Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Stream First - Twitch's New Gaming Idea Tested at GDC

Twitch announced earlier this week 2 new programs that they are looking to implement with both developers and gamers to re-tool the streaming service into a more interactive experience. 'Developer Success' would have Twitch working with devs to create apps or in-game content that would allow for easier streaming access when a game is released. The other big idea that people are talking about is 'Stream First'.

The idea is to provide games where streamers and viewers can play and watch in different ways, so that the experience of viewing isn't as passive. These are games that are designed to be streamed, from the ground up. It's not an add-on to the final game. In doing so, it'll prompt developers to re-think of how gamers and viewers play the game together to provide a new experience. At GDC this week, Twitch is showcasing 3 games that are utilizing 'Stream First'; Superfight, Streamline, and Wastelanders. The first is an adaptation of a card game that has you battling and bullsh*tting with super powers. Streamline is an 15-person arena game, that allows the streamer to create games on the fly to prompt viewers to join in and play with them. And Wastelanders is a turn-based strategy game where viewers can alter the decisions of the game by typing in the chat window.

Right now these games are in the early stages of what 'Stream First' is attempting to promote. It doesn't offer much beyond a more advanced chat interface of Twitch plays Pokémon. You talk, the character moves. So they don't give the full range of what 'Stream First' is offering. And right now, it's difficult to imagine a game designed around streaming that is beyond the "text to move" options. Twitch also mentioned in their presentation that there's a focus on the loyalty of audiences to streamers. So that people will be on board if the streamer's are...not exactly a safe marketing tactic.

The content shown on Kotaku with the new program is just okay. It sounds much more promising then the game play itself. Surely as time moves on and more games are developed based on streaming, and less onaudiences being passive and choosing actions for the gamers, it'll turn into something .


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