The Nintendo Switch doesn't have Netflix or Hulu -- here's why

Nintendo’s new video game system, the Switch, isn’t able to browse the internet, stream music, movies, or play any media that isn’t a video game.

It’s a game console, first and foremost, despite its resemblance to tablets like the iPad that are so often used for media consumption.

Nintendo SwitchNintendoThe Nintendo Switch is a home game console, as well as a portable game console. The system itself is the screen in the middle of the two controllers seen above — it’s basically a tablet, touchscreen and all.

Early adopters of the console have noticed this limitation — the top Reddit thread in the Nintendo Switch Reddit forum (subreddit) urges owners to contact Netflix directly in an attempt to get the service running on the Switch.

But it’s unclear if Netflix is responsible for the service’s absence on the Switch.

A Netflix representative told Business Insider, “We don’t have anything to share on this.”

A Hulu rep was more direct: “I think your questions are best directed at them [Nintendo].”

While Nintendo didn’t respond to our request for comment on March 7, Nintendo of America senior public relations manager Kit Ellis told me on January 13 at a New York City Nintendo Switch event that the Switch “is a gaming device first,” when asked about services like Netflix and Hulu.

Notably, these services are standard at this point on game consoles — even on Nintendo’s own game consoles — to say nothing of smartphones and tablets. The Nintendo Wii and Wii U both featured Netflix and Hulu, in addition to several other streaming services. Consoles from Microsoft and Sony feature Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other services as standard, in addition to their own paid stores.

The Switch has no paid video store, and no non-game services. That is by design. Here’s the full quote from Ellis, from January 13:

“At launch we are really trying to be clear that this is a gaming device first, so you’re actually not gonna see a lot of that at launch. It doesn’t mean that it’s not going to come later on, but it likely won’t be there at launch.”

Though it’s possible that the services will come at some point, it’s not clear when — or if — they are ever coming. In the meantime, maybe don’t barrage Netflix with endless emails and phone calls asking for it.

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