In an email sent by Twitch to members on June 10, they announced an exclusive partnership with Xbox One in the form of allowing Xbox One’s Gold Live members to not only stream Twitch livestreams, but also broadcast directly from the device. The streaming service, which is very popular with gamers, finds itself competing with Ustream, who recently partnered with Sony to bring a similar feature to the PS4. The Ustream service is more like Twitch’s father service, Justin.TV, in that it is a more generic streaming site, rather than being focused on gaming.
So does this partnership help Microsoft’s case in the wave of criticism it’s been getting from the gamers and media?
In recent E3 presentations, Sony has effectively gone on the offensive, attacking everything about the Xbox One that they could think of. They made a satirical how to video in which they showed how to share discs with friends (the video makes a big deal about how you can simply give your friend the disc to play). In recent interviews though, Microsoft spokespeople made it clear that this was also doable with the Xbox One, given the device it’s installed on isn’t on and playing the same game. If people are following the copyright laws in the first place, there would not be an issue.
That’s beside the point, however.
The point is that if the Xbox One is viewed as just a gaming console, it will be seen as expensive and loaded with useless features that take up space and ruin the gaming experience. However, if it’s seen as an all around entertainment system, it has a lot going for it. The Twitch integration just adds a bit more for the gamers who will be making use of the device. Microsoft is attempting to widen its audience a bit, while Playstation is focusing on the hardcore, don’t-do-anything-but-play-games market. It’s becoming hard to compare the devices. Sure, they both play games, but they also do a wide range of other things as well. Their predecessors may have presided in the same market, and the next gen devices may intersect in markets as well, but comparing the devices straight up is like comparing a GT car to an RV. Sure, the GT car can do one thing well, but the RV can do several things effectively.
In answering the original question, I do think that Twitch integration on the device will help Microsoft in the long run. People who enjoy streaming and console gaming will very much like the fact that they can stream directly. One issue I see with it though, is whether or not there will be options for face capture and other scene modification. That is something that PC users have been able to do in the PC game streaming, and even console streaming through PC capture cards. If the Twitch service is offered as half-baked as the streaming service on the Xbox 360, it may not be all it could be.