After launching to tons of pomp and fanfare last October during the last New York Anime Fair, the dedicated NicoNico US website will be "retired" by Japanese parent Niwango at the end of this year, with the launch of an English-language version of the main NicoNico Japan website launching later this month, which will completely replace the NicoNico US site in the future according to a new blog post filed by NicoNico US staff on Monday.
When the official launch of the dedicated NicoNico US site was first announced last October after an April 2011 soft launch with its own simulcasts later that Summer, it was tied to a new joint venture with FUNimation Entertainment which was meant to ease the availability of anime for simulcasts every season, with the lofty goal of making home video and simulcast licensing cheaper. For those keen enough to observe the subtext, the joint venture was also meant to serve as a warning to Crunchyroll that its days as the dominant simulcast provider were numbered and that FuNico would soon become the new leader in simulcasts.
Almost as soon as the joint venture began, it announced its first Fall 2011 simulcasts in C３, The Future Diary, Guilty Crown, Haganai, LASTEXILE -Fam, The Silver Wing-, Maken-Ki! and Shakugan no Shana III Final. It followed up with Winter 2012 shows Senki Zessho Symphogear, Detective Opera Milky Holmes 2, and High School DxD along with Spring 2012 shows Jormungand, Is This a Zombie!? of the Dead and Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine before suddenly going dormant almost immediately after the beginning of this year's Spring season.
Following the Spring FuNico simulcasts this year, both Funimation and NicoNico US have remained silent on the actual status of the joint venture, with reps from either side refusing to answer direct questions. To that end, NicoNico US almost completely deemphasized anime streams earlier this Summer following the Spring simulcasts and increased focus on general interest events, leading to Monday's confirmation of the "retirement" of the dedicated US portal. NicoNico US also has yet to confirm the future status of its PS Vita app which it launched for the console this past May.
Now a question for everyone: Did any of you like using NicoNico for anime simulcasts or did you still rely on Crunchyroll during the time it still featured anime?