Fans flock to first-ever video game live-streaming expo

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Twitch learned a lot from YouTube Gaming.

Lirik and LetsGetLexi aren’t household names, but they were superstars among the gamer crowd at the first-ever convention hosted by San Francisco online video game company Twitch.When YouTube announced its new gaming-focused livestreaming program, YouTube Gaming, Twitch SVP of Marketing Matthew DiPietro released a statement reminding everyone that his company did it first. “The opportunity in gaming video is enormous, and others have clearly taken notice,” he said. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last four years, but our eyes are on the future.” DiPietro said that Twitch was listening to its users’ requests and it had a lot of changes in store.Twitch lets users broadcast live video of themselves playing or chatting about video games, and it’s easy for people to watch those livestreams or archived recordings.

Emmett Shear, the chief executive of gameplay livestreaming platform Twitch, announced that Twitch will be available this fall across all PlayStation devices. Twitch executives predicted that more than 10,000 people will attend TwitchCon, a two-day celebration of a community that has grown to about 100 million members since it launched in 2011. “It’s better than television,” said Cruz Perez, 24, who drove down from Yuba City. “I don’t even have cable in my room. Sure, they both did video, but they came at it from two completely separate directions: YouTube was mostly designed for longer-form video clips that people uploaded, whereas Twitch was all about the real-time streaming of video — in most cases, video games. But Twitch hasn’t had an “upload” function to post previously recorded content, like, say, a nicely produced music video parody or an interview captured somewhere without Internet. Speaking at the TwitchCon convention in San Francisco, Shear said that players are already broadcasting by the hundreds of thousands on the PlayStation 4.

I just have my Xbox, my computer, and I watch Twitch instead of television.” Twitch provides an online and mobile platform for video game players to broadcast their games as they play. The company announced Friday at its first TwitchCon user convention that starting next year, people will no longer have to broadcast live to get content onto Twitch. YouTube recently launched a streaming game-related service that is very similar to what Twitch provides, and now there is talk of a subscription feature coming soon as well — $10 for videos with no ads. Onstage today, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear (pictured above) introduced some new Twitch features by saying, “I want to bring to you a bunch of little, but important, things that we think will make your Twitch experience just that little bit more fun.” And it’s true, Twitch’s announcements may seem like granular changes, but they should have a big impact on the way people consume the site’s content.

When PlayStation 4 launched in 2013, it offered the ability to easily live broadcast PS4 gameplay sessions using the “Share” button on the DualShock 4 wireless controller and view live PS4 gameplay sessions via Live from PlayStation. Twitch has built such a popular service, especially among youths who are turning away from regular TV, that Amazon paid about $1.1 billion to acquire the company in August 2014. Each of the changes fills in where Twitch was lacking compared with YouTube, which this year has tried to catch up to Twitch in other aspects to lure video game enthusiasts.

But the convention Friday and Saturday in San Francisco’s Moscone West is the first big real-world gathering for people who have mainly met in the virtual world. “It is about the people who use it, whether you are a broadcaster, whether you are a partner or whether you are actually just someone who likes to come and view and chat on the platform,” Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said during his opening keynote speech. But the line was also long for Giants right fielder Hunter Pence, who started his own Twitch channel in 2014, and his girlfriend, Alexis Cozombolidis, a.k.a.

LetsGetLexi. “The truth is they are more social than any other representative sample of the population,” he said. “The value they get from Twitch is that it’s a social outlet, and the value they get from TwitchCon is to bring that social outlet into the real world.” Ethan Foust, 12, of Oakland proudly showed off the autographs he got from his favorite “Minecraft” broadcasters on Twitch. “I like that they actually respond to you when you talk to them,” he said. It’s like the days when you had to be home at 8PM every Sunday to watch The Simpsons, or else you’d have nothing to talk about around the water cooler the next day. Twitch, meanwhile, was until recently just the side project of Justin Kan of, guy who started out filming his entire life with a primitive video camera attached to his head and then branched out.

But Twitch had something YouTube didn’t: It was an early adopter in the streaming market, and in particular it latched onto a growing interest in watching other people play video games. We spoke with him just before the site’s launch and he laid out the numbers behind his attraction to YouTube over Twitch: Just 10 to 20 percent of his views stemmed from live shows. For a younger generation, watching live e-sports competitions on Twitch — or even just watching someone play a specially modified version of Minecraft — is like an older generation’s Monday Night Football. The majority of his audience tuned into archived streams, so it was beneficial to have all of his recorded videos front-and-center, rather than second-tier.

And it’s obvious that the online retailer sees Twitch as a key part of its ongoing rollout of video services, including upgrades to Prime Video and a growing TV and movie operation that has been winning awards and drawing some top-notch Hollywood talent. Twitch’s new Playlist and video-on-demand options attempt to close the gap between its live and archived content, highlighting previous broadcasts as well as live shows. Ironically, YouTube — which was once the brash new video startup, dodging the copyright police and spreading the gospel of live video — is now the corporate giant, with the slick site and servers that never quit. Whisper is the icing on the cake: Popping out private messages directly in the Twitch app and site is a fancy little feature that YouTube Gaming simply doesn’t have yet.

Now, instead of finding a Twitch streamer’s page and seeing an “offline” notification, viewers will get playlists of curated content and uploaded videos. YouTube Gaming clearly learned a ton from Twitch’s experiments in video game streaming, and this time around, Twitch is taking some lessons from YouTube. You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you.

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