A pair of former Apple execs are looking to muscle in on Twitch's territory with a new "social broadcasting" platform called Caffeine that they say will dramatically simplify the process of online streaming.
"Our goal was to re-imagine every aspect of live broadcasting—ignoring the good things we could do and focusing on the really great things instead," Caffeine CEO Ben Keighran, formerly the product design lead for Apple TV, said.
"We are committed to building the best experience for creators, giving them everything they need, from the broadcasting software all the way through to how the audience discovers and enjoys their content. We have put together a world-class engineering and content team that will transform the way the world thinks about live broadcasting."
Caffeine promises gameplay and webcam streaming with real-time, lag-free interactions, but the big hook appears to be the promise of simplicity enabled by its suite of built-in tools and overlays—no external software or overly-technical configurations required—and more interestingly, the commitment to creating a "safe and friendly community," an element that's sometimes in short supply on other platforms.
"Caffeine is a social broadcasting platform, meaning that people, not content, are at the center of the experience. Users find content because of the people they follow in their social circles, and come together to experience that content," the company said. "That means, there are no endless feeds of meaningless comments —personal conversations with friends and creators are given preference, enabling more meaningful social engagements while disposing of toxic chatter."
It's a tough market to break into, dominated as it is by Twitch and YouTube, and Facebook's recent efforts to carve out its own space is only going to make things more crowded. But if Caffeine's developers can figure out how to build it into a viably monetizable streaming platform while avoiding the toxicity that can make watching livestreams such a challenge, it might have a shot. Caffeine will officially launch sometime in the first half of 2018.