When Nintendo released its Wii U console in 2012, it included a little feature that promised to "transform how people find, watch, and engage with TV shows, movies, and sports." It was called TVii, and it even got its own dedicated button on the Wii U Gamepad. Now, less than three years later, Nintendo is pulling the plug.
The product was an unusual one for Nintendo, which, unlike Sony, has never really tried to use its consoles gain a foothold in the home theater market. (The GameCube, Wii, and Wii U can't even play DVDs.) But TVii sought to change that — the second-screen app let users search through the catalogs of streaming video services and peruse the TV guide right from the Gamepad. It even had customized recommendations and an odd social aspect that let you discuss and vote on shows and sports matches with other Nintendo users through Miiverse.
"Every service has a life cycle, and it is time to focus our resources on other projects."
Nintendo removed the helpful universal search functionality last year, and now TVii is dead for good. In a FAQ, the company explains the decision to shutter TVii curtly: "Every service has a life cycle, and it is time to focus our resources on other projects." We wouldn't say that TV-viewing and second-screen apps are quite so passé, but it seems Nintendo decided it just wanted no part in your home theater stack. It never really tried in the first place, after all.
TVii will disappear for good on August 11th, but you'll still be able to watch streaming video content from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and others even without the service. And that TV button on the GamePad? Well, you'll still be able to use it to change the volume and channel, if that's any consolation.