Twitch gameplay streaming is a feature showcased by Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but Nintendo has no interest in bringing it to Wii U.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told Polygon that Nintendo considers all additional content with one driving factor: it must be fun. That said, Nintendo doesn’t see live gameplay streaming as a fun addition to Wii U.
“We don't think streaming 30 minutes of gameplay by itself is a lot of fun,” Fils-Aime said. "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?”
So what’s about Mario Kart 8 and its feature to upload race highlights to Youtube? According to Fils-Aime, that is a fun feature because it features just parts of the race.
“Kart is fun because it’s a highlight of the race,” he said. “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.”
Fils-Aime explained events like the Smash Invitational are fun because fans can tune in and learn how to play better. This, he said, is different from “Joe Blow” hosting a 30-minute stream.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Fun and enjoyable content is also the goal of Nintendo affiliate program, the program Nintendo created for bloggers so content won’t be flagged as copyright infringement.
“What we hope is that that's going to lead to even better content and even better monetization opportunities for the YouTube vlogger,” he said. “We are going to formalize a program and we'll announce it to the YouTube video community.”
But what counts as “better content” in Nintendo’s eyes? Well, Mega64 is a start.
“Look, in the end, what we want is we want more content like what we're able to do with the Mega64 guys,” Fils-Aime said. “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.”
Nintendo plans to continue partnering with Twitch to bring future Nintendo events to the masses. The 2014 Pokemon U.S. National Championships will be streamed via Twitch early next month.
Our take: Deciding what “fun” means for someone else is always a slippery slope. Between this information, the affiliate program, and previous attempts from Nintendo to stop tournament streams like EVO, it’s hard to argue with pessimists when they claim Nintendo is attempting to control its image with an iron grip.