Gregarious Xbox One owners who want to share their every moment of gaming brilliance with a live audience will soon be facilitated.
Microsoft has announced that its console will support the Twitch.tv video service from 11 March, just in time for the launch of much-hyped shooter, Titanfall.
After downloading the app, owners will be able to say ‘Xbox broadcast’ into their Kinect device during any gaming experience and the footage will begin streaming over the web, complete with a picture-in-picture video feed of the player and audio commentary. Although Sony’s PlayStation 4 has supported Twitch broadcasting since launch, its implementation isn’t currently as feature-rich, lacking the ability to store Twitch videos for later viewing. On Xbox One users will be able to archive their recordings; it will also be possible to view livestreams from any source, including the PlayStation 4, while the PS4 version only allows other PS4-produced content to be watched.
Sharing gameplay footage has become a major new trend, with well-known YouTube gamers like PewDiePie and Syndicate attracting millions of viewers with their own ‘let’s play’ videos of major game releases. The Twitch network, which attracts 45 million viewers per month, changes the emphasis to live rather than pre-recorded game sharing. Viewers are able to interact with broadcasters via a chat window, and on Xbox One it will be possible to set up markers so that you’re notified onscreen when a gamer you’re following begins a live broadcast.
“Over the last two years, we have seen the broadcasting and spectating of video games go from a niche activity to a pastime shared by millions,” said Twitch founder, Emmett Shear. “As the experience grows in popularity, it’s important to provide as broad a feature set as possible for the community. Microsoft has done just that by rolling out the most robust console integration of Twitch to date and setting a new bar for others to strive for.”
It’s not clear yet whether Xbox One owners will need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to broadcast via Twitch; we have asked Microsoft for clarification. However, it’s an interesting extension of the console’s games broadcasting capabilities. Even for those who don’t fancy themselves as gaming superstars, the ability to hop into any multiplayer games being streamed by friends, should make social gaming a tiny bit easier – as should the fact that Twitch feeds from friends and followers appear in your activity feeds and friends app.
It’s likely that Sony will now respond with updates to its own live gaming sharing functionality. The PlayStation 4 was designed with broadcasting as a key feature – the controller has a specific “share’ button to start recording and posting gaming moments. The company has even promised that when its Gaikai game streaming service is launched later in 2014, players will be able to take control of a friend’s game over the web, helping them out of tricky sections.
For now, we can probably look forward to the edifying prospect of Twitch Plays Titanfall, in which 150,000 viewers simultaneously attempt to guide a single pilot through an endless series of multiplayer bouts.
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