News Article

E3 2014: Nintendo Won't Bring Live Twitch Streaming to Wii U as it Lacks 'Fun'

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Reggie Fils-Aime also addresses the issue of the YouTube affiliate program

For those of you following our E3 2014 coverage here on Nintendo Life, or indeed on Nintendo's official channels, you've likely seen a lot of Twitch. Our Nintendo Digital Event reaction video was initially a live broadcast, and Nintendo's rolling Treehouse show through E3 has also been using the popular streaming service.

Nintendo has been embracing the platform, then, but the Wii U still lacks a popular feature available on PS4 and Xbox One - the ability to use such a service, at any time, to broadcast the action as you play on your console at home. It's been hugely popular on the PS4, particularly, though it's a concept perhaps missing from Nintendo's console as it arrived to market earlier, has its own social networking through Miiverse and, quite possibly, there are hardware challenges in running a game competently while also streaming the content.

That said, Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime has suggested that the absence of Twitch on Wii U is a conceptual decision based on what's 'fun'. Here's what Fils-Aime has said to Polygon.

We don't think streaming 30 minutes of gameplay by itself is a lot of fun.

We're looking to do a lot of great things with Twitch. The Nintendo Treehouse Live at E3 that we're executing through Twitch is doing fantastic numbers.

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?

...Kart is fun because its a highlight of the race. You can make some choices as to what parts are going to be shared. We think that makes it interesting, and obviously, the meme of the Luigi death stare is wonderful when that comes out of that type of experience. But in the end we've got to make sure that it's fun.

So for us, what we're doing at the Nokia theater with the Smash Invitational, we loved that streamed because that's where you are able to see how these players perform, the moves they make, you can learn something. That has value to us. And you can expect us to do more of that type of activity, highlighting our games and providing a forum for players to learn how to play better.

But that's different than watching Joe Blow's 30 minute stream, which may or may not have something that's all that interesting.

While these are certainly valid points, and Mario Kart 8 has generated buzz through its TV replays, this does again appear to be a case of Nintendo retaining control over how its games are shared and seen, assuming the technical capability to live stream is there on the system.

Moving on to YouTube, Fils-Aime gave the following comments on the company's stance with the video resource's content, following the ongoing debate around its planned affiliate program.

What we hope is that that's going to lead to even better content and even better monetization opportunities for the YouTube vlogger. We are going to formalize a program and we'll announce it to the YouTube video community.

Look, in the end, what we want is we want more content like what we're able to do with the Mega64 guys. We gave them access to information, access to our executives, access to our building with the goal of creating something fun and watchable. That video was a lot of fun and it's been watched north of a million types. That's the type of stuff we want to work with the video blogging community to create.

The Twitch conversation is a completely different conversation. We want to do stuff that's going to be fun and going to be watchable. Nintendo Treehouse Live at E3 is fun and watchable. That's the stuff we would like to continue doing with an entity like Twitch. YouTube and that content monetization is a different animal.

Some interesting comments from Reggie Fils-Aime. Would you like to see Twitch streaming on the Wii U, and where do you stand on Nintendo's YouTube policy?


From the web

User Comments (81)



JamesCoote said:

As a developer making games for WiiU, this is really disappointing. I'd love to put twitch integration into my game. (Maybe it'll still happen for 3rd party devs like me, though have my doubts)



sinalefa said:

Judging by the emptiness of most Miiverse comments, I can see where he is going.



Ryno said:

The last thing I want to do is watch someone streaming themselves playing video games.



Sceptic said:

@Tsuzura: Brilliant, I was wondering what reason they'd have for this bizzarre explanation, because if it was just the IP issue they'd make an affiliate program out of it like for youtube.

But that's the reason of course. The WiiU can't handle streaming audio and video to both the gamepad and the internet at the same time.

But no, of course they just want to protect us from accidentally not having fun.



Ichiban said:

Not bothered by lack of twitch on wii u. Ive never used it once on my ps4 or xbone. Just seems like pointless fluff to me. But hey, what do i know? Lol



Nik-Davies said:

Surely if it's not "fun" as he says, then people will figure that out for themselves.
I don't really care though



JayceJa said:

twitch from the other consoles are pretty awful, to get any sort of good quality stream you really need to use a capture card anyway



Evenmoresteven said:

You can watch twitch in the Wii U browser (which is an awesome browser btw). I feel no need for a dedicated app. I actually prefer watching YouTube in the browser rather than the app, because you can surf the web while watching a video on your tv.



DarkKirby said:

If you think this is anything other than Nintendo continuing to enforce their policies which they've always had and continue to have on having an iron grip on their IPs you are very naive.

Where is that more widespread merchandising you promised Nintendo?



Taceus said:

Twitch. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. YouTube. Tumblr. KIK
Kids nowadays and over-sharing



Megatonwhale said:

I have to admit, after dabbling in Twitch streaming on the PS4 I can see where Reggie is coming from. Once the novelty had worn off I've never returned to the idea of streaming my gameplay. If I want to show a friend a Nintendo game I'll invite them over.



TrueWiiMaster said:

It sounds like it would be "Let's Play" videos without the commentary, and if that's the case, I have to agree with him. It sounds boring, and I wouldn't watch the videos.



SCAR said:

I've used Twitch on my Xbox One. It CAN be good at times, but most of it is just streams of people playing video games, because they can, and aren't really trying to entertain anyone. I watched a live stream of Dead Rising 3, before I bought the game, and it was just some guy that was really horrible at the game, cursing, not really commenting, etc.

There's also alot of people begging for viewers, and that's not very appealing.

Maybe he's more in favor of Youtube and using it to show recordings, instead of livestream. Whatever the reasoning is, it doesn't really matter that much to me.



Sir_JBizzle said:

We all know it's in part about Nintendo controlling their IPs, though I still think it's a good decision. Most of the content on Twitch from what I've seen on my PS4 and XB1 isn't all that interesting or fun to watch. I've used the service maybe three, four times. I'm more or less into the organized eSports like EVO and what Nintendo did with the Smash Invitational. On the other hand, I do like MKTV feature in Mario Kart 8 and more broadly, recording quick clips of gaming on Sony and Microsoft's respective service to share with my gaming friends, but all that can be done with a good capture card.

For those who know more about live streaming than I do, isn't there a way to stream Wii U games in a roundabout way without relying on the Wii U's hardware anyways?



khululy said:

@Tsuzura even if it couldn't it's still not fun watching people play a game that you can play yourself.
I myself don't give a hoot about this whole streaming hype.
It's a silly fad for people who think it matters that other people watch other people play games they can play themselves.
I can only see it's appeal when broadcasting contests but I myself am not interested in watching those anyway.



Meaty-cheeky said:

I don't think I would ever bother recording my game-play with Twitch, since I struggle to find time to play video games in my day. When I play my PC, Wii U and 3DS all I care about is having fun.



redd214 said:

I have made a lot of use of twitch on my ps4. Mainly to watch gameplay of games im on the fence about pickig up. Better tp watch the actual gameplay to decide vs reading a review imo. Now as far as me streaming I really have no interest in doing so but it has been quite useful for me personally.



TruenoGT said:

There's a market of people who'd enjoy having the function, but at the end of the day, Nintendo has to dedicate resources to implementing and maintaining such capabilities, and I'd rather those resources be put into making games and improving existing functionality instead.



rjejr said:

"Joe Blow's 30 minute stream"

Did Reggie actually say "Joe Blow" during a professional interview? Seems kind of gutter like for him, no? Guess it's better than Joe Schmoe, but not by much.



meltendo said:

I like watching streaming video gameplay...why? When I'm deep into a game, I can't pause and enjoy the graphics since I will be focused on the game. When I watch someone else play, I can look at whatever part of the screen I like and see things I would have missed while playing.



Nintenjoe64 said:

It spoils the novelty when everyone is doing it but having the option doesn't do anyone any harm. I totally agree with Reggie, there is not much fun about just watching unedited live gameplay, especially when I play.



Mochtroid said:

I think it's a mistake to NOT include twitch livestream to Wii U. Unless, of course, there are hardware constraints preventing this from happening (in which case, Nintendo should just say so instead of trying to convince us that it's not fun... let us be the judge of what's fun and what isn't).

I personally really like the idea of being able to share my gaming experiences with others.



Contrite said:

I figure it's because the Wii U isn't really able to do it in its current form.

More features are always good, so it would've been nice if it was included in the package.

Personally I don't give a rats donkey about it.
Watching random people play games over the internet seems reallyyyyyy pointless and boring to me. It's just as boring as watching Sports on TV, aka, really boring.



artofmana said:

@Evenmoresteven I would agree. I think there has to be commentary or else why would you have it online? Enjoy the game. Heck, that even seems to get into the tricky area of free use. Is it really free use to straight up stream a game without adding anything of value? (Please note: this is a knee jerk response that is open to critique and input.)



DerpSandwich said:

I don't know why he didn't just say the system wasn't capable of doing it, as the PS4 and Xbone were specifically built with extra dedicated processing power for recording and streaming video. If he said that we would all just be like, "Oh," and that would have been the end of it.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

I'm all in favor of this decision. Offering livestreaming as an integral feature of a console only causes mass flooding by amateurs and show-offs. And non-commentary streams are lame anyway.

If you wanna stream your game, make some effort. It's not part of your or anyone's game experience, so it doesn't belong on dedicated consoles (a term XBone and PS4 disqualified themselves for).



SanderEvers said:

@Tsuzura Actually the PS4 and XBOX ONE both have special video encoding chips built in. Without that it would take CPU resources from the game which would make the game run at a lower fps or not at all.



Royalblues said:

If it is just gameplay without commentary, I kind of agree. If it also means removing potential streams that have commentary, then this is just a stupid sentiment. Isn't the Wii U capable of voice-chatting and such things? If so, then there is no reason not to include twitch streaming. Just stupid.

But I guess this also aligns with Nintendo's need to control ad revenue from people who play their games (which I don't blame them), so, hmm



Bliquid said:

Yea, don't add anything someone somewhere might enjoy.



R_Champ said:


I never thought about it that way...non-commentary segments of around 30 does sound pretty boring...even if I'm at home watching a friend play we're talking the entire time, which is what makes it so fun (otherwise I'd just be playing the game myself ).



Iggly said:

I'd rather have a feature where you can voice chat with your buddies anywhere(like the Home Menu) over a steaming option imo.



dumedum said:

@redd214 How is watching the Twitch streams different from watching Let's Play video streams from the Gamecube days or last generation on youtube? Videos have been shared from all consoles for 15 years.



IceClimbers said:

I have to agree that just watching any random stream without commentary isn't very fun. On the other hand, the Twitch chat can be hilariously entertaining at times (and at other times absolutely cringeworthy).



redd214 said:

@dumedum I never said it was different or betterthan other methods. I just said I used Twitch on my ps4 because that was the topic of the article. Thanks for the history lesson champ.



dumedum said:

@redd214 well, the thing is, if that's the point of it, then it's useless. Youtube does just the same making it unnecessary.



electrolite77 said:

It'll be a cold day in hell before I start watching other people play video games. I'm sure there are kids I there who like it but I've got a wife, a job, a child on the way, other entertainment I like to keep up with, I don't have enough time to play games as it is, let alone sacrifice some of that time to watch others play them.

Plus I can't think of many things more tedious.



hYdeks said:

I agree with with Reggie, and I think Sony pushing this so much is very stupid to me. Its bad enough people post there whole lives on things like facebook and youtube, but why would we want to watch video of someone playing a game? People do remember video games are about having fun playing the games, not watching stupid videos of people playing them, right?

@electrolite77 EXACTLY! thank you! lol



SpookyMeths said:

It doesn't really matter that Reggie doesn't think it's fun. What matter is that many of his customers thinks it's fun. Come on, as a businessman, he should know that.



unrandomsam said:

I would be doing something else just checking back every so often and laughing.

Intelligent Systems should do a sequel to Wild Gunman it is the best thing they have ever done.



jdarrell said:

I'd bet their customer service doesn't want to deal with parents complaining that their Wii U used up all their bandwidth uploading stuff to Twitch.



mullen said:

I know some players may not care about that, but in fact that's very popular, and a better way to advertise a video game if that game is really good (much better than TV commercial or demo video because you can watch some real fans play the real game, actually SM3DW and Pikmin 3 failed to attracted me by all types of commercial or review until I saw gameplay in this way). I know it's not a feature that everyone want to use: more than 99% players don't want to board cast their gameplay. However, I think some players really want to watch others play, especially if they play really well or their commentary is really fun. (and I like the niconico style live)
I'm not saying that WiiU needs such function which may sacrifice the performance: the gamers who want to board cast may already bought the necessary device for them. I just want to say don't simply say it's not fun: that's actually fun.



SMW said:

I agree with Reggie that watching streams isn't always all that fun, but clearly there are people that love that kind of stuff.

So that explains why Mario Kart won't let you upload a whole race. Pretty annoying since you can't manually edit the video. All I want is to be able to manually choose my own highlights. (Either that or upload the entire race so I can edit it on Youtube.)



kyuubikid213 said:

For those of you that want to record your game footage to upload to the web, buy the appropriate hardware to do so.

Personally, my gaming console should be able to play games. If it can do that well, then I'm satisfied. Everything else is just icing on the cake. I've watched more than a few Let's Plays, but in the end I just wanted to play the game or play one myself.

Whether or not the Wii U can handle streaming doesn't matter to me...and as someone here said, all you have to do is look at the Miiverse community to get an idea of what kind of Wii U streams people would see.

No Twitch isn't a bother for me.



Dodger said:

This is quite stupid on their part. One has only to look at how many Nintendo Let's Plays and Twitch streams there are to see that somebody finds it fun. More importantly, it is free advertising. Maybe Joe Blow isn't very interesting, but there are some very interesting people that do LPs and streams that get a lot of followers. I have bought more than one game because of Chuggaaconroy, myself.



C7_ said:

Click-baity title there Nintendolife. Losing the context changes the meaning. He didn't say streaming to twitch isn't fun, he said:
"We don't think streaming 30 minutes of gameplay by itself is a lot of fun."

Which means they don't believe straight up uploading gameplay is fun. Which it isn't; streams and videos are made fun by personality provided from the person playing, which includes video editing or at the very least a microphone.

A better title would be: "Twitch Streaming not Coming to WiiU: Nintendo Sees Uploading Gameplay by Itself as not Fun"

I'm not a journalist obviously, but the title makes it seem like they flat out dismissed twitch as a viable content platform for games.



Williaint said:

What is twitch? Is it like a social media site for people with epilepsy? If so, I might be interested.



Th3PlaidHatter said:

I think this is the only thing Nintendo said all of E3 that I disagree with. Who cares if someone else doesn't like it? If Twitch will make the client, and Nintendo doesn't have to take of the infrastructure, why not allow it for the people that do like it?

I think first person shooters aren't fun. I hope Nintendo gets tons of first person shooters on their platforms, because it raises diversity and sells more units.



Spakiness said:

A dedicated Twitch app would be a nice start. I already watch Twitch on my Wii U through the browser, but it does crash on occasion.



unrandomsam said:

Nintendo doesn't mind things that lack fun or they wouldn't require all the star coins to play the last world in NSMBU. (The only World I like is World 7).



JaxonH said:

These are the kinds of political gaming topics that I couldn't care less about. I'm surprised so many gamers give attention to such trivial matters.



MrWalkieTalkie said:

Yeah, I really don't care. Never got what was so great about having your friends sit down and watch you play games, would much rather play games with them than stream what I'm playing to friends and strangers. And I don't get what's so great about it that every other company keeps making such a huge deal out of it.



Action51 said:

Good responses Reggie, but follow it up by providing more cool stuff like the Smash Invitational and Treehouse stuff throughout the year.

Make a channel for that produced twitch content on the Wii U and 3DS menu...and let sites like NL livestream it with live chat and I think you have a winner.



Zombie_Barioth said:

I think we both know "oh" wouldn't be the end of it. People would just harp about the Wii U being unable to do yet another thing the other consoles can.

I really don't get this kind of PR though, where apparently seeming behind and out of touch is better than admitting the truth. Although for Nintendo the truth is likely far worse from a PR standpoint, and can only be sugarcoated.



BertoFlyingFox said:

I personally dont need it. Game DVR is a very niche thing, used by very few gaming enthusiasts when considering the whole community. So when something is that niche, it usually gets dedicated hardware/software for the dedicated DVR enthusiast.

Now why in the hell will I need my consoles to worry about that functionality when there are better capture cards and editing programs? Unless of course they want to bog down their system with a kind of needless functionality that could be so demanding, developers have to find solutions on how to work around it.

I wouldnt be surprised if we eventually find out that on-board game DVR makes it harder for developers to provide an optimal console experience. Look at the gained flexibility XBO got when dropping Kinect...imagine dropping a DVR that's always recording the last 15 minutes of gameplay.



Lou said:

Meh? Honestly doesn't seem like that big of a loss. Couldn't care less.



TheWeird said:

Personally not bothered about live streaming, and I can't stand 'Lets play' videos either, most of the hosts think they are far funnier than they actually are.

However, the highlight sharing in MK8 is pretty good, the races are short and posting 'brag' clips is pretty fun. I also would like a bit more control over the editing though as often I can't quite catch the moment I want from the angle that looks best.

The problem is almost definitely hardware capability for live streaming, PS4 has a hardware video encoder built in that uses negligible system resources to run. WiiU does have something similar for the video sent to the gamepad, but that doesn't mean it can be used for external streaming. MK8 just records controller inputs and game variables, it does not record live video.

I don't see why Nintendo have to ape features from other consoles, when theirs have plenty of unique features. Just adding universal voice chat would be a good start, to make use of the Gamepads mic and camera.



JohninMotion said:

Here's the deal: do I think it's something they need to focus their attention on right now? NO. They have bigger fish to fry. Should they focus on it soon? Yes.

If Reginator or any other person on the head of Nintendo thinks it's fun or not is of no consequence. Last year alone Twitch had more viewers than Hulu and many other streaming services (you can view so here Millions of people around the world find it fun and that should be enough.

Why should Nintendo care? it would put more eyes on their products. People would see these Nintendo exclusive (or other) games and the people having fun playing them and want to play them themselves. They would go out and buy the system. However, we all know Nintendo is very strict on the web with people showing their game content so this may all be dust in the wind.

Right on Twitch's front page is free advertisement for PS4 and Xbox One showing all the games that people are streaming. How cool and fortuitous would it be to see a chunk of Nintendo games on the front page as well?! Everybody who visits the site sees these games on these systems and it sways them.

Whatever. We'll just have the closed off world Nintendo created with their Twitter knock-off, Miiverse. That's doing so well.

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