Xbox One is getting Twitch integration to coincide with the release of the cool looking game Titan Fall (I haven’t played it yet).
Twitch is basically a game broadcasting service. Remember, Microsoft stood back and watched how Sony did it first with the PS4, which looks wise in hindsight, because the Xbox will (at least initially) do it better.
But this capability is important to both consoles for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to eventually reverse the decline of them over time. Currently, gaming volume has shifted heavily from consoles to tablets and smartphones which doesn’t bode well for the consoles. Nevertheless, Twitch, if done right, could actually bring people back. Let me explain.
Twitch Big Screen Sports and Marketing
Much like watching a live or taped football game on TV, the idea of watching a well-played video game is actually a good one. When I was growing up we’d often hang out in pinball parlors not to just play but to watch and cheer on the best players. We had a little of that with LAN parties but there you were often playing more than watching and you were likely more focused on thinking about your next game (at least I was) than in watching someone else play.
Watching others game has become one of the more popular aspects of the OnLive gaming service. I’ll often get folks cheering me on or making rude comments when I do something stupid when I’m playing on that service (honestly, I could do without the rude comments, I’m embarrassed enough when I mess up as it is). However, the platform did successfully showcase that gaming could not only be social in game but social outside the game as well and, honestly, some of the virtual races are a hell of a lot more fun to watch then real races because you can make snide remarks about major crashes and not feel like a total ass because in a video game no one gets crippled or dies. Well, unless they get caught playing on a school night but that’s a whole different can of worms.
With keyboard integration you can share your thoughts about what you are presenting with your audience and they’ll likely share theirs with you. I’m figuring you might not like that last part any more than I do some of the time. With Kinect they could implement gestures but are likely wise not to because I can think of a gesture or two I’d like to make after a particularly snarky comment.
How this helps marketing is that folks can see games played before they buy them and games like Titan Fall really need to be experienced before they can drive folks to buy them. These are mega productions with budgets in line with major blockbuster movies.
This will come out in a few short weeks on March 11th and I can hardly wait.
However, the item I’m most looking forward to is when we can broadcast in full Ultra HD. Initially the service only broadcasts at 720p. This is HD, yes, but at half the resolution a current HD set is capable of. Once we move to Ultra HD sets, which are getting cheaper all the time, the hunt for amazing content that will work on those TVs will begin in earnest and you can bet the next generation of this service will be able to support that mind blowing resolution. Unfortunately, the current network bandwidth just isn’t good enough.
In the end, the channels I expect will have the most followers will be those wrapped with the funniest/most entertaining commentary. Personally, my money is on the return of Leroy Jenkins. We’ll see.