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Nintendo to close VoD site
By Patrick Frater
Wed, 22 February 2012, 12:20 PM (HKT)
Nintendo is to close down one of Japan's pioneering video-on-demand services, Wii No Ma. The platform, which was available to Wii and DSi owners in Japan, will cease operating after 30 April. It was launched in 2009.
Wii No Ma carried a mix of ad-supported and paid content including original programming, anime and films from partner companies including Disney and Warner Entertainment, as well as home shopping functions.
Unlike other VoD services, Wii characters occupied part of the screen and watched the shows as well (pictured).
According to reports, the Wii No Ma software had been downloaded 4.49 million times and had 8.1 million users. But plans to expand it outside Japan were not achieved.
Games industry analysts say that the Wii is coming to the end of its commercial lifecycle and report that Nintendo is now preparing a successor, the Wii U, which could be launched this year or next. If so, the company may resurrect a network like Wii No Ma or Sony's PlayStation Network.
Japan has a huge online population with fast internet connections, but has so far been slow to embrace VoD. Since the time that Wii No Ma was launched, others have entered the field including iTunes movies, Hulu and local players Nico Nico Douga and Culture Convenience Club, operator of the Tsutaya video stores chain.