This morning, Jagex announced it has added Twitch integration to its highly popular MMO, RuneScape.
As a result, players can now broadcast their sessions through the leading video streaming platform – but why is this even important for a games developer to do?
To find out more about the use of Twitch, its integration into games and the benefits of getting viewers involved in a game's development, we spoke to RuneScape VP Phil Mansell.
Why integrate Twitch directly into the game?
We wanted to remove the technical obstacles of live streaming to potential future streamers. Streaming is huge in gaming and Twitch is leading the way. It also gives more visibility to our existing streamers who may now pick up some new fans.
The project has been pretty straightforward. We have been working with Twitch to ensure the most user friendly integration possible and we think we have achieved that. We wanted to offer players flexibility on their streaming quality and bandwidth usage so they can really offer the best stream possible.
How much support did you receive from Twitch?
They were excellent both in terms of initial guidance, final review and then post launch promotion. We plan to work with them much closer moving forward.
Why do you think Twitch is growing in popularity within gaming?
Gaming is always better with friends and Twitch allows for solo gaming to become a more group activity. Gaming has already exploded on YouTube with players watching “professional” gamer videos to try and garner tips and tricks at their favourite games. Twitch lets this happen in real-time and viewers can now ask questions directly to players they look up to.
But viewers are also tuning into live streams for the entertainment value too; whether it’s the comedy commentary provided by a great broadcaster, watching someone frightened out of their chair by a horror game or the experiencing the drama of the final minutes of an eSports tournament.
Should all games integrate Twitch or does it only suit certain genres, e.g. MMO, FPS, etc?
There is a wide variety of games now being streamed on Twitch and I expect that will only continue. To break into the Top 20, I do think the key is to have well established massive communities. MMOs and MOBAs such as RuneScape, Minecraft and League of Legends are hugely popular but we see new games such as Wildstar break into the list during their launch last month. The key is building a real fan following after that initial burst.
Would you encourage other studios to integrate Twitch? Why/why not?
I would. Twitch is now the most used live streaming site in America and with over 50 million unique viewers, there is a huge pool of avid gamers looking for content to watch and your game could be what their looking for. Live streaming provides the opportunity for building huge communities.
What role will Twitch and video streaming play in the future of video games? Do you think it will have any impact on development and the decisions made during development?
I think Twitch will play a massive role in development. Twitch gives players the ability to watch, join in and engage in real time. Developers can now receive instant feedback from thousands of users throughout their development process. I fully expect more games to be developed side by side with players directly through Twitch. There is no need to guess what players want anymore – you can just ask them.