Troubles with Twitch

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.

#Twitch #Streaming

25 thoughts on “Troubles with Twitch

  1. High-five, fellow Twitch non-watcher!

    I think Twitch has some places where it shines, and that’s basically e-sports. When there are short, pre-set matches and usually a third party announcer, watching a live game is perfect. Otherwise, I totally agree about the long hours and rambling of most streams. I watch a lot (a lot a lot) of game stuff on YouTube, and I vastly prefer the edited format.

    I think people like streaming because it’s a lot easier than making videos, but “easy” doesn’t mean “good”. I also think Twitch is more about the cults of personality than anything — people like to “hang out” and watch their Twitch star of choice play and chat with them. And that’s fine, but not something I’m into.

    • Yeh, it’s definitely a great thing for the exports scene. Live matches with some great commentary have really help boost the popularity of exports and the games. At that stage though it more resembles a sporting event.

      I just cannot understand the devotion to some of those names, I’ve never been one to hero worship anyway so that’s party it.

  2. When you find the right combination of good gameplay and charisma, along with a chat that gives you a shared experience during high points without moving at a million miles per minute, it’s great. That’s also the reason why it works for tournaments with good casters.

    I agree that most of Twitch can be considered unwatchable, but so can most of YouTube. The skills between the two aren’t the most transferable too.

    • That is true haha, most of Youtube is pretty much unwatchablw as well. However at least there I know immediately, with twitch I’m left wondering whether it will eventually get interesting.

      I agree that there are definitely some great personalities there although for a few of those I know I just end up watching ere content on youtube afterwards

      • Looking at some other comments too, I think for me personally the issue is that I preference good gameplay with knowledge about the game over personality and chat interaction. If a streamer is playing with friends and talking strategy with them I find myself enjoying the stream as long as they aren’t annoyingly bad at the game. So outside of a few streamers (that tend to be unique for each game) and a couple of YouTubers I find myself annoyed with the majority of people on YouTube that are depending on blind Let’s Plays with crappy gameplay and hoping that their personality or learning experience carries them through.

      • I have to agree with those types of streams being better. You just have the time to go into more detail as well as provide more lengthy walkthroughs. Watched a recent Hearthstone one like that which was good.

        Some of those let’s play type streams are ok too but it’s something really reliant on the personality.

  3. I’m with you. Even the really popular streamers annoy the shit out of me. I like it when it’s someone I talk to on a regular basis playing a game for a select audience. I absolutely hate it when its some small-timer who doesn’t bother to check chat ever.

    • The communication between streamer and audience is the strongest point and if you ignore that you may as well not even bother. It’s a hard thing to do and I’m guessing, just like a lot of other mediums in their peaks the level of noise will be high until those people realise they just don’t have it.

  4. Often, Twitch feels like a hangout, rather than a production. I’m not going to be entertained in some high-art sort of way, or even a middle-art sort of way. I’m logging in and commenting on a stream because I feel like hanging out with the person that’s streaming. In some senses, it makes the medium more informal. In other senses, it makes the idea of Let’s Plays a bit . . . worse.

    Pros and cons. They’re out there. But, at the end of the day, I really don’t see the LARGE SCALE appeal either.

    • I can definitely see the interest in wanting to hang out with certain people but then it’s just a glorified chat room.

      Even in these smaller one I can’t get over the feeling that I’d much rather be playing, ANYTHING instead of watching someone else play. I’ve also got a group I regularly chat and play multiplayer games with, and twitter for a few other gaming people so those needs are already being met. Everything it does is done better by other mediums, twitch just puts it all in one package while at the same time making each part much worse.

      There are definitely parts it does excel at and we shall see how much it develops going forward but right know it isn’t enough for me

  5. I think it’s definitely the “hangout” appeal that ropes people in. My husband used to stream for a bit mid last year (Ha! That was fun on our terrible aussie internet!) and he made quite a few loyal ‘fans’ who still ask him when he’s coming back. I don’t know how he managed to keep up conversation while not sucking at the game, but he managed it somehow.

    He would love to get back into streaming, but we moved (to a town where the NBN had started, no less, but our particular suburb had its contract cancelled when the Libs got in) and our internet is even WORSE now. I tell him that he should start creating Youtube videos in the meantime, but he insists that streaming is better because the interaction from the audience is what drives his content.

    I think he’s just being lazy and doesn’t want to edit 😛

    Erm, yes, tl;dr version, I think streams can be fantastic if the presenter can keep conversation flowing along with the gameplay. Most don’t, though, and that’s what generally makes me tune out.

    (Well, that and my internet can’t handle it. Did I mention I have bad internet? xD )

    • The interaction you can get does make it a unique experience. Sorry about the shitty aussie internet, I know that feel… Oh do I know that feel.

      Technically rural here and lucky to get ads a long way to the exchange and the quality and speed is slowing going down. Of course with the NBN related doesn’t wanted to upgrade or even repair anything and we all know where the NBN is going now soooo, where all screwed.

      I’d sell my soul for good internet. If we ever end up moving I’m so manipulating the hubby into buying in one of those already upgraded NBN areas.

      • Lol.. Stupid Americans and having good ping. You guys complain when it gets to 100,you’d all be screwed in competitive matches if it one day became 300

      • Our lease runs out in September and we are TOTALLY moving to a NBN area. Thankfully the people in this town are rather dull when it comes to technology, so they haven’t clued on that they could probably up their prices a bit and desperate nerds like us would still pay it 😛

      • Yeah I would most definitely be screwed with a 300 ping… that’s horrific. Anything over 100 makes twitch based games unplayable.

  6. When I was playing League of Legends more regularly I had a few friends that had started up their own Twitch streams and I watched them a few times, but it got pretty boring after a few minutes unless I jumped in at the appropriate time. Not only that, I could have just as easily watched the game via the spectator mode in-client and had more control over what I saw on screen. I did watch some of the LCS via Twitch but watching the pro games is more like watching a pro football game, complete with shoutcasting. But whenever I have watched these sorts of things, I just watched the video, I didn’t communicate with anyone. Perhaps I’m part of a strange minority.

    I’ve toyed with the thought of streaming myself, particularly some Hearthstone and especially after nights like last night when I win 5 games in a row with my Hunter for the daily, and then lose 3 in a row with a Druid in the Arena. Not only would it be cool to show off some of the good stuff, but re-watching the bad stuff would help me improve. However, I agree that it would be more interesting if it was edited and shortened. I’m going to do some research and see what I can come up with.

    • I’m fairly sure Xsplit allows you to local record as well as stream. One of my favourite streamers used to put up recaps on her YouTube channel, which was just her stream edited down to all the good bits.

    • Same with my friends too, I end up watching a tiny bit, swearing and trolling them for 5 minutes then want to just jump in and play too. Chatting on teams peak is far easier as well. I was watching a guild commander in gw2 wvw for a bit, was a good side thing while writing out study stuff but that was when we were in a hit of a drought of good shows. If there is absolutely nothing else to watch during that time I sometimes do, it’s easier than flicking through youtube but that’s the extent of it.

      Watching the pro games are s completely different, the level of quality in gameplay and commentary is far better, it’s really a completely other thing.

      I e toyed with the idea of streaming ng Hearthstone too.. I’m terrible at times and get quite angry at getting card screwed butt even then I can’t help but think I’d just be another boring streamer amongst the any others. In the end I think I’d more like to just edit matches and put them on outage separately takes more work but that way you can be more focused on the better content

  7. I’m a bit baffled by the whole concept of watching others play video games (be it Twitch or YouTube). Perhaps this goes back to when I used to frequent my friend’s house and spend what seemed like hours watching him take his turn of a two-player console game of which he was the owner (and obviously more practiced). When it came to my turn, I’d politely die within the span of a few minutes, only to have the entire process repeat itself all over again.

    I do think there is a use-case for me, though. If I’m looking to purchase a game and have no way to actually try it myself, I would probably turn to Twitch or YouTube. Other than that, I’d prefer to participate, even at my meager skill level.

    • Haha, I think we all had a friend like that. Mine was a friend with Alex the kid ducked so much on that and it was so easy to die if you didn’t know where or what to do.

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