YouTube and Twitch are circling each other, with guns drawn

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Twitch announces VOD feature and video uploads.

Not that long ago, YouTube and Twitch were very different beasts. 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.

At it’s first-annual TwitchCon, the video-streaming service announced that broadcasters will be able to schedule saved streams and uploaded videos to play any time of day. 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. 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. 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. YouTube has more gaming content than Twitch, but Twitch’s staunchly loyal community and stronger social features have turned into a bigger business in the $3.8-billion global market for video game content, analyst firm SuperData Research reported in July. Twitch Chief Executive Emmett Shear said the “ton of new ways to communicate” would allow the company’s 100 million monthly users, who spend 1.5 hours a day on average on the service, to form stronger bonds with video-makers and fellow viewers. 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.

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. Twitch, meanwhile, was until recently just the side project of Justin Kan of Justin.tv, 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. 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.

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