Gamers use Twitch streaming channels all the time as a conduit for sharing their greatest exploits or to pal around with friends, but Nintendo doesn't think it's a fit for their hardware.
Nintendo of America President and Chief Officer of Operations Reggie Fils-Aime asserts that the decision to omit Twitch streaming and functionality from the Wii U console is based strictly on their philosophy on gaming hardware and software, which essentially comes down to whether or not the company sees potential for something fun.
Reggie explained himself further in an interview with Polygon, where he mentioned that Nintendo is looking to do “a lot of great things with Twitch,” but as far as including it on their console, what they don’t see is the entertainment appeal of something so specific.
“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 it’s 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.”
With regard to Reggie’s justification, it’s true that watching Twitch streams isn’t likely a major source of entertainment for mainstream gamers, and it’s probably the shorter, more digestible Mario Kart 8 footage that enabled the game to gain traction. Additionally, as NintendoLife notes, there’s also a potential issue with the Wii U hardware, which launched earlier than the rival Xbox One and PS4, and is a less powerful machine. The decision may also stem from Nintendo’s YouTube sharing and controlling philosophy regarding partnership with video bloggers.
That said, Joystiq reported in 2011 that half of all Netflix users used a gaming console to access the streaming service, and of that chunk, the majority of viewers connected using their Wii. On top of that, the fact that YouTube may be purchasing Twitch for $1 Billion is indication of just how valuable other entertainment companies view the streaming service. It seems like Twitch is a growing part of the gaming community, and Nintendo does have some customers who are willing to put down the controller to watch content every now and then. That said, Nintendo is notorious for marching to the beat of their own drum.
What do you think? Are you an avid Twitch streamer and want to see it come to Wii U? Let us know how you feel about this situation in the comments below!
Images: Nintendo, Twitch