Give gamers some content, and they’ll watch it. Give gamers a way to make their own content, and they will. And how.
Two months after its release, streaming service Twitch announced that PlayStation 4 users were now responsible for 20% of all the broadcasts on its service. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, Twitch’s move to integrate itself into the PS4 has paid off. Of the top 10 web properties by peak U.S. traffic, Twitch now ranks 4th.
That puts it ahead of Facebook and Amazon. Only Netflix, Google, and Apple scored higher.
Put that down in part to the “Share” button right on the PS4’s control. Gamers can fire up their own Twitch broadcast just by pressing a few buttons and share their gameplay complete with voiceover narration. If they have a camera connected to their console, they can broadcast live from their living room. A quick look through the console’s “Live from PlayStation” tab shows hundreds of people doing just that.
Xbox One lets gamers upload video directly to YouTube, but its Twitch integration won’t go live until an unspecified future release. Once that happens, it’s likely Twitch’s peak traffic will see yet another significant bump.
Pulling and uploading game footage isn’t exactly new — witness the legion of “Let’s Play” videos on YouTube — but making those videos involved special setups and extra equipment. Not anymore. It’s built into the gaming systems themselves. Every gamer is a content creator now.
And given that opportunity, gamers are taking advantage of it.
Clearly, the next-gen consoles have tapped into a core piece of user behavior. People want to share what they’re doing, or they want to be famous, or they want to simply express themselves to anyone willing to listen. Gamers have opinions, and frequently aren’t shy about expressing them. Now they can tap a button, go on Twitch, and show how awesome they are, or smack-talk a game they hate, or geek out over a game they love. Or just broadcast themselves sitting on the couch drinking beer, which also happens a good portion of the time.
So no, the next gaming superstar personality hasn’t been located yet. But people are engaging…not only as broadcasters, but as viewers, too. Even the couch-sitting beer-drinkers have an audience. People are getting what they want out of it, and Twitch is riding that wave of interest and self-interest.
It’s not perfect yet, of course. Twitch streams from PS4 don’t archive, so once a gamer shuts down, all is lost. That said, the strategy has more than proven itself. Enable your customer. Sit back. Watch what happens. And so far, millions of people are watching exactly that.