Black, purple and white are the colors that grace the background, probably providing an ambient compliment to what has captured my entire mind and imagination alike – a young man probably in his mid 20’s enjoying Super Smash Bros on the Nintendo 3DS. Players can stream games played from a variety of devices, from gaming consoles to the increasingly popular gaming PCs.
Okay, I do not own a Nintendo 3DS but going by the focus and enjoyment on the guy’s face, it gives me food for thought. On the right side of my computer screen, there is some text scrolling up – wait, those are people chatting about the game!
Welcome to twitch, an online establishment specifically meant for gamers. You get it? If not, I can put it simply this way- it’s like YouTube but it is meant for gaming purposes only. Another factor that makes it unique is that on this website, people are more interested in live games where you will find them chatting enthusiastically. The young guy’s character continues kicking the crap out of an opponent.
I love football, so I type ‘FIFA 14’ in the small search box on the upper left side of the website. The grin on my face is clear for everyone to see as an endless list of FIFA 14 games both in progress and recorded appear on my screen. I notice that choosing between live and recorded games is simple thanks to the red dot that depicts a twitch game in session.
For recorded games, the date it was played is clearly indicated so you won’t find yourself trying to navigate away after landing in a page showing an old version of a game you dislike. However, from recent news, twitch CEO, Emmet Shear, said that old broadcasts would only be stored for a maximum of 14-60 days. Soon enough, you will rarely see these 5-year old broadcasts.
I click on a live broadcast stream labeled ‘PS4 10×20 GIVEAWAY AT 20 VIEWERS’- a title that I do not really understand but who cares, I came here for the game. My internet connection is not that fast, so the video player does not load a full HD version, anyway I can see what is going on here.
I notice that on the left side of my screen, there are a couple of promoted games and related channels. There is also a link on the right side for previous games on this channel. Some pretty easy navigation here.
He begins by selecting a team while I admire the new FIFA 14 interface (I should get this game!). He chooses Liverpool and as an Arsenal FC and Barcelona FC fan, I want him to lose –despite the opposition being some team I’ve never heard of. Apart from the intensity of the game, the comments are interesting. From heated debates on the way the guy is playing to individuals bragging on how they can do it better, it’s basically an amazing environment. Individuals behind this company might just be geniuses (according to me).
There is a flurry of goals, which wasn’t what I expected so I try out another channel. Twitch has a clear navigation with the menu displayed on the left side of the screen. The other channels are interesting too. I notice that whichever game that you can think of, there is somebody on twitch playing it.
Just like many video sharing sites, adverts sometimes appear before a video begins. However, it doesn’t happen much often here. The viewing experience is seamless and enjoyable.
Later on, I log in to my account to try broadcasting. The experience is awesome. I simply have to connect my gaming device to my PC via a wireless network and the broadcast begins. To remove ads from videos, twitch asks users to upgrade for a turbo premium account that goes for only $8.99.
After the stream, I notice that unlike Google Hangouts where your broadcast is automatically archived, you have to click on options and activate a save feature. Failure to do so, your twitch gaming broadcasts will be completely lost.
The seamless interface was easy to use and not distractive. The chats are awesome and for gaming enthusiasts, you cannot declare yourself a champ till you face the wrath of the twitch game onlookers who seem to have better strategies for winning whichever game. In addition, there are twitch apps for various devices. It’s definitely worth it. Its a perfect way to keep in touch with the latest high-end games before I buy an Xbox 360, or upgrade my graphics card to the latest GeForce GTX 9** series for more gaming power.