Three months after the launch of PlayStation 4 and the initial excitement about Twitch streaming is starting to wane. While grainy, poor quality streams have ensured there’s been little point tuning in to watch gamers play titles such as Killzone: ShadowFall or Battlefield 4, which look fantastic in full HD, the lack of an archive feature has meant that bloggers, websites and those who want to create helpful or entertaining videos for long-term viewing have been put off.
Yet, during March’s Xbox One update, gamers will immediately be able to stream at high quality and archive their streams. During a recent Xbox One Twitter test, where a Reddit user streamed footage of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare he was able to broadcast on Xbox One at 1280x70, in comparison to PS4’s 960x540. With a number of games on PS4 running at a higher resolution than Xbox One, this surely shouldn’t be the case.
Though Twitch and Sony would probably argue the fact, what has happened with the PS4 Twitch app is many of the hundreds of thousands of Twitch users who streamed in the initial weeks of launch have given up. After all, what’s the point of streaming when people aren’t tuning in, probably because of low quality footage? And, where’s the incentive for users to create interesting and engaging content when they can’t then archive that footage? Surely, Sony should have waited to launch the Twitch app when it was actually ready?
Recently, VP of Marketing at Twitch, Matthew DiPietro, chose some very specific dates (during the holidays) to showcase just how well the streaming service was doing on PS4. “Between December 23, 2013, and January 3, 2014, 20% of Twitch’s broadcasters were from the PlayStation 4,” he tells us in a press release. But, what about after that, what about right now? A quick look on the PS4 Twitch app will show you that there’s still a fair amount of streams, nowhere near (we’d suggest) 20 percent of Twitch’s user base, but there’s very few people watching them.
Dozens of times we’ve tuned into a stream, only to leave shortly after because of latency issues. We currently have our own Twitch channel called PSULive, which we continue to stream from, though not as frequently as we initially planned. The lack of an archiving function has put us off producing lots of content, such as boss battle guides or walkthroughs, because there simply isn’t enough people tuning in to make it worthwhile, while the lack of an archive function means that there’s no way for people to keep coming back to enjoy the content.
The issue clearly lies with Sony and not Twitch - as it was the PlayStation creator who developed the app - yet Sony has been totally quiet on the problems, with the last word being back in November when it promised to “add livestream archiving” in the future. With Xbox One also seemingly getting an advantage in terms of stream quality, it’s time for Sony to get its finger out and take a urgent look at its app before it’s too late, otherwise, at this rate, it’s going to be Xbox One games that people will be tuning into.
It makes us wonder: why didn't Sony just wait to launch the Twitch app when it was actually fully ready?