Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One both can stream gameplay footage directly to Twitch. Console streaming has proven to be popular with gamers. Twitch revealed that 20% of their bandwith was being used by PS4 streaming as early as January. Hundreds of hours of console streaming is being viewed per day. Check Twitch on the launch day of a big console release and you’ll see multiple streams from people eager to show off their new game. Communities have grown up around popular streamers, and people have started to base their purchasing decisions on positive impressions from these broadcasts.
So where’s Nintendo in all this? Games like Mario Kart 8 and Wonderful 101 get limited streaming because the Wii U doesn’t have an official way to output content to Twitch yet. Some people use capture cards to stream their Wii U games, but the expense and technical know-how needed to do so has created a barrier that most people won’t bother to overcome. Without a native solution, Twitch streaming for the Wii U is far behind the other consoles.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime explained to Polygon that they haven’t implemented streaming because it just isn’t fun to watch.
“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.
“But that’s different than watching Joe Blow’s 30 minute stream, which may or may not have something that’s all that interesting.”
Nintendo says the internal conversations are centered on questions of how to make Wii U streaming meaningful and engaging and not just an exercise in capturing game footage.