Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The War is Over: Time to Crown the King of Streaming

With out of the picture, will Twitch rest on it’s laurels or bring E-sports to the next level?

With going under, all eyes are on to lead E-sports, and games as an entertainment spectacle, further into the mainstream. But without the competition they previously had, what's to stop twitch from ceasing to innovate the way they have before?

There certainly number of things Twitch can improve upon, but without the threat of losing viewers to Own3d, will they do it? I had originally wanted to write an article that would compare the various streaming services that are out there on the web but upon further inspection there's really no one even close to being on the same level that Twitch is playing on. No one seems to have the deep pockets that come with being owned by CBSi.

Furthermore most of these other small time streaming sites have a very poor image. One site literally had the featured streamer, the one stream you see immediately upon navigating to the site, as a middle aged man laying on the couch with his cat, filmed at a wide angle, of the entire apartment. I'm not marketing executive but I know this does not inspire confidence in your service or attract the demographic that's most likely to use such a service.

This may be marketing but it's also dead on accurate.
On the other hand Twitch has a lot to learn and improve upon as well. They need to make the transition from spunky start-up to an enterprise class service in order to fully be taken seriously by more than just League of Legends and Starcraft players. 

What are some things they can change and improve upon?

  • I'm sure Twitch viewers change streams often whenever an ad comes on just as they do using cable TV during commercial breaks. Why not entertain the idea of integrating Teevox style viewing of multiple channels at once and either leverage the streamers themselves or the tech to embed ads in unintrusive ways.
  • The mobile app, at least for Android, just needs to be plain better. Less bugs, less lag, and easier to use. Why is it that when I hit the back button while watching a stream I am taken back to a list of the top streams instead of the game streams I already searched for previously?
  • Why is it that sometimes you can't even find channels unless they have enough viewers?
  • Why are we still using flash player instead of HTML 5?
  • Why is selecting individual resolutions something kept for only partnered streamers?
  • Where is my Xbox 360 App? Where is my Roku app?
    • I need to be able to consume Twitch content whatever device I'm on. Follow Netflix’s lead, they know what they're doing.
  • Original Content: Again, follow Netflix's lead. This is how you differentiate yourself from any potential competitors. Tie up big names. Fund specific shows or events. When people think of game streaming, only one name needs to come to mind.
There is at least one up and comer that's worth noting. Azubu TV, should they expand to games beyond League of Legends, may be threat depending on how much investor cash or player mindshare they are able to garner. We haven't yet even seen the launch of the service but it's something Twitch should certainly keep their eyes on. So far Twitch has done a great job of giving the people what they want. Twitch is leaps and bounds better in terms of performance than in years past but there's more to do. I'm hoping Twitch can innovate, iterate and surprise us in 2013 because once larger media conglomerates realize which way the wind is blowing, they will have a lot more to deal with.

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