This week’s exclusive interview is fielded by Chase, the PR Director of Twitch. Twitch is the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers with more than 45 million visitors per month. They want to connect gamers around the world by allowing them to broadcast, watch and chat from everywhere they play. You can catch your favorite games, the best players, the biggest events and the coolest shows on their amazing streams.
Thank you for your time, Chase.
Gamer Compatible: What was the team’s inspiration for Twitch?
Chase: In 2007, Justin.tv first launched as an online reality show with Justin Kan’s life being filmed 24/7 and bringing into vogue the term “lifecasting.” As the novelty wore off and viewers were wanting to broadcast their own lives and events, JTV began offering up broadcasting tools to its audience. Over time it became a large live streaming platform for all types of content. Because Emmett Shear – one of JTV’s co-founders – was a big StarCraft II fan, he paid particular attention to the video game content which was steadily growing on JTV. The company set some thresholds that would determine whether or not there was enough gaming content to spin it off into its own brand and URL. The benchmarks were easily surpassed, so in 2011 Twitch was launched. In just a couple of years, it now boasts more than one million broadcasters and 45 million viewers a month.
Gamer Compatible: Which are Twitch’s most popular channels?
Chase: We did a retrospective last year which is online at http://www.twitch.tv/year/2013. There are a number of sections which call out notable broadcasters from individual streamers to large organizations and events.
Chase, the PR Director of Twitch
Gamer Compatible: Which game stream is doing well that you never thought would have been popular?
Chase: The channel that caught the world by surprise was TwitchPlaysPokemon. When it hit 10,000 concurrent viewers, we thought, wow, that’s pretty spectacular. Imagine our surprise when it reached 120,000 concurrent viewers and captured the world’s attention for 16 days. Nobody could have predicted that, no matter how compelling they thought the broadcast was. And it’s still going!
TwitchPlaysPokemon Stats for reference:
- 1,165,140 unique players input chat into the game
- 122+ million chat commands issued
- 9+ million unique viewers
- 36+ million total views
- 120,000 peak concurrents
- 1+ billion minutes watched
- Duration of game: 16 days, 7 hours, 45 minutes and 30 seconds
Gamer Compatible: Your team recently created a Pokémon stream, where players can collaboratively play by typing commands into chat. Did your team think it would be this wildly successful?
Chase: Twitch didn’t create the TwitchPlaysPokemon stream. It was created by an anonymous and ingenious broadcaster who had the creative concept of linking chat commands to the game’s controls. As noted in the previous response, the size of its success was definitely a surprise. We love that the Twitch platform is flexible and powerful enough, and the community creative enough, to produce these kinds of spontaneous experiences.
Twitch Weekly #6, May 2, 2014 Edition
Gamer Compatible: My apologies. Based on the name, we thought TwitchPlaysPokemon was created by one of Twitch’s staff members.
Chase: The name ‘Twitch Plays Pokemon” does make it sound like it was made by Twitch, but I think the broadcaster was referring to the Twitch community when he chose the name.
Gamer Compatible: What’s your next stream idea?
Chase: Twitch doesn’t create content; instead we exist as a platform for our 1+ million broadcasters to use as a canvass for creativity within the video game space. One novel concept in the works by an independent developer is a game called Choice Chamber. It is being built from the ground up to be controlled via chat commands and will help solidify Twitch Play Games as a legitimate game genre.
Gamer Compatible: Will we be seeing any additional merchandise for the online store?
Chase: We plan to roll out new and exclusive items in time, but we don’t have a set schedule for when that will be.
Gamer Compatible: If you could make any movie/tv show into a game that you will then broadcast, which would it be?
Chase: That’s a better question for our broadcasters, but for any aspiring developers, the Blacklist has a pretty creative ensemble of villains. There was also a movie called Super Mario Bros. I bet a game with Mario in it would do well.
Twitch Weekly #7, May 9, 2014 Edition
Gamer Compatible: Who are some of your funniest broadcasters?
Chase: MANvsGAME, Zombiunicorn, DansGaming, Swiftor…I could go on since we have no shortage of entertainers. If there is a game you like, there is somebody entertaining streaming it.
Gamer Compatible: What is the craziest thing you didn’t expect to see on a stream?
Chase: That’s pretty subjective, but people were definitely amused when a robot played Threes on Team Colorblind’s channel.
Gamer Compatible: What are some of Twitch employees’ favorite games?
Chase: All of them. We have a staff with very diverse tastes, but Dota 2, Call of Duty, StarCraft II, League of Legends, HearthStone, Street Fighter, and Magic the Gathering are all popular. I’m a big fan of narrative games like The Last of Us, Borderlands and BioShock.
Navigating through Twitch’s Live Games
Gamer Compatible: Twitch recently announced its mobile live streaming feature. Which games do you foresee being super popular?
Chase: Many mobile games are made for very short bits of gameplay, so it’s not so much which games, but which types of games. Therefore, the longer the gameplay, the more immersive the viewing experience.
Gamer Compatible: Is Twitch looking into streaming off other handheld consoles like the PS Vita or Nintendo 3DS?
Chase: Our goal is to be everywhere that gamers are, but we can’t comment on any potential or existing partnerships.
Twitch Weekly #8, May 16, 2014 Edition
Gamer Compatible: Tell us something about Twitch that isn’t well known.
Chase: When we launched at E3 in June 2011, we didn’t know what our brand was going to be called until shortly before the show. Up until that point, our working brand name was Xarth.
Gamer Compatible: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Chase: Being successful on Twitch doesn’t always hinge on how good a gamer you are. It’s often all about your personality, how you connect with visitors to your channel and creating a regular schedule. Also, regularly streaming a current game that’s under the radar or a retro game everyone forgot can be a gateway to building a unique presence among our community. Keep in mind there are plenty of ideas that we haven’t thought of, so be creative and have fun.
Thank you for your time, Chase and thanks for checking out Gamer Compatible! If you want to know more about Twitch, you can follow them on Twitter: @Twitch, on Facebook: @Twitch or you can check out their site: twitch.tv. Also, congratulations to Twitch on being acquired by Youtube!
Game on! And signing out.