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Nintendo taking competitive gaming seriously, brings spectator mode to 'Splatoon 2'

Why it matters to you

Spectator mode has been one of the most requested features for the competitive scene, making high level matches more viewable.

During the Switch reveal trailer, Nintendo showed off an arena with thousands of screaming Splatoon fans, and it seems that the gaming company wants to make this a reality. Nintendo has announced that spectator mode will be coming to Splatoon 2, a feature that was notably missing from the first game.

More: Nintendo’s Switch is one console you can take everywhere — here’s what you need to know

For a while it was uncertain if the Switch would support LAN adapters or other USB peripherals, as it doesn’t have a built in Ethernet port. This was a major concern for competitive Nintendo gamers that want the absolute minimum latency when playing Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, or Splatoon. This announcement cements the fact that the Switch can handle more than wireless play. It also opens up the possibility for other USB adapters, such as the Gamecube controller adapter that’s pretty much necessary for competitive Super Smash Bros.

The Splatoon competitive scene has largely been underground. Because there hasn’t been a great way to view the game, it hasn’t taken off on streaming site Twitch. Couple that with the overall low sales of the Wii U, and the install base isn’t very large. But Nintendo’s Switch is exciting many, and it’s likely the console will outsell the Wii U by a good margin.

Splatoon itself was a major success for Nintendo. It was released as a multiplayer-only affair for a console with very few sales. The game also lacked some key features at launch that were later added in via updates. But considering all of that, Splatoon, which was a completely new IP, sold 4.61 million units worldwide. With only 13.82 million Wii U units sold to date, that means 33 percent of Wii U gamers own a copy of Splatoon.

Splatoon 2 is set to release later this year for the Switch.

Update: Nintendo has released a video detailing Splatoon 2’s Global Testfire. Think of it as beta access that lets Nintendo test the game with a large player base. The Testfire will go on from March 24-26 during six one-hour blocks.