Entries in Twitch.tv (3)


The Future of Pop Culture

Over the last week one stream has gone from zero to the largest channel on Twitch, broadcasting a black and white Gameboy game from 1996 no less. That channel is Twitch Plays Pokemon, and its popularity has grown to peaks of over 80,000 concurrent viewers.


Twitch Plays Pokemon is the perfect example of a novel idea combined with technology showcasing new forms of pop culture. The channel is a playthrough of a hacked and emulated version of Pokemon red, but instead of having one person inputting the commands the channel takes input from the chat. It has been programmed to understand all the d-pad directions and A.B, Start and Select. This is the kind of audience interaction major media groups can only dream about but are instead forced to throw hashtags and calls for "Likes" in your face. At the time of writing they are have already acquired 4 badges and continue to progress at a slow but steady pace. Even setbacks such as depositing their entire roster into the PC and the difficulty of using Cut have only gone to increase the viewers everyday. Difficult puzzles have also been conquered, like the barrels in Lt. Surge's gym which was conquered on the first try.


While the recently implemented site wide 30 second delay between video and chat has made even more challenging, like a million monkeys banging away on million typewriters they production continues on like an unstoppable force.  The channel has even already spawned copycats and followers in its wake, with channels showing a RNG generator playing through the same game and a crowd sourced playthrough of Final Fantasy I and II.


And in a week or two when the chat conquers the Elite 4 and vanquishes their rival the channel will probably fade into obscurity again, albeit while leaving behind a legacy of Twitch Plays All the Games.


But it goes to show how with the invention of the internet, pop events spring up and pass by before the mainstream even notices. This trend will only continue and accelerate, and that's fine. It has become so easy to reach out to others with similar tastes and interests that there's no time to stand up and shout so others will notice, they won't care anyways. The point is, get deep into what fascinates you, as deep as you can and stop caring about what the Jones's think. Otherwise the only one really missing out is yourself.


Video Content, Trends and Futures of Video Games 

Growth of Gaming


Earlier this week Google released a study on the growth and impact of video content as it relates to video games. This study seems to have gone unnoticed which is strange considering the amount of time and coverage that is often spenty trying to find the next big trend in contemporary media.


The study takes a look at the growth of videogame content throughout 2012, citing an over 100% gain in time spent viewing gaming content compared to 2011. Google showed the growth in gaming content exceeded the overall growth of Youtube as a whole, with an increasing number of views coming from mobile devices. The most important observation is that they found a strong correlation between the sales of a new game and the amount of views of brand related content.


This should be a wake up call for some Japanese game makers like Square-Enix who have been struggling recently even after producing quality AAA releases. Additionally they observed that post release almost 40% of video content is community generated, providing another vector of interest generation independent from the original brand.


The short story is that companies need to put more time into producing strong brand released content, both pre and post launch, in order to increase visibility and sales. The entire report can be see here.


On a separate but related issue, Twitch.tv announced a partnered with Steam to provide a more integrated way for viewers to watch Steam games on Twitch. Right now the biggest effect is that this allows viewers more choice on the manner in which they watch their content. Previously, DOTA2 viewers had to use the in-game spectating system in order to receive the prizes for watching certain DOTA2 tournaments. While they haven’t stated what other developments are in the works between Twitch and Steam, after securing a partnership with Microsoft for Xbox One streaming and now Steam, Twitch has further solidified their lead in the streaming market.


A quick Alexa check shows Twitch.tv with a global rank of 442 globally and 216 in the US, while PS4 streaming partner Ustream only ranks 1135 but with a much stronger rank of 300 in Japan. With the semi-recent shutdown of Own3d.com and the current uncertainty of Azubu.net, the internet streaming competition has become a two-horse race. With Youtube’s live streaming capabilities still in its infancy and the release of the PS4 and Xbox One in the fall it will be interesting to follow the change in these numbers throughout the next year.


CBS to join up with MLG and Twitch.tv

Announced today, CBS Interactive will be partnering with Major League Gaming and Twitch.tv to promote and develop the esports sector in the United States.


CBSi is no stranger to the videogame market with properties including Gamespot.com and recent acquisition Giantbomb.com and is looking to expand into the growing esports market with these partnerships. MLG is one of the leading hosts of esports tournaments with matches playing Halo, Starcraft 2 and League of Legends. MLG has signed on to be the exclusive online broadcaster for CBSi who served over 15 million hours of gaming in 2011 with each event bringing in upwards of 200,000 concurrent viewers.


Twitch.tv will also be working with CBSi for exclusive rights to advertising and promotion allowing CBS to reach Twitch’s 25 million users and to help further develop the esports scene.


This move places CBS firmly in place of a rapidly growing market including the valuable 18-34 male audience. The total prize pool of the MLG season finale last year in providence totaled over $200,000 and with the future support from a big name such as CBSi can only stand to grow not just for players, but fans as well.


This also brings a security to the future of esports in the U.S as MLG has been recently experimenting different strategies to test the feasibility of their esports business. This may be a large step in bringing the U.S. closer to the Korean esports scenes that already has TV channels similar to ESPN devoted to esports coverage and where top players are just as well known as movie stars or pop singers.


MLG’s next event will be their Starcraft 2 Spring Arena to be held April 20-22 in New York City.