If you've recently been invited to take part in a raffle for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive items while chatting in Twitch, the good people at F-Secure have a bit of advice: Don't do it.
Yesterday's surprising news that Amazon had acquired Twitch led to some rather immediate and obvious questions: What could Amazon possibly want with Twitch, for one, and what happened to the deal with Google? As it turns out, Amazon sees very big things ahead for gaming, and Google was never quite as close to claiming the throne as we thought.
Amazon bought Twitch for $970 million on Monday, a surprise acquisition after the rumor that Google was pursuing Twitch for a similar sum. It’s tough to predict how the purchase will change how we broadcast and spectate PC games, or how Amazon will fold the world’s biggest livestreaming service into its existing media and referral services. But to expect Amazon’s acquisition to have no impact on Twitch is unrealistic.
“We’re keeping most everything the same,” Twitch’s CEO Emmett Shear writes in a post announcing the sale of his company. In a separate press release, Shear says that Amazon ownership will allow it to “create tools and services faster than we could have independently.” As users and casters ourselves on Twitch, here’s a wish list (an Amazon Wish List, perhaps) of the new features we’re interested in seeing and the aspects of Twitch we’d like to remain in tact.
Update: A post on Twitch's website confirms the rumors: Amazon.com is buying the streaming site.
Remember last month when it came out that Google was buying Twitch for $1 billion? It looks like those reports may have been premature, as the word on the street now is that Amazon is "late-stage talks" to acquire the company.
Twitch unveiled some significant changes to its handling of stored videos earlier this week. The "save forever" option for past broadcasts was eliminated, and while highlight videos could be saved indefinitely, they were limited to a maximum of two hours in length. Existing videos, meanwhile, would be scanned for copyrighted audio and muted if any was found, an automated process that's apparently led to a number of false positives. The response to the new policies was predictably sour, and following a Reddit AMA by CEO Emmett Shear yesterday, Twitch has backtracked on them a bit.
Big changes are coming to Twitch, including the implementation of "audio recognition technology" that will scan recorded broadcasts and mute any that it finds are using unauthorized—that is, copyrighted—audio. The announcement came as a surprise to Twitch users, but CEO Emmett Shear said in today's Reddit AMA that it's actually been in the works for awhile now, and also confirmed that the audio scanning won't be applied to livestreams.
Following the announcement of sweeping changes to Twitch's video on demand service, comes another more divisive update: Twitch will implement Audio Recognition technology on all VODs in an effort to combat the use of "unauthorised third party material". The scans will apply to VODs only: live streams will remain unaffected.
Twitch has announced that big changes are coming to its video on demand service, including better service for international viewers, easier YouTube exports and increased length of default rolling storage for past broadcasts. The downside to all these improvements is that the "save forever" option is being eliminated, but don't worry: Nobody was using it anyway.
YouTube has acquired Twitch, if a new report is accurate. According to Variety the deal is worth $1 billion dollars and will be officially announced 'imminently', according to sources "familiar with the pact". The report also indicates that the Google subsidiary is expecting a battle with U.S. regulators before the purchase can be finalised, due to potential anticompetitive concerns in the online-video market.
If there's one group of people I don't trust, it's everyone on the internet. Not you, of course. You're lovely. But the others? For all I know, they're an army of terrifying psychopaths. It's for that exact reason that Choice Chamber—a game that puts your success directly into the hands of anonymous Twitch viewers—promises to be so entertaining. Fittingly, given the game's streaming symbiosis, Twitch have announced that they're now supporting its development.
Free To Play, Valve's Dota 2 e-sports documentary, comes out later today. And while you could watch it from the relative comfort of your Steam library, wouldn't it make more sense to see it in a setting more synonymous with e-sports? By which I mean on Twitch, next to a chat box that's spamming emoticons.
Luckily, you have that option. Valve and Twitch are collaborating on an online viewing party that's set to go live in a few hours. It will start at 9am PDT or 4pm GMT, and be shown running throughout the day. Because timezones are confusing, there's also a countdown timer ticking down to when that party gets started.
Last night I played a little bit of Choice Chamber, a 2D platformer where the parameters of the game are decided by polling the audience watching on Twitch. Which weapon will you have to fight the enemies before you, a sword or a hammer? How high can you jump when faced with flying foes? These options are voted for on the fly as the people opt for the most exciting outcome. Or, at least, the one that'll garner the funniest reaction from the poor bastard sat gawping at the screen on Twitch.
Outside of the novelty of the premise – roughly ten people were watching and no doubt turning against me, on Twitch, as I played through a few screens – it's a straightforward 2D hack-and-slash game with only jumping and attacking as commands. But having your fate in the hands of the audience is a genuinely refreshing idea with an unpredictable element of social experimentation. You're always able to see the three variables being voted on in the top right-hand corner of the screen, and the result no doubt makes you question the way you're perceived by the viewers. Honestly, if I was watching me pull my concentration face on Twitch, I'd probably engineer my own death too.
All week long, we're peering ahead to what the future holds for the PC gaming industry. Not just the hardware and software in our rigs, but how and where we use them, and how they impact the games we play. Here's part two of our five-part series; stay tuned all week for more from the future of PC gaming.
The future of PC gaming is online. So is the present, actually—Twitch livestreams and massive League of Legends tournaments are already integral pieces of the PC gaming community. As the audiences for livestreams and eSports surge over the next few years, our broadband infrastructure's going to be hard-pressed to keep up. Here's our look at what the future holds for online gaming: bigger and better eSports, the culture of livestreaming, and the slow spread of fiber Internet that could hold us back from our gigabit dreams.
Net neutrality taking a beating isn't going to stop you from playing Battlefield, or prompt restrictive bandwidth caps overnight that make it harder to download games from Steam. Tuesday's decision likely won't affect your day-to-day gaming at all.
But net neutrality is still something you should care about. If you've ever streamed a game on Twitch, followed an amazing speedrunning event like Awesome Games Done Quick, or watched a YouTube archive of a world record solo eggplant run in Spelunky, Tuesday's ruling could impact elements of the PC gaming community you care about.
If you've had eyes lately, you may have noticed that quite a lot of people enjoy streaming videos of themselves playing Minecraft. It's, like, the reason the internet was invented. Soon, streaming videos of yourself playing Minecraft will become a little easier, as Mojang have partnered with video giants Twitch to integrate streaming into the game itself. The news was just announced at Minecon, which is totally going on this weekend in the blocky, procedurally generated city of Orlando.
During an Nvidia event held today, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang discussed a new feature that’ll supposedly make your amazing, video game-related exploits all the more believable to your dubious friends: ShadowPlay.
If you enjoy watching live speed runs, tournaments, Let’s Plays, or basically any type of videogame-related streaming, chances are you’re spending some time on Twitch. If that’s the case, you might want to mute that stream that’s running in the background, because the service is getting some major changes to its transcode.
As the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series works its way towards the Season 2 finals, a new subscription option has become available for the most enthusiastic supporters among us. What's being called the "premium subscription" gets you the top viewing resolutions through Twitch as well as a group of unique emoticons to supplement your fierce commentary in chat, according to a press release.
The next game to haul itself onboard the Twitch livestream bandwagon is Path of Exile. The ARPG will allow streaming from within the client, Twitch chat—the whole shebang.