I have to admit that I just don’t see the appeal in Twitch. It’s the new gaming media centre, hot on the heels of YouTube and dramatically increasing in popularity yet I just don’t understand why. A lot of people, people I know and within the blogging community have started their own streams and even more seem to be continuously watching a variety of streams. It is going to be a phenomenon and a part of the media machine for a long time to come; used by gamers, developers, marketers and a lot of people in between yet I can’t see myself ever being apart of that.
For starters I just don’t enjoy watching these streams. Bar a select few that can actually maintain a sense of wit, humour and personal rapport over the longer streams, over minutes and hours, most are just ridiculously boring. A wealth of inane banter, terrible commenting and prolonged silence. It just ends up being a rather awkward thing to watch as you can see most of these streamers are tense with trying to keep up dialogue and the level of skill seems to suffer from both this anxiety and the lev of attention to maintain it. All of this ends up detracting from the actual gameplay itself, the important aspect of even watching a stream which is to enjoy the game.
I believe a lot of my distaste for twitch is that most of this content would be far better if they condensed the information and put it on youtube. I would much rather watch a badly produced and edited video of a game than sit through a hour or so of inane gameplay and talking in twitch in order to get the same level of information. And even If I am after a more detailed report of a game I think a blog post is far better.
I watch a reasonable amount of Youtube to learn more about a game or to just entertain, even let’s plays are ok just because they can just show the interesting and amusing parts. There are a wealth of guides out there and plenty of clips showcasing Beauty, bugs, big battles and other amusing moments. Yes twitch has this stuff too but you’re stuck with all the filler time in between which really isn’t interesting or enjoyable to watch and detracts from the good parts.
The community aspects to it is interesting, a large number of gamers interacting together around the medium. The fact that you can even interact this way with some of the larger names in gaming is great too and these features seem to be increasing at a dramatic rate. Some planned features are even be able to alter the players game in a variety, for the good or bad but I still think all this us relatively pointless. The level of noise on those larger channels is tremendous and we’ll, the smaller ones would be better served to have an irc or maybe their own voice chat server… Or just a twitter handle.
Another part is that the technology just hasn’t caught up with his new medium yet. The hardware and software aspects seems to be getting better in terms of price and availability, it’s just the infrastructure itself that is still inadequate. The line speeds and level of stability needed just aren’t widely available. Some of us don’t even have what’s needed to watch these streams with a certain level of comfort, constant stream reloads that interrupt and frustrate. Partly that’s just a bad internet line, mine has been bad for a long time but it’s also that the twitch system itself is inadequate and poorly designed.
Disregarding for a second the terrible ui and menu system, their infrastructure is just inadequate for the service they’re trying to provide. It has been severely affected in recent times by the increased traffic and the architecture isn’t good enough for what is required. The functionality is appalling too; it rarely buffers properly which would be a great thing for the wealth of people that don’t have amazing internet and that is but the top of the issue iceberg.
I have no ill will towards the media though, to those streaming and watching. It is an incredible tool that has enriched gaming with how it seem to connect with people however, It’s just not for me.