Twitch, formerly Twitch.tv, allows gamers to stream their play to viewers online. If that sounds niche to you, you are a bit behind. Twitch serves content from more than half a million streaming users to 38 million unique viewers each month.
It has long been a PC-focused service, as it found its start and footing in the PC gaming world. However, with today’s announcement of its work with Sony, and a similar partnership already announced with Microsoft and its upcoming Xbox One console, Twitch has effectively taken over the console market. Also included in the partnership is the ability to watch Twitch streams on the PlayStation 4. Again, the Xbox One link-up has the same feature.
Game streaming is now essentially equal opportunity. In the case of the PlayStation 4, gamers will be able to press the “Share” button on their controllers, and their streaming will kick into gear on their Twitch channels. That’s simple. On the PC front, streaming has always been a slightly wonky affair. For many, it was perhaps too complex to get started to make the effort worthwhile.
Streaming on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One appears to be far simpler. This could lead to more adoption. And, critically, this could be a key moment for e-sports. The most competitive titles at the moment — League of Legends, Dota 2, and Starcraft 2 — are PC games. Mass streaming of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 titles could shift the gravity of e-sports.
All titles on the PlayStation 4 will be streamable, but it is not clear if all publishers will allow for them to be streamed. This is another key victory for Twitch, which has two fresh shots of espresso coming right up. Frankly, I’d argue that landing both Sony and Microsoft has put Twitch into a place where it can, once the new consoles come out, accelerate its growth rate.
Let’s hope they’ve bought enough new servers.