Analyst: Consoles to add millions of Netflix users

Video rental service could add as many as 3 million subscribers in the next year, now that instant streaming is available on the Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, an analyst asserts.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
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Game consoles are helping Netflix out. Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

Netflix's decision to bring its instant-streaming service to all three major video game consoles could be a boon for its business, according to one analyst.

Wedbush's Michael Pachter believes that the film rental company will add 3 million subscribers in 2010, thanks to its streaming service being offered on Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3, and Nintendo's Wii, according to a story in Gamasutra.

According to the report, Pachter found that "subscriber growth exceeded [his first-quarter] expectations," hitting 1 million subscribers. Based on that information, he revised his estimates up to the 3 million figure.

Pachter said he believes that the Wii, which only recently added Netflix instant streaming, might lag behind the two other consoles, in terms of adding subscribers to Netflix's books, due to the console's lack of high-definition video support, as well as general differences between owners of the Wii and other game consoles.

"The Wii audience has demonstrated little commitment to buying video games, leading us to suspect that many Wiis are relegated to the playroom or the closet," Pachter said.

Regardless of the Wii's performance, Pachter's prediction is good news for Netflix. Now we just need to hope that all those subscribers will result in a better selection of movies and television shows.

Pachter's prediction follows news that "more than half" of all Netflix subscribers stream content over the Web.