It's been months since Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) released the Xbox One and Sony (NYSE:SNE) dropped the PlayStation 4. In all that time, only PlayStation owners have been able to take advantage of the new console's tie-in with Twitch.tv. On Tuesday, Twitch announced that the Xbox was finally going to have its day of glory, and on March 11, Twitch broadcasting is coming to the console.
Twitch is an online platform for video gamers to stream themselves playing video games. Imagine if ESPN were run by athletes. Sometimes the audio doesn't work, sometimes the person you're watching is simply horrible, and sometimes you discover a video-gaming LeBron James who loves video production, too. Within weeks of the PlayStation's launch, Twitch's number of broadcasters jumped, with 20% streaming on the new console. The addition of the Xbox should be very interesting.
Preparing for Titanfall
On March 11, Twitch is going to be a very busy place. That's the day Titanfall launches for the Xbox One, and it will be the day Xbox owners can stream for the first time. For the uninitiated, Titanfall is a first-person-perspective shooting and robot-driving game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA). To say that early reviews have been favorable is like saying that Warren Buffett is rich -- true, but it still fails to capture something.
The game targets part of Twitch's core member base, as well. It's geared toward highly competitive players and set in a beautiful landscape, making for excellent viewing. Microsoft's version of the Twitch app will use the console's Kinect camera to include video streaming for players, and it will be activated through the Xbox voice command system.
Microsoft's take on Twitch
Microsoft gives users a slightly expanded version of what PlayStation users are getting. On the Xbox One, Twitch chat will include more lines of chat than on the PlayStation, and users will have the option to form private rooms for voice chat outside of the public Twitch broadcast. While those little details are more PR notes than anything else, the addition of Twitch should be good news for Xbox One sales.
Up to this point, the PlayStation 4 has reportedly outsold the Xbox One. Some analysts have called the Xbox a failure in light of the sales discrepancy, though it's hard to call a product that's sold millions of units worldwide a total failure. One of the distinguishing features of the PlayStation has been that, up to this point, it was the more social machine. The addition of Twitch to the Xbox takes that bullet point off the list.
Obviously, the biggest winner here is Twitch. The Xbox and PlayStation are going to live and die on the games they offer and the experience they provide, not on a single app. For Twitch, it means millions of console users will now be just a sentence -- "Xbox, broadcast" -- away from adding their content to the site. That should bring in more viewers, more streamers, and more ad revenue. More than the year of the next-generation console, 2014 is shaping up to be the year of Twitch.