Nintendo: Where's the fun in streaming gameplay?

Reggie Fils-Aime doesn't want live-streaming completely open to Wii U's users

Sony and Microsoft may be bewitched by the popularity of live-streaming gameplay, but Nintendo is not so keen to make the ubiquitous Twitch service available to its users.

Speaking to Polygon, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that the company has always been focused on making its platforms as "fun" as possible - and, at present, it doesn't see that potential in Twitch as an ever present feature.

"We don't think streaming 30 minutes of gameplay by itself is a lot of fun," he said. "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?"

Well, not that much, apparently. Fils-Aime pointed out that Nintendo works with Twitch on a consistent basis - including in its live coverage of E3 - and it has implemented user-created video features in Mario Kart 8, but these are specific, tailored uses of the technology.

"So for us, what we're doing at the Nokia theater with the Smash Invitational [Super Smash Bros.], 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."

The impact of live-streaming on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has been so immediate and pervasive that Twitch has emerged as an incredibly early contender for the new generation's defining feature.

While there is certainly logic backing up Nintendo's viewpoint, after an encouraging E3 widely seen as a return to form, Fils-Aime's words may be enough to give Nintendo's investors a few more sleepless nights.

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Latest comments (18)

Jamie Grant Japanese Translation & Localisation Professional 7 years ago
No doubt like others, I ran this response over and over in my head, struggling to understand whether Nintendo is just blind to Twitch's potential or slow to catch on like other gaming technology trends of recent years, all while noting his thoughtful comment on "focused streaming" as if there's an angle we or Twitch haven't yet considered as of yet (even though editing and uploading of videos is at least a couple of decades or so old now). In the meantime, Reggie cackled wickedly to himself knowing he just bought Nintendo more time to work out what to do with Twitch. Genius.
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Andrew Watson Tools Programmer 7 years ago
I know that personally if I watch a let's play of a game, I will have a lot less motivation to play it myself afterwards, since I now already know everything that happens.

On the other hand, they're useful to see if you missed anything after you finished playing it, or if you're missing one [collectible item] and have searched the level from top to bottom and still can't find it.

I'm conflicted.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 7 years ago
Watching other players perform at awe inspiring skill levels that you cannot reach yourself adds value to a game and the culture of gamers surrounding a game/platform. The following is certainly an example exceeding Reggie Fils-Aime' "pure gameplay" statement. But whereas this video might be understandable to every lament, other forms featuring pure gameplay will make themselves apparent to the people actually playing those games.

I am under the impression Nintendo views Twitch as platform giving away games to content tourists for free, which isn't the case. One hour of looking at the structure of the site and what makes a good channels should make that much apparent. The people who actually post monetized fullruns of games on Youtube for conten ttourists don't need a share button. They are financially better of, if the lack of a share button limits the number of competing fullruns.
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Show all comments (18)
Steven Hodgson Dev 7 years ago
If you're making your platform as fun as possible, then Twitch should pose a threat to your business model since others will want to join in after seeing it in action
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 7 years ago
I love you guys at Nintendo, but sometimes I just want to knock some of you guys over the head to see if you wake up... :)

Friend a mine was using Twitch to stream gameplay sessions on Battlefield hardline betta and Destiny Alpha... it was fun as hell seeing him play, made fun of him and it was tons of laughs...
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I find it curious that when I saw Splatoon during their E3 presentation all I could think is how much I'd like to watch that being played and broadcast as an esport
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
Um, not to be the party pooper, but the LAST thing Nintendo needs is controversy when someone decides to video themselves doing something naughty and post it up. Even if the video was yanked down right away, imagine the news from those looking to get hits and views on their sites and networks: "Nintendo allows people to post PORN online!" Yeesh. Cue the usual anti-gaming suspects on the usual cable news networks trotting out their tired old arguments that hold no water...

Remember the craziness when it happened on the PS4 and there was a bit of fuss and bother that lasted about a week or two? I kind of think that's another hidden reason they're against it, no matter that 99.9% of the users will probably stream inoffensive content. Now, if they had their own dedicated network (no, not their own Nintendo Direct posts where people play and they make fun of themselves) where content was moderated before posting (which would be quite a bit of work with the potential millions of people wanting to)... that could be interesting.

I guess.
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James Berg Games User Researcher 7 years ago
Nintendo, we love you, but please stop treating everything online as the enemy. It's 2014. Please join us.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 7 years ago
True Greg, thats another way to look at it. its like the stuff that happened when some guy purchased a used 3DS that had porn in it...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 13th June 2014 8:37pm

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Yuri Bialoskursky Senior Designer, PerBlue, Inc7 years ago
To be fair though, look how long it took for them to embrace those concepts...the Wii-U and the 3DS. Yes the Wii had some social features and examples of online multi-player as well, but I always thought it felt more experimental and somewhat reluctant than the commitment we're seeing to social features on the Wii-U. Twitch seems like a natural extension of that, but my guess is that they just want more control over it and will work on developing their own streaming network where they can dictate the constraints over the content their users have access to.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 7 years ago
Nintendo Thru The Years

2001: "Where's the fun in online multiplayer?"

2006: "Where's the fun in a universal gamertag with easy to manage friends list"?

2014: "Where's the fun in streaming gameplay?"

For Nintendo it appears that the more things change the more they stay the same.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
Ten cents says it's Nintendo wanting control and some way to guarantee security for parents concerned about who their kids play with. Anyone who spends more than two minutes on Xbox Live or PSN will hear plenty of stuff I'd bet Nintendo wants to NOT drip on anything they come up with. Granted, it's "quaint" of them, but I think if they DO go the streaming rout at some point, it'll be in what's going to be a safer place.

That and unless you own a Wii U an as Christian noted, use the Miiverse, you're not seeing one thing that they've done quite well in terms of how players interact with each other. Granted, there are a few dopes there like anywhere else online, but it's nowhere as awful as listening to some kid rattle off all sorts of crap in your ear when he's losing at a game he shouldn't even be playing in the first place... :D
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Morgan King Animator 7 years ago
Who would ever buy a game without seeing what it actually plays like if they have the chance to do so? Watching others play games is how I, and countless others, choose what to purchase.
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David Canela Game & Audio Designer 7 years ago
I agree with the sentiment that I'd rather have the gaming-interested people playing a game than watching somebody else pla, but I'm not sure the latter cannibalisesthe former. For story-based games (the Walking Dead & Co.), it's definitely an issue. For more systemic games it might actually be a way for undecided folks to see something cool, unforeseen happen. It's hard for me to weigh the advantages and disadvantages for me in this matter..
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game7 years ago
Well, I don't really watch footage of people playing, but my 9 year old spends as much time as we let him watching Blitzwinger or some others playing mincemeat, reviewing mods or playing Lego games, and so do a lot of his friends. When I was not much older than him, Gamesmaster was one of my favourite shows.

It seems that it would be a perfect fit for Nintendo's traditional audience. Arguing that it's not fun won't stop people who find it fun getting fun from it, or something like that. And it seems that there are a lot of people who do find it fun, bearing in mind some of the most popular YouTube channels are this sort of thing, and last I heard Pewdiepie was the tweeter with most followers in the world.

Does twitch allow commentary?
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 7 years ago

That's not the issue. It's control. Look how hard Nintendo fought YouTube, how they used Smash tournaments. Every single thing Nintendo has ever done for thirty years has been about control.

More importantly, Nintendo doesn't treat online as the enemy. They're clueless Read the Eurogamer expose. The people developing the the WiiU online system could not answer questions based on comparisons to Live or PSN because "they haven't used those systems"!!!

Nintendo engineers are clueless, they're ten years behind, and since the WiiU is not capable of broadcasting to Twitch, at the very least with a signal that will look good, they simply continue to poo poo what they don't have or can't do. Nintendo is dying a slow death. They have a lot of cash, and so it's going to take a long time to bleed out. But if they continue on these paths, and don't go third party or merge, it's going to happen.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd7 years ago
What Nintendo are basically saying is that they've not been convinced in the value to their average user of solving this non-trivial technical problem. The same reason they - correctly, as it was borne out - didn't expend effort on the niche interest of online console gaming in the last two generations.

Recording and streaming gameplay footage is currently seeing a boom because the technology is cheap, and the audience segment who want their time filled for free are no longer as well served by free web games and casual piracy as they were a few years ago. Is there a tangible benefit for anyone except Twitch and Google, the people selling ads? Canny investors should welcome the fact that Nintendo don't jump on every passing fad.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
Sounds to me like they are simply wanting to roll put their own Nintendo style service rather than just integrate Twitch.

Reminds me of MiiVerse. Rather than incorporate Facebook, they created their own social media system directly into the system.
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