There is no feature were you can see what your friend is watching.

  • Guhtere

    Oh yeah, I remember Nintendo TVii. I used it twice…

    • NatT96β„’


  • David Trail

    Realise it in Uk for a start lol!

  • Zuxs13

    I like the TVii app, the big thing keeping me from using it is first, the TiVo support hasn’t come on board yet (which was supposed to but us TiVo users know TiVo takes forever to do anything) and the other issue is it doesn’t have IR codes for A/V receivers. They are the backbone of any home theater set up and no support for them means no home theater/TV set-up will work with it so the app is a waste of time.

    I think they need to add Macro functions for the app get on board with URC or Logitech to add some marco support so you can use the app to do more than just turn on a TV. They should also integrate something like UltraViolet and or Flixter so people can rate the movies they watch and or post it to Facebook.

    They have laid a good foundation, now they just need to act on it. The ability to use a touch screen control is so much easier and more intuitive than the Xbone voice or waving hand gestures. Having an IR port is great too it means you dont have to wait for your tablet to connect to the WiFi then open the Tivo (or Xfinity, or DirectTV etc apps) then connect to the device then send the signal over WiFi to the device and then channel changes. So there is a lot of advantage there, they just need to add the software to fulfill it.

  • Fred

    I don’t use TVii. I don’t have cable so the show searching functionality is worthless and I can navigate Netflix and Hulu Plus just as fast without it.

    • Zuxs13

      The advantage would be you don’t have to search each individual app separately. This one app allows you to do both at once. Add in cable or other streaming services and it become more useful. But i agree it, in its current form isn’t the most useful.

  • Shane β™“

    I tried using it but unfortunately it doesn’t list the proper channel packages for my provider and I’m left having to decipher between shows I can actually watch and others that tell me I need to subscribe.

  • I agree with Ony here, in Europe TVii doesn’t even exist on the system, personally also as Nintendo fan I haven’t bothered yet to adopt a WiiU but when I do in a short time, and IF we get TVii in Europe even, I most likely won’t even use it.

    That’s my 2 cents on the subject, it has to come with the best of the best for reasonable price if I am to change my mind about TVii.

    • Zuxs13

      So free isn’t a reasonable price for TVii? And what would be the best of the best be? Like the best streaming apps?

      • The app is free, but what it has to offer isn’t, we pay for Netflix and we pay for pretty much every additional channel. Let’s say I have to pay €15,- a month for let’s say fox sport, and another 15,- for HBO to be able to use it with tvii then it’s not worth it for me, not even close as I simply can’t afford it, same reason why I don’t have a WiiU yet, I si.ply can’t miss it just like that, and I have to save money for things like that, living is already expensive enough. So yes app is free but paying 30,- a month to watch stuff additionaly on my Wii U which I can also see on normal tv, not worth it.

        • Zuxs13

          But you would have to pay for those apps/programs whether you have the Wii U or not. And if you are paying for cable it works with (most) cable providers so you are not paying for extra for that. It just gives you a simple to use user interface with touch screen controls, in stead of a wand remote control that comes with your cable/dvr box. The IR commands to control your cable box are free, and the app showing you you can get it on netflix, or rent it from amazon for $1.99 (or your equivalent) dosen’t cost you anything, it just shows you the options. That can be nice if a show/movie you see is on tv comes on but you missed the beginning, it will show you you can rent it here and then go there and just rent that show/movie.

          • As you explain it ir sounds like interactive television, in that case it could be interesting. I only knew what was available to know for us. In Europe we just don’t get any info about it alltogether, might have to do with the standing for WiiU in Europe as well though.

  • Lee Skilton

    yeah so…………..this has never even launched in the UK. I’d love to use it but right now it’s as useless as the xbox one in the UK.

  • Justin Jefferson

    My biggest problem with Nintendo TVii was I dont have a way to connect my TV to anything, so the only thing I can use on Nintendo TVii is Hulu or such. I cant get my satellite provider through it without buying another box

  • EFFtendo

    I wish I used my Wii U more. Unfortunately once I am done beating a game, it goes untouched until the next game comes out…

  • yienwae

    Yes. I have used Nintendo TVii. It is very useful and very simple. However, I only have basic cable so not all the channels pop up. But it does do a wonderful job of showing me what is on and if I want to turn directly to that channel using the gamepad or, if it is available, watch it on my Netflix or Amazon app. It’s a wonderful little feature. I am also able to post comments of what I am watching on MiiVerse to the community if I want to.

  • Suraj Alexander

    When r they gonna release the it for europe?

  • … Okay… I know what they could do with it… RELEASE THE FUCKING THING IN EUROPE ALREADY!! ASS HOLES!!

    • I can understand your frustration but I think if you look into it the primary hold up to TVii in Europe is the EU claiming that TVii is too confusing and too many people would think it is an actual TV Subscription service so they put a hold on it.

      I read that on several gaming sites back last January

    • NatT96β„’

      Dude, its not a good system feature. Warning you not to keep your hopes high. Despite this I “liked” ur comment for you. This is not going to blow you away.

  • Drugs

    Netflix/Hulu on the Gamepad is one of the Console’s Greatest features and being able to have my comments automatically link to MiiVerse and Facebook while I’m watching a show is just plain cool.

  • Sdudyoy

    Ehh, I don’t really care for this feature so I have no preference on it.

  • cheope

    You talk about tvii but in europe we dont have any of the services you have in netflix no hulu no amazon. ..nothing Nada niet.if the uk users can uuse some workaround for netflix and watch movies in ooriginal language what about other countries ? SSolution could be wiiu as mediacenter and dlna ccompliant for watching own video library but seems nintendo doesn’t even knows what a mediacenter is. Hey nintendo you need to sell consoles!!!! Move your ass and give us reasons to buy your console !

    • Matski

      Netflix and Lovefilm come pre-installed on the Wii-U in the UK….

  • wiimenonowiiu

    I don’t use it what’s the point i use netflicks all the time tho if they had the nhl channel maybe lol

  • Rinslowe

    Just existing outside of an app icon would be nice…
    Just saying.

    A tad slow on the uptake with this one. It has huge potential.

  • Paco Turista

    Y en MΓ©xico, tendremos que seguir esperando los servicios…

  • Chris Heskin

    the ability to launch tvii from the gamepad while still playing your game and vise versa

  • bd-lt-dnkr

    Remove TVii and just give me a media player that can play files from USB

    • NatT96β„’

      They need to, it sorta blows.

  • joey t

    Australia.. pay some attention to it Nintendo….

  • Justagamer

    To be honest i never it it

  • Mithiragi

    I never use TVii. It sucks a$$$$$$$.

  • NatT96β„’

    I have not used this application and Wii U chat for 8 months. Its not really that great. The only thing it does is allow you to set reminders and make playlist based on your favorite channels and shows. Its seriously not even innovative. On my cable box, I already have set shows to record and have %99 of the control (besides access to the tablet) using the regular remotes home DVR features. To the people in Europe, there is really nothing amazing or useful about the software and your also never going to use it if you don’t even have cable to begun with. I can say the only interaction you have is redirects to pay for an episode, go to your tv or Tivo (If you have the box?!).

    Yeah, its useless. Its an incomplete Wii U feature.

  • I am Error.

    I haven’t fired this app up since its launch.
    I would use it daily if it had a DVR feature. My TV can get the signals, my Wii U gamepad can act as a remote to switch inputs, there has to be a way to send the information to an external hard drive and record some shows.
    THAT is really all I want to be able to do with it.
    Right now it functions as an electronic TV Guide.

    • NatT96β„’

      Good idea, DVR recording to Wii U hard drive or external device would be a plus!

  • bugart19

    I think Nintendo is tied up with major plans in the works for both Wii U and 3DS, so more resources is invested in getting the big games out to the market asap. TVii has potential but it’s still has kinks that make it somewhat annoying trying to navigate it.

  • JVAN63

    How about the option to use it without entering any cable information? It asks me for my local cable provider so it will give me cable results. I don’t have cable! This cannot be bypassed!

  • Psytrix

    The option to actually be able to use it at all would be nice – We don’t even have the TVii service here in Aus..

  • Ty’s Blog

    I just want the damn NHL, and I’ll be happy.

    Hate how Nintendo is ignoring non American markets. FIFA is the most popular sport in the world, yet it’s absent from TVii. American football isn’t even all that significant anywhere outside of America itself, so why the hell do they show the damn NFL to their Canadian customers? Better yet, why the hell are they not supporting the NHL? It’s not like America isn’t pro-NHL.
    Nintendo is really starting to get on my god damn nerves with their arrogant America-only approach to TVii. It’s not even logical to support one fairly insignificant market when it comes to sports. Seriously, the NFL isn’t all that big.
    If Nintendo wanted to increase sales worldwide, support true football fans by including FIFA, and then get Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to sponsor the TVii feature in a TV Spot.
    Instant sales. Hell, Wii U may even become the #1 next gen console for football/soccer games. Remember, FIFA is the number one sports franchise worldwide, and thus, drives the most sales. Just look at how well FIFA 14 is doing.

    Please allow me to dream…