Nintendo’s history with streamers and content creators trying to share gameplay has usually been somewhat of a PR nightmare according to most. Because most YouTube channels uploading gameplay from Nintendo systems receive claims on their videos from the company, it’s easy to see why there hasn’t been much of Nintendo in the recent era of streaming. This all changed, though, when Nintendo made the easy cash-grab game Super Mario Maker for the Wii U. This game not only became a smashing success as a title in and of itself, but went on to be streamed like no other Nintendo game before.
In the past when Nintendo would copyright claim a video on YouTube, the content would be allowed to stay up on the website, but the profits would no longer go to the channel that uploaded it. This was a strong enough deterrent that many Nintendo-focused YouTube channels simply chose not to upload gameplay videos knowing that it wouldn’t bring them any profit. The first Nintendo games that started popping up alongside the rise of Twitch were Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Mele. These games were cult-classics among the community and there didn’t appear to be many issues with Nintendo as so many people were streaming their gameplays and tournaments. While Super Smash Bros. were popular games to stream on Twitch, though, the first Super Mario Maker blew them out of the water. With the Wii U performing so poorly Nintendo clearly had no choice but to allow all the Mario Maker gameplays to be shared, and as they did the game continued to become more and more popular. To date the first Super Mario maker has sold approximately 4 million units. With the game being such a success it was clear Nintendo had to make a sequel.
Nintendo had let the mass streaming of Mario Maker slide with the first release, and with the second they seemed to embrace it. Quickly becoming the most popular Nintendo game being streamed on Twitch, Nintendo had another success on their hands. As of the time of writing this article, the top three categories of Nintendo games on Twitch show clearly how successful Super Mario Maker 2 has been. With 68 thousand current viewers, Mario Maker 2 leads the pack followed by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at 36 thousand viewers and Mele at around 1 thousand. While these numbers obviously fluctuate day to day depending on what people are streaming, it’s apparent that Mario Maker 2 is a streaming dynamo. Being one of the only Switch titles in the top list of Nintendo exclusives being streamed on Twitch right now is surely making Nintendo happy with their decision to make a sequel, too.
While we can be certain that Nintendo is extremely pleased with the performance of Mario Maker 2, the first game likely wasn’t planned to be such a hit. The premise of the game, that you can make your own Super Mario levels, seems to be an easy way for Nintendo to whip up a first party title fairly quickly while giving fans all the new Mario stages that they seem to always be asking for. It is likely that this game was made fairly easily by simply porting the tools software devs used to make Super Mario levels onto the Switch. If that is the case, the process would have been fairly fast allowing Nintendo to add another first party title to their desperate Wii U. This quick and easy title, however, became such a success that even though it was released on a failed console its sequel has sold approximately 36 million units worldwide at the time of writing this article. Certainly, though, a large part of the success of these games has been their streamer-friendly gameplay and the fact that Nintendo hasn’t been claiming every creator. Streamers of the game can choose to show themselves making levels or playing community levels, allowing their viewers to learn tricks of making new courses, and discover new community maps they want to try. These Mario Maker games have been allowed by Nintendo to be streamed and uploaded by an extremely large amount of people, but this trend hasn’t bled into any other first party titles from the company. While the Switch’s lineup of games has been and continues to be impressive with titles like Mario Kart 8, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Pokemon Sword and Shield, there isn’t a strong reason to believe that Nintendo plans on allowing any of these games to be largely streamed.
So then, while Nintendo seemed to have a sort of “accidental” success with Mario Maker being a streaming favorite on Twitch, and even made a second iteration which has become even more popular, don’t get your hopes up that this is their new strategy. It appears that the same old copyright claiming Nintendo that we know and love is here to stay with just about every title they release. But while this may be true, the streaming of Mario Maker 2 has been incredible and the amount of levels that players are creating is astounding. The game is certainly a huge success both among gamers and streamers, and is loads of fun to play. But while it may be a streaming sensation, it is very unlikely that Nintendo will lean into this at all in the near future.
Do you think that Super Mario Maker 2 is enough of a success to make Nintendo try to start being streaming-minded with their first party releases? Let us know in the comments below!