Niconico

The Nintendo Switch has received its first streaming app, but it's probably not one you were expecting. Also, you'll need to jump through a couple of hoops to get it here in North America. Get ready to stream some sweet, sweet Japanese content through Niconico.

If that name isn't ringing any bells, it's because Niconico is huge in Japan and only has a moderate audience outside of the region. It's a streaming service similar to Twitch or YouTube Live, according to Polygon, where folks either play video games, sing, simply talk to the camera or show off their artistic skills. Niconico is available outside of Japan on various platforms and, not going to lie, I've found myself entranced by it on a number of occasions. Some folks like to set up a camera in, say, their classic video game shop. I'm oddly engrossed by watching folks play games and interact half a world away from me, in case you were wondering where my life is at right now.

Seriously, though, it's pretty cool that the Switch finally has a streaming app, even if it isn't available outside of Japan. But that's where those hoops come in for you to jump through. Since the app is free, all you have to do to grab it yourself is create a Japanese account on your Switch, head into the store and download it.

As for how Niconico works, the videos themselves run the spectrum. What's unique is that folks can comment live and those comments will scroll across the video itself rather than pop up in a log. The problem is that, if a stream is popular, that can make for a seriously overwhelming feed of comments running all over the screen. However, there are some other nice tools available to those who are doing the streaming, including interactive polls, quizzes and the like.

What we're unclear on is whether the Switch app is just for viewing streams, or if folks can stream from their Nintendo device in handheld mode. It would be great if you can just livestream your gameplay and audio directly from the Switch. If you've already taken the app for a spin and have additional details, please drop them into the comments below.

While this might not be great news to many folks outside of Japan, it's certainly promising. With Niconico breaking the silence, maybe that means apps for services like Netflix, Twitch and Hulu are on the way sooner rather than later. Sure, every other device in the world already has those apps and we don't technically "need" them on yet another platform, but the thought of one day watching Castlevania on Netflix and then switching over to playing a Castlevania game on the same device with a big, beautiful screen is pretty appealing.

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