Nintendo’s E3 Direct stream was well-received by fans, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some controversy involved.
Ahead of the presentation, Nintendo made the sudden announcement that streamers would not be allowed to air footage of the broadcast. There was a great deal of confusion regarding this, as the announcement came through Nintendo of Japan with no follow-up or translation provided by either Nintendo’s European and American offices.
[お願い] Nintendo Directのライブ配信中に、Nintendo Directの映像・音声をミラー配信する行為はお控えください。ミラー配信を伴わない同時視聴配信は行っていただけます。なお、Nintendo Directのライブ配信終了後、ガイドラインに沿った内容であれば、配信映像を取り扱った動画を投稿いただけます。
— 任天堂株式会社 (@Nintendo) June 15, 2021
Details were unclear until Twitch came through and clarified that this applied to all streamers on its platform. In a bit of a swipe at Nintendo, Twitch then stated that it would not rebroadcast Nintendo E3 Direct on its official channels in solidarity with streamers who had plans for the event.
Nintendo noted that watchalongs and reaction videos were allowed, so long as they do not include audio or video of the official Nintendo E3 Direct.
Nintendo tweeted from their official account that co-streaming today’s event is not allowed, differing from years past. While /twitchgaming has permission to air the show, we won’t be airing the event because all creators can’t co-stream. https://t.co/Cx7kNsIIdJ
— Twitch (@Twitch) June 15, 2021
The decision by Nintendo was a shock on multiple fronts. The decision to prevent content creators from co-streaming confused many who wondered why Nintendo would effectively prevent its presentation from being made more visible. The decision was also a major break from previous years in which free co-streaming was effecitvely allowed.
No official explanation was given for the change, leaving fans to speculate. The most popular theories revolved around Nintendo not wanting to be involved in the widespread DMCA crackdowns that have been popping up on Twitch, or that Nintendo simply wanted to ensure complete control of the ad revenue for the YouTube broadcast. Nintendo has a history of making seemingly draconic decisions, so while this was surprising to fans, it wasn’t entirely out of character for the gaming giant.
To this point, neither Nintendo nor Twitch have offered a clarification on the decision.
Despite the anger over the abrupt change in plans from Nintendo, the Nintendo E3 Direct attracted droves of fans and featured a number of notable game reveals. The presentation kicked off with the reveal of Tekken’s Kazuya Mishima as the next DLC fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. After that were a slew of new game reveals and trailers followed.
The biggest reveal was likely Metroid Dread, a new installment in the Metroid series that will return the game to its 2D roots. The Nintendo Switch will also receive a number of remastered games including an enhanced port of Advance Wars 1 and 2, a bundle of the Danganronpa series, and a release of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. The event closed on a new trailer for Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WIld 2.
Despite the lack of co-streaming, Nintendo’s E3 Direct enjoyed strong viewership with the English broadcast peaking at over 1 million viewers.