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Netflix of video games: Twitch coming to PS4

Wed, 08/21/2013 - 1:20pm
The Associated Press

Twitch is another step closer to becoming the Netflix of the video game world.

The popular video game footage streaming service will be available on Sony's next-generation PlayStation 4 when it's released Nov. 15 in the U.S. and Canada. By tapping the new "share" button on the PS4 controller, users will be able to broadcast gameplay directly to Twitch. Microsoft announced similar Twitch integration earlier this year for its upcoming Xbox One.

"We've been clear with all our partners that we love gaming and the gaming industry, and we think our reason for being as a company is to be the ubiquitous platform," said Emmett Shear, co-founder and CEO of Twitch. "For us, it was really important to be able to work with every platform because Twitch is something that every gamer should have access to."

Twitch, originally part of the streaming video site Justin.tv, was spun off in 2011 and has become one of the most popular ways for gamers to share footage online. Currently, more than 600,000 broadcasters — ranging from everyday "Minecraft" builders to professional "League of Legends" players — are watched by more than 38 million viewers a month.

Over the past two years, Twitch has transformed into an ESPN for video games. The site's live and recorded broadcasts include comically narrated clips of game footage, streamed matches from seasoned e-sports veterans and so-called "speed runs" — clips of players plowing through mostly old-school games in record time. There are also commercials. Lots of them.

Shear said he expects the number of Twitch broadcasters to grow exponentially with PS4 and Xbox One integration. He also anticipates that game publishers and e-sports organizers will more readily stream content with Twitch because it won't require any additional technology, such video capture hardware, because it's all built into next-gen systems.

"If you go back to the beginning of video games and look at pictures of people in arcades, most of them aren't actively playing a game," said Shear. "They're standing there watching and waiting their turn, but they're having a good time watching. I think that type of spectating has always been and continues to be a big part of video game culture."

Sony Corp. previously announced that the PS4 would allow users to share gameplay experiences on the social networking site Facebook and video streaming service Ustream. Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp. demonstrated streaming a match from the "Killer Instinct" fighting game on Xbox One with Twitch during its Electronic Entertainment Expo presentation in June.

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