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Netflix arrives on Nintendo 3DS

The streaming service is available after users download the free application from the company's eShop.

Nintendo's 3DS can now play Netflix content.
Nintendo's 3DS can now play Netflix content.

Netflix streaming has made its way to the Nintendo 3DS.

Owners of the portable game player can now head over to the Nintendo eShop and download the streaming application for free. According to Nintendo, Netflix content can be viewed only on the 3DS' upper screen.

Netflix's launch on the 3DS comes at a difficult time for Nintendo's portable. The device, which allows users to play 3D games without the need for special glasses, hasn't been selling as well as Nintendo had hoped. During a financial results briefing in April, Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata acknowledged his company's troubles, saying that the 3DS sales pitch is difficult for consumers to understand.

"The value of 3D images without the need for special glasses is hard to be understood through the existing media," Iwata said. "However, we have found that people cannot feel it just by trying out a device, rather, some might even misestimate it when experiencing the images in an improper fashion. This makes it more important to give people more opportunities for appropriate experiences of glassless 3D images."

The addition of Netflix to the 3DS seems to be part of Iwata's strategy to bring more players into the mix. During the briefing, he said that his company would be doubling down on digital media to help attract "nonactive" users to the platform.

Even so, the real draw of the 3DS is 3D content. And so far, the content available in the Netflix app on the 3DS is only in 2D. Nintendo said today that "an additional library of select movies that can be viewed in 3D without the need for special glasses" is launching "soon."

In order to stream Netflix content to the 3DS, users will need to connect to the Web via Wi-Fi from the device. They must also have a Netflix streaming plan, starting at $7.99 per month.