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Live video is the newest trend in how gamers engage around their favorite titles. We currently see an average session time of 47 minutes on TwitchTV; that means that every time a viewer shows up on the site, they stay and watch 47 minutes of video. This is time that gamers are cutting out of traditional media sources of entertainment: movies, television and internet browsing and -- obviously -- time that’s no longer being spent engaging with traditional games media.
In a nut shell: Your audience isn’t reading magazines or web sites any more - they’re watching videos!
But not just any videos.
Above all else, today’s gamers want to watch videos which either show experts at play or capture experts sharing their knowledge about games. These experts are, almost without exception, grass roots players and not traditional games media pundits. TwitchTV provides both the platform and the community within which this is happening.
Some of the most innovative companies in gaming have already taken the first step: designing and integrating spectator modes into their games.
Blizzard’s StarCraft II, Riot Games’ League of Legends, and Valve’s Dota 2 have all incorporated observer modes that allow commentators to see multiple view points within a match, join in high-level game play, informational overlays, and more. For new games, there is an opportunity to extend the life cycle beyond launch by spending time crafting a spectator mode, building a great match making system, and positioning your game as an eSport.
For games that are centered around casual play there is an opportunity as well. Minecraft, one of the top five games on TwitchTV, is extremely popular, with broadcasters producing content around sharing, exploration, discovery and collaborative play. While content created from games like Minecraft doesn’t as closely mirror traditional sports, they allow players to share their in-game creativity with the world.
In order to let game developers capitalize on this trend, we’re excited to announce the formation of our TwitchTV Developer Program. One of the problems thus far in growing the number of content creators to its full potential has been the relative difficulty of broadcasting: if you want to stream your gameplay, even on PC you have to master complex software to send your video to TwitchTV. Even though we get over 45,000 unique gamers broadcasting content to the site every month, we’re constantly aware that number could be much, much higher (remember, the total audience size is over 12 million).
To solve this problem, we are building SDKs to get broadcasting enabled directly from console, PC, web or mobile games. By letting users stream directly from their games, a massive amount of user generate content can be unlocked, opening up an entirely new marketing channel for engaging gamers around a game at launch through maturity. Email us at [email protected] to join the TwitchTV Developer Program and get in on our alpha and beta tests. We are coming soon to a platform near you!