Twitch Streaming On Consoles is a Much Bigger Deal Than I Imagined

At first, I was a skeptic.

When Sony and Microsoft both made game streaming and sharing a major part of their new console pitches and sales presentations for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, I thought it would be a total waste of resources. I game alone. I don’t share my conquests, and I didn’t think I’d ever want to.

Twitch on Xbox One

Then the PlayStation 4 released. I got Twitch to send me a password change email for the account I created and then forgot about a year or so ago. I logged in, set all the proper dials on my console and streamed my play through the campaign in Killzone: Shadow Fall.

Now, I’m not a heavy streamer. I don’t do it everyday or even every week. But, ever since that first time I tried it on the PlayStation 4, I’ve been streaming game content a lot more than I ever thought I would.

I streamed some of my time with The Banner Saga on PC, Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare on the Xbox One. I had to stream all those with special equipment and programs. None of them happen as quickly and easily as on the PlayStation 4.

And the release of the streaming side of Twitch is set to hit the Xbox One this coming week. Microsoft and Twitch lined the launch of their streaming capabilities up with the drop date for Titanfall, a fantastic decision for an otherwise bogus delay if you ask me.

If streaming media on the Xbox One is as easy as it is in this video directly above, or as easy as it is on the PlayStation 4, we’re about to hit an awesome era in gaming.

Gaming is getting more social than it’s ever been in the past. Yes, I miss the crap out of couch co-op with my friends; however, the trade-off for going online exclusively lately has been a broader community of friends. I’m not talking about the randoms you meet in a multiplayer match and group up with for the next few weeks of play. I’m talking about the friends you make on Twitch and follow onto Twitter and Facebook. Gaming friends have gone from people you see in-game only to people you virtually hang out with on social media channels.

I have more gaming friends now than I have ever had in my life, and I’ve only physically met, maybe, a dozen of them. Twitch has only made that number grow, and its presence on home consoles has been a huge boon for the good kind of social gaming.

Twitch LogoI’ll also say, and I never figured I’d be hammering out these words on a keyboard, the fact that Twitch was missing from the Xbox One at launch is a pretty big problem for Microsoft. It’s coming now, and that’s great, but the PlayStation 4 has been enjoying a wealth of free community and advertising thanks to the Twitch feature at launch. Microsoft could have absolutely used that help.

Streaming on consoles is one of the semi-hidden biggest game changers for this generation. Fancy graphics, strong UIs and fresh inputs are all minor tweaks and changes from the last generation of machines. Streaming, though, is a huge turning point for gaming. It might not seem like it right now, but I genuinely think that social sharing integration is the most dynamic change for the new consoles.

And a huge part of that is how easy it’s become to stream. I can fire up my PlayStation 4, launch Resogun and stream my failure for the world to see in less than a few minutes right now. That’s amazing.

Streaming is something I never thought I’d do, and here I am excited that it exists on these new consoles. I think it’s huge for gaming.