Nintendo makes truly fabulous games, but there's a lingering perception that the company remains slightly out of touch with what gamers really want from a console. Take for example recent comments from Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, who told Polygon in no uncertain terms that Twitch streaming will not be coming to the Wii U. At least, you won't see anything resembling what Microsoft and Sony are doing; both companies allow their customers to stream endless amounts of gameplay to anyone that feels like watching. Fils-Aime doesn't see much of a point in doing that. In the end, he says it's just not much fun. "What we've got to think through is, so what's fun about that? From a consumer standpoint, what's fun about it?"
Fils-Aime suggested there are ways of sharing that make sense — particularly when you're showcasing specific highlights rather than an entire playthrough of a game. He used the brand new Mario Kart 8 as a prime example. It allows players to upload their best moments from each race to YouTube, a feature that has resulted in the incredible "Luigi death stare" meme. Fils-Aime is a big fan of that one. "You can make some choices as to what parts are going to be shared. We think that makes it interesting," he said.
Reggie's a fan of the Luigi death stare, but not endless gameplay streams
"That's different than watching Joe Blow's 30 minute stream, which may or may not have something that's all that interesting." But Nintendo's refusal to let gamers themselves decide what is and isn't interesting may irk some users. Microsoft and Sony have each implemented Twitch in a way that's totally unobtrusive; it's there if you want it, but easily avoidable for those with zero desire to share their gaming experiences with the world. At one point, over 250,000 people were streaming the Super Smash Invitational held during E3. Fils-Aime pointed to this as another example of where streaming makes total sense. "You are able to see how these players perform, the moves they make, you can learn something," he said, adding that Nintendo plans similar projects for the future.
But there's a far simpler, more fundamental takeaway from that huge number and Twitch's rise in general: people really like to watch other people play video games. You can do that to your heart's content on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. With the exception of occasional special events, we can't say the same for the Wii U — and it sounds like we'll never be able to. It's also possible (perhaps even likely) that Nintendo's console isn't up to the task of gameplay streaming due to hardware constraints. But if that's the real reason, we wish Fils-Aime would just say so instead of doubting Twitch's fun factor.