Nintendo is set for success with the Switch. With returning third party development and media hype, we are bound to see massive sales. While I absolutely love the fact the news and announcements of Third-Party support – there is a lurking shadow in my mind. Will Nintendo “Switch” it’s stance on Twitch Streaming?
Nintendo Support for Twitch Streams In 2014
Back in early 2014, Nintendo discussed Twitch support for the Wii U and explained why they decided they could not support it. They did not give much detail, but in an interview with Nintendo of America’s president, Reggie Fils-Aime, he explained that the Wii U would not have Twitch support like Xbox One and the PS4. Reggie said, “What we’ve got to think through is, so what’s fun about that? From a consumer standpoint, what’s fun about it?” He then stated, “We don’t think streaming 30 minutes of game play by itself is a lot of fun.”
There is some room for speculation here, but I think there is more to their decision than whether they think it is fun or not. It’s very possible that the Wii U was simply not powerful enough to run the games and stream at the same time, or getting Twitch to develop the application was not going to happen. Again, third-party support issues!
Is Watching Streams Fun?
While this may seem like a subjective matter, there are very simple analogies we can use to claim that it is fun for most people. People watch streams for multiple reasons. Some people, like myself, prefer to watch a live stream instead of a game review to decide whether I want to buy a game or not. Others enjoy the streamer’s entertaining comments, and there is also a lot to be said about interacting with the streamer and the people on the chat.
The idea is that playing the game is fun, but watching it is not, is flawed. It is possible that it is not as fun, but, once again, that is a very subjective thought process. Just compare it to any sport. People enjoy watching people play Basketball or Football, right? The same applies to gaming. In fact, many times watching games could be more entertaining. Interacting with others on the stream, and possibly the streamers themselves, brings group enjoyment of games very similar to professional sports. Also while streaming you can get a tip or two from the streamer!
The traffic of Twitch.tv is insane, it grows every year and it doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. As of mid-2016, Twitch is reaching 13 million unique users monthly. That means that at least 13 million go to Twitch and are likely watching video game streams! Why should Nintendo care about this? EXPOSURE!
As of today it’s so hard to actually stream Nintendo content that you rarely see Nintendo games being streamed. This means that Nintendo is giving up a huge amount of publicity because of their decisions. This is free publicity, too. Gamers, like myself, would stream their gamer at no-cost to Nintendo and get other players interested in buying Nintendo games.
Nintendo Switch is the Right Console For Twitch
The Nintendo Switch can do a lot of great things for Nintendo. On one hand we saw the Nintendo Switch’s trailer and how Nintendo is trying to create an E-Sports image with Splatoon. If Nintendo is serious about E-Sports, which I think it is absolute possible with Splatoon and Smash, then Twitch Streaming needs to be natively supported! That means not needed tons of extra streaming equipment to broadcast Nintendo Streming. Twitch Streaming allows professional players to earn the income they need to be competitive. Also, any E-Sports game has a HUGE Twitch presence!
To put it in simple terms, competitive people play competitive games. Competitive gamers consistently go on Twitch to watch live streams from world-class players that are teaching and giving tips at how to improve. A lot of them believe that getting information from Pros will make them reach higher tiers in their game and, ultimately, get the bragging rights they really want.
Nintendo must Thrive on Twitch
If there is one thing to doubt, is whether the Twitch audience will go for Nintendo first-party games. I think that while they might not gather around Paper Mario by the tens-of-thousands, they will surely enjoy anything competitive. Splatoon and Super Smash are tailor made for Twitch’s audience. Other difficult games like Bayonetta could have a significant following. If anything, it will give the audience something new and fresh to watch. Nintendo’s social “couch” multiplayer games are something the gaming industry is not only lacking, but wanting so much. We’ve seen marginal success without official Nintendo support for Twitch. Streams like Super Smash Bros, Mario Maker, and who can forget, Twitch Plays Pokemon, have shown the potential for Nintendo love.
Nintendo Switch Resources: Enough To Stream?
I mentioned earlier that there was a chance that the Wii U didn’t get Twitch support mostly because it didn’t have the hardware to both run the game, drive the gamepad, and stream the game. The Switch will be underpowered in comparison to other current generation gaming consoles; however, it would seem that it should be able to stream. A couple of months ago Bethesda’s Pete Hine said that Bethesda would be supporting the Nintendo “NX” if it was at least as powerful as an Xbox One.
This interview was obviously before the Switch was revealed. The fact that it was revealed with Skyrim and Bethesda as a supporting third party has made people claim that it must be as powerful as the Xbox One. Now, remember that Xbox One supports Twitch streaming which means that there a very strong chance that the switch (at least in console mode) will have the resources to run games while streaming. Assuming that the Switch is under-clocked in portable mode, and only using wireless connectivity, I would guess it will not stream natively in portable mode.
Nintendo, Give us Twitch Support
Nintendo can benefit from Twitch’s massive audience. We know Nintendo first-party games are awesome, and Twitch would give them so much more exposure. I have seen streams of Super Smash and Splatoon being popular. They may be the reason a lot of gamers decide it’s time to Switch to Nintendo (dad jokes). I hope Nintendo learnt this lesson as well, and sees the potential to expose the Nintendo Switch capabilities and games to 13 million users every month. We want to stream with the Switch. We want third-party support, we want Nintendo to take our money! Nintendo Support for Twitch is simply too good of an opportunity to pass up… again.