Twitch, PS4 integration sets up greater growth for streaming gameplay

August 20, 2013

Sony announced Tuesday that players will be able to stream and share whatever they’re playing straight from their PlayStation 4 to the social game site Twitch. The announcement, which came during Sony’s presentation at the industry Gamescom conference in Germany, means that the service will be available on both next-generation consoles set to release this holiday season and could ignite even greater growth in the world of social, streaming gameplay.

PlayStation 4 users will be able to share their gameplay videos to Twitch, which lets gamers broadcast what they’re playing to friends on its network. The feature will be available at launch. Microsoft had previously announced this capability for the Xbox One at June’s Electronic Entertainment Expo.

According to Twitch, the company has seen strong growth even ahead of the next-generation console launches, with 600,000 unique broadcasters posting to the site last month alone. That number is poised to grow. Based on the projected reach of Sony’s and Microsoft’s consoles, Twitch estimates that it will now have its platform in about half of American households.

Matt DiPietro, Twitch’s head of marketing, said that players will be able to show off their gameplay by simply hitting the “share” button on the PS4 controllers.

“The ability has never been as available,” he said. “It was more a really hard-core activity. Now that it’s going to be on the two major consoles in the market, it has the potential to just explode.”

The streaming should work for any game that runs on the PlayStation 4, DiPietro said.

DiPietro said that Twitch, which recently released a developer’s kit to make it easier to add title-specific streaming features, is seeing developers eager to build more sharing features into their games to enrich the community that springs up around individual titles.

For example, racing games may want to let players search on Twitch for the best times on a given course or let users share bits of their own games as part of a contest.

Developers, DiPietro said, are “now designing games to be watched as a spectator; they’re designing it to be more broadcasting-friendly.”

He said that he hopes offering one-click integration for Twitch will make sharing streaming gameplay as natural as sharing things over social networks on the Web.

“An analogy I like to use is to remember what the Web was like before Facebook and the Facebook button,” he said. “Our ambition is to be that for games.”

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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