E3 2014: Wii U's Lack of Twitch Streaming Due to Nintendo Not Finding It Fun

"From a consumer standpoint, what's fun about it?" asks Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime.

Of the three console manufacturers' latest systems, only the Wii U doesn't offer the ability to stream live gameplay through Twitch. That's not because of an oversight or because it's on a to-do list, but instead because Nintendo doesn't find that kind of thing fun.

"We don't think streaming 30 minutes of gameplay by itself is a lot of fun," Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told Polygon. He noted that the company doesn't have anything against Twitch, and in fact it's made use of it to stream some of its E3 shows this week. But it all comes down to whether the experience of simply watching someone play a game is entertaining.

"Your specific question of just purely streaming gameplay, what we've got to think through is, so what's fun about that? From a consumer standpoint, what's fun about it?" Fils-Aime continued.

That stance will no doubt stand in stark contrast to the views of many gamers, myself included--Nintendo's old games, in particular, I've found especially fun to watch.

It's a stance that's also the direct opposite of the one taken by Sony and Microsoft. The PlayStation 4 offered Twitch streaming right at launch, and quickly proved to be popular, as 20% of Twitch's streams late last year originated from PS4. Xbox One streaming was expected at launch, but wasn't added until March. Still, both consoles now prominently offer a way to stream live gameplay over the Internet for others to watch.

Nintendo's answer to demands to share content is something like Mario Kart TV, the new Mario Kart 8 feature that allows replays and highlight reels to be saved and uploaded to YouTube. "Kart is fun because its a highlight of the race," Fils-Aime said. "You can make some choices as to what parts are going to be shared. We think that makes it interesting."

He also pointed to it streaming its Super Smash Bros. E3 tournament this week as something that's worthwhile. That's because, according to Fils-Aime, it offers something more than a simple stream of gameplay, both by promoting a game and allowing viewers to learn new tricks. "But that's different than watching Joe Blow's 30 minute stream, which may or may not have something that's all that interesting," he said. This, of course, ignores things like supremely entertaining speed runs, including those of Nintendo's own games.

Nintendo, which has historically been slow to adopt new technologies, be it disc-based media or online support, could very well be mistaken in its evaluation of streaming. A report in April stated that Twitch is the largest live-streaming website in the United States by a wide margin, beating out the likes of ESPN and WWE. Last month, it was reported that Google's YouTube was working on a deal to acquire the site for $1 billion and that Microsoft had also been interested in an acquisition. And eSports, which would include things like Super Smash Bros. tournaments, have proven to be phenomenally popular--more than 2.4 billion hours of eSports content were watched last year alone.

Nintendo has had a contentious relationship with those sharing videos of its games online for some time. At one point, it was claiming ad revenue off of user-created YouTube videos featuring its games. More recently, it announced plans for an affiliate program--or what some have called a tax--that will see Nintendo share money with YouTubers. Specific details on the program have yet to be announced.

Would you like to see Twitch streaming come to Wii U? Share your thoughts on streaming in the comments below.

See more coverage of E3 2014 →

Written By

Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX

Discussion

131 comments
crytecx
crytecx

My ass. The least they can do is implement the feature and see how it goes, Nintendo shouldn't be afraid to do new things, especially considering the fragile position they're in. Streaming content all under one roof is the future, it's inevitable. I wish they would get out of this "comfortable" box they're in and do something different. I respect Nintendo and always will, but they keep trying to push the future away from their platforms and it's about damn time they make a change, their "way of thinking" may have worked in the past, it obviously isn't working now. They aren't utilizing the full power of the Wii U, they're holding the entire console back while instead assuming they can be just as successful as they were years ago without making any massive changes to the platform. It's sad, really. I apologize for being so blunt, but someone had to do it. Nintendo deserves better, it's time they start making changes. 

saintaeturnus
saintaeturnus

Yeah, it would be nice to stream directly from a console, but it isn't that big of a deal. Nothing a capture card can't fix.

Pyredine
Pyredine

Why can't Nintendo just stop trying to decide what is fun for us. That worked so well for them with the whole online thing a few years ago. I would rather them just give us the tools and let us decide on our own.

TheOneWhoCooks
TheOneWhoCooks

Nintendo is so far behind that it is sad at this point.

rybanoyd
rybanoyd

hey Nintendo, I was watching some guy play mario kart 8 on twitch tonight. It looked so awesome and pretty that it made me order the mario kart 8 wii U bundle online. Something to think about.

iammcgruber
iammcgruber

It's a nice feature, it's also nice if your on the fence about buying a game, and you can watch actual gameplay of it to see how it plays. Just because some of you don't watch twitch, doesn't mean nobody does. Millions use it, and if Nintendo doesn't want to add that feature, then they're essentially taking away player choice. Like some have said, they're already years behind the other two systems, and here is an example of why. It's not like it'd hurt them to have it on there, just because they don't understand why people would want it, doesn't mean people don't.

DustyinBFE
DustyinBFE

I love how this story tries to paint Nintendo as the bad guy for not having interest in twitch. Guess what, neither do I! Why the hell would I want to watch other people play video games? I didn't do this growing up in my own house... Why would I watch people on the internet that I don't even know. It's a novelty at best and I stand by Nintendo on not wasting time and resources on twitch.

thatsmypanda
thatsmypanda

*facepalm... Nintendo is 10 years behind everyone else and they're content with staying that way.

fede018
fede018

He's right, where's the fun in watching other people play videogames? Unless you have nothing to do, it's kind of pointless

killjoi
killjoi

I don't care about Twitch. I'd rather play games than watch. That's just me, clearly I'm in the minority and it's unfortunate that Nintendo fails to recognize this. Two steps forward, one step back.

King9999
King9999

"Your specific question of just purely streaming gameplay, what we've got to think through is, so what's fun about that? From a consumer standpoint, what's fun about it?"


Context is everything.  I see a lot of people not getting the point of what Reggie's saying, and it doesn't help that the headline is sensationalist.  Goes to show that people really should read an article in its entirety, and not just the headline and call it a day.  Stuff like this is what gets game journalism in trouble.


I actually don't mind watching pure gameplay, because more often than not, any sort of commentary is annoying.  I've watched a Let's Play where the player made fart sounds during dramatic scenes.  Really?


But Reggie's point is that some people don't want to watch straight gameplay.  Ask yourselves this: what makes certain Twitch channels popular?  It's not just the game that's being streamed.

dani3po
dani3po

Nintendo, fifteen years ago: 'What's the fun in online gaming?'. As always, at the forefront ...

leimonides
leimonides

Somewhat agree. It can be boring to watch others just straight play, but it also can be really helpful. For insistence, if you are watching a video that is specific to a goal you are trying to reach, or a problem you are trying to overcome, or a trophy you are trying to attain, or just some kind of really cool ability or combo or something that someone achieved that's not easily doable or just really creative, or even really weird but funny bugs....things like that. So, it just depends. I rarely watch game-play videos (as I do find them not all that entertaining for various reasons), but when I do, its for a specific purpose like the examples I mentioned (and sometimes it can still be a bit irritating due to either the person's voice, manor of speech, background music not native to the game, ect - video composition is a big thing for me).  

coalbuddy
coalbuddy

What in the world is twitch!!! 45 million viewers wow never heard of it. 

coalbuddy
coalbuddy

I get a twitch when i play with twitter.

chronoschris
chronoschris

If it's so useless and not fun Reggie then tell me this.  Why does Miiverse exist?   It's a similar type of feature is it not?  Used as a means to express your gaming achievements or events  through messages.   Are you going to tell me that is a boring feature to use also?    Need I go on? 

chronoschris
chronoschris

Twitch TV has a 45 million viewer base, is also making plenty of revenue and now is rumored that google want to buy them out for $1 billion.   The stats are there and here we have Nintendo stuck in their tired, old ways saying silly things like "it's not fun".  Plain ignorance.    They also said something similar about game achievements yet millions of people still use that feature and continue to do so. 

devilzzz2014
devilzzz2014

One thing I found out about streaming, videos posted on the net and pics posted on the net recently is when you watch someone play a game on Twitch or see videos or still photos of a game it really doesn't give you a true look at how a game looks or plays.  It may say you are watching high definition video on Twitch but I have found games that look ugly on Twitch really look good to me in person. Wolfenstein: The New Order is an example of such a game.  Also in regards to Watch Dogs seeing all that is wrong with a game which the net loves to do shouldn't be how you judge a game.  Play it yourself and judge and so I have to say I am very thankful that in my community we actually have a video game/movie rental store again.  Never again will I judge games based on just seeing what is on the web.

Now as for other things about streaming it is fun because you get to share with the world what you are playing and communicate potentially with many people you would never otherwise talk to unless it was on Xbox Live where conversation is absolutely crap.  Also it is fun to share game play of games that will soon be out and also show games that many are no longer playing.  It is a way to push a certain agenda I would say.  If you get enough viewers with older games lets say well maybe a company will take notice and get a new version of the game out.

Hmmm I would also say I like the idea of family and friends being able to drop in and communicate with you in a different way than in the past.  Talking about gaming is one thing but to show them what you play and chat is a nice option to have.  It is also nice to be able to show them without playing against them if you so choose cuz sometimes gaming with family doesn't go so well.

Mafia217
Mafia217

Totally agreed. Keep streaming out. Personally it's one of the many things that kinda been damaging gaming community. I rather play a game I'm watching and practice to get better than watch someone else play and see their "tactics". Rather read it up on an article (which probably are many on the web) and then apply it myself. Gaming tournaments are an exclusion, but watching some other guy play a game casually is just ugh!

Lawto13
Lawto13

I get that it's not seen as fun, I don't do it but I sure do know a lot of people that do. I have from time to time used peoples Youtube videos also. I think Reggie just wants people to play the games instead, not realising that when people come together and watch streamed videos it builds community and strengthens relationships.

seven7swords
seven7swords

I watch fighting game tournaments on streams on my lap top. If I'm on my ps4 or xbox one I'm playing games, not watching others play games. So in that regard I see Reggie's point. Still, options are a beautiful thing... I you want to watch streams on you Wii U game pad then...open up a web browser on it?

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

Typical salesman... 


He could just say they plan on implementing it in the future(likely be available on Nintendo's next generation of consoles).

aghio
aghio

Just record it, edit and upload if you want. It's easy. Why needing to stream? Because it's 2014? Come on, ps4 or xb1 barely change how games should be played. It's almost the same as the original ps1 and xb! I'm not bashing Sony or MS, but back to reality guys. Just upload it for damn sake! You dont want your mama called u for dinner while streaming.

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

I don't get streaming either. Just some dude running his mouth while he plays a game. Sure, there is some merit to it, but to me it seems peripheral at best.



themessinjur
themessinjur

Twitch not being on the system is about as important to me as the xbox one having kinect. The question is where are the streaming services? Nintendo owns the Seattle Mariners but the Wii U can't access MLB.tv. That's odd. 

isv666
isv666

Bah, typed up a comment and it buggered out on me.  Anyway, I personally don't like watching others play at all.  I find it boring and would rather be playing myself.  That said, I realize Twitch is an absolutely huge market.  Obviously millions of others DO find it interesting to watch.  I love Nintendo dearly, but they are horrible at adapting sometimes.

cboye18
cboye18

Very good choice IMO. Putting stupid features such as this in a gaming console makes no sense to me at all; if you want to watch gameplay, go to youtube. I, for one, can't even comprehend who would like to waste time watching people playing games instead of playing them yourself (maybe because gamers are becoming even more lazier??)

jharring
jharring

As a newish (< 6 months) user of Twitch, I find it to be a good supplement during those blocks of time I can't play games.  I like to set aside at least 45 minutes for a game sessions, but if I don't have that, it's nice to log on and watch a stream or two for a while. For example, I've played over 170 hours of Souls games, but I also enjoy watching blind newbies futz around their first time, or watching the speedrunners perform their magic since I'll never be at their level.


That being said, I'm doing that on my tablet, not my game console.


So though I think Reggie and Nintendo are misguided with these comments (and it's ironic considering they just used Twitch these past several days dot dot dot), it's probably not something I'd end up using through that particular device.  The tablet is much more convenient.

Indyskater
Indyskater

Who the hell has time to waste watching other people play. I barely have time to play games myself let alone watch others do it.

sdinh225
sdinh225

Huh they're starting to remind me of Nexon Korea/Nexon Corporation.


"If we can't make a profit off of it or tightly control it with an iron fist, then we want no part of it."  First youtube and now this, heh.


Anywho, Nintendo should just stick to making da gaemz. I'm personally not a fan of watching others play so I don't find it necessary for the Wii U to have this feature. Skipped out on the Wii era so wouldn't really know about it but I never found them strong in playing other types of media on their consoles anyway.

JKvam
JKvam

Yeah it's not like Nintendo has bestowed gamers with any good news or plans in the past 72 hours, so let's go out of our way to remind people how crummy they are (because GameSpot!) for not including a feature that is handful of months old, on consoles that came out significantly later than it, of dubious value to braod audiences and if we're all honest with each other is truly not easy to use in a turnkey way.


I've watched videos and streams and even enjoyed them but they are primarily for the derpy games we play that aren't overrepresented on the WiiU anyhow.  Regardless, watching other people play, if not for some manner of advice or in short busts, is fundamentally boring.  It's a nice to have, not a have to have and the internet suffers from no lack of WiiU game videos.


You could just take Reggie at his word and recognize that they judged the value proposition to gamers, and probably made the right call overall at this time.  Anyone that doesn't own, or won't buy, a WiiU based on this was never going to anyway.



DrKill09
DrKill09

Only confirms how out of touch Nintendo is.  At least HAVE the feature for those who want to use it.

asulaeagle
asulaeagle

I can see why People would negatively react to Reggie's tone and comment.... But it doesn't bother everyone. I could care less for a streaming option in the OS. The most import thing for a console is the games. That's what I buy them for.

dazedman00
dazedman00

I don't care if twitch is ever on the wii u. I don't care to watch someone play a game and spoil it for me. I want to enjoy it on my own. The way they are going about it could use some cleaning up but they have always been this way.

And for those that actually don't have a wii u, you are truly missing out on a lot of great games.

tekthunder
tekthunder

 Some of the comments here amaze me. Seriously people, just look at the numbers, Twitch is massive. People love watching game streams, and guess what, just because you don't like it doesn't mean it shouldn't be on the Wii U. Come on guys, Nintendo has been sitting back for too long now, pretending like no one can touch them. While that may have been true when the Wii was first launched, Nintendo now is at the bottom of the barrel in terms of sales and revenue. They stand back and critique things like Twitch here as though the world is going to just go along with what they say. I have a news flash for ya Nintendo, while you'll always have an extremely dedicated set of fans, the rest of the gamers out there are sick and tired of you acting like you have a grasp of what gamers want. You want to bring back your revenues? You want to have the console everyone is talking about? Listen to feedback, and open your eyes and see what the gamers are interested in. Say what you will about Sony and Microsoft, but they have made it very apparent over these past few months that they are more than willing to listen to there communities feedback. It's time to stop letting Nintendo get away with the same old same old style they've been rehashing over the past 20 years and finally embrace the modern world. Because if they don't they will go the way of Sega, and in time be remembered as the company unwilling to embrace the future.

inebriantia
inebriantia

I don't really find streaming fun either, I'd rather play a game than watch it. On the other hand my fiance loves it, and watches Twitch all the time. They should've added it the option to cover their butts, so stuff like this doesn't bite them.

corrus
corrus

Isn't youtube almost the same thing

Mr_Big_Boss
Mr_Big_Boss

Nintendo executives are really out of touch. Iwata, Reggie all need to be replaced, their ruining the once great N. Sales of Wii U are proof of that.

t_hunt
t_hunt

I agree with Nintendo. If you like watching gameplays with forced/awkward comedy, go to youtube and watch poodeepoo or whatever.

Matclip
Matclip

@thatsmypanda The writer of this article is 10 years behind everyone else in life and it seems you are content with following his lead.

Omali
Omali

@Mafia217 "I don't like it therefore the option shouldn't exist for those who do."

Foppe
Foppe

@DrKill09 They should make it possible to give electric shocks from the gamepad.

In case somebody wants to use it.

charliezard
charliezard

@DrKill09 Well you could say that about every feature possible. If Nintendo could snap their fingers and add Twitch functionality, I'm sure they would, but it comes down to what they think the best way to spend their time is. I'm fine without Twitch. I actually really like using Twitch, but I'm fine without it on my console.

asulaeagle
asulaeagle

I don't see how this makes them control freaks. You're not obligated to buy their products.

U know what's dumb? I've played some fun games on the 360 but paying for g

ignautius
ignautius

@t_hunt This isn't about ease of watching.  This is about ease up UPLOADING.  If anyone wants to put something on Twitch from a Wii U now, it's a bit of a chore at best.  Or you can take the PS4 system and basically just push a button or two on the controller.

thatsmypanda
thatsmypanda

@Matclip @thatsmypanda No, I'm just an engineer who enjoys streaming games and having streams on in the background while I work.  But sure lets ignore the issues and go right into personal attacks.  You have the maturity of a 10 year old fanboy who doesn't recognize the appeal and popularity of streaming and are content with staying ignorant.

iammcgruber
iammcgruber

@Omali @Mafia217 ^ Pretty much this. Keep up the good work Nintendo. Millions of people like and use something everyday? No, we don't want to add that to our console. Genius.

asulaeagle
asulaeagle

Paying for gold to access apps and multiplayer features is ridiculous.

Glad they are changing that but paying for online in general (when one is already paying for Internet) isn't worth it, IMO.