Twitch Plays Pokemon suggests the service could evolve into a games platform

The popularity of social experiments like the Twitch Plays Pokemon group-think play through suggest that broadcasting service Twitch could evolve into its own games platform, according to Twitch vice president of marketing Matthew DiPietro.

Speaking with MCV, DiPietro said Twitch Plays Pokemon — which amassed enough participants to disrupt messaging systems across the service last week — has garnered enough attention and inspired a number of similar-run spin-offs to prove the platform may be viable for developers to make games for.

"It has delivered a huge and sustained audience for days on end and captivated the attention of the entire Twitch community," DiPietro said. "The incredibly high volume of chat activity has helped us to hone our chat system to deal with massive loads like we're experiencing. It has also made us all think deeply about creative social experiments that can be done on Twitch. This is one of the most interesting things we've seen on Twitch since we launched, and we hope to see more experiments like it."

Twitch Plays Pokemon utilizes commands input by thousands of viewers to control Trainer Red in a streamed version of Pokemon Red. The game hit the 100,000 peak concurrent users mark last week and met two of its major in-game goals just earlier this week: beating all eight gym leaders and reviving the much-celebrated Helix Fossil. Players have also crowdsourced a Google site to monitor progress and discuss Red's next moves.

Since launch two weeks ago, Twitch Plays Pokemon has been viewed almost 30 million times, according to DiPietro. He said this influx of viewers and attention from press could change how game developers view Twitch.

"You never know," DiPietro said. "Twitch Plays Pokémon is an interesting proof-of-concept though. We encourage everyone to think about new ways to leverage Twitch's platform and community for creative gaming endeavors.

"This is unique in the history of Twitch. And when you consider how game developers might capitalize on features and functionality like this, the sky is the limit."

Read our interview with the anonymous programmer behind Twitch Plays Pokemon for details on the project's origin. Polygon also spoke with DiPietro about Twitch's recently-announced plans to launch on Xbox One and the future of streaming on both Microsoft's next-gen console and Sony's PlayStation 4.

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