The developers behind popular game streaming service Twitch are turning their focus toward mobile users this year after successfully becoming one of the primary hubs for professional eSports events, VP of marketing and communications Matt DiPietro told Polygon.
DiPietro confirmed to us that 30 percent of Twitch viewers are watching streams from their mobile devices and the company aims to reach feature parity across iOS, Android, Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems.
"eSports is a very big piece of this company and it's one thing that catapulted video streaming into the place we are now at today," said DiPietro. "It's very, very important to us. When we launched three years ago at E3 in 2011 we were seeing around 5 million unique viewers per month, and now we're seeing around 45 million."
The company recently introduced its new audio-only app to iOS devices which has been in development over the last few months, says DiPietro. The feature is activated from the video options menu in the video players. When activated, the broadcast will continue to play when users tap the device's power button. From the lock screen, users may pause the playback, adjust the volume, and view broadcast information. There is also a toggle to have the Twitch app automatically switch to audio only mode when the device is locked. The aim, says DiPietro, is to recreate the experience of "listening to a ball game on the radio."
This increase in viewers has resulted in a difficult road for the company on the technological end, he adds, saying: "It's very tough, very complicated."
Despite the inherent tech obstacles, however, he maintains Twitch is in a better position to deal with a huge influx in viewers and streamers than most video streaming companies.
"There's about 130 people in the office who are mostly engineers. Luckily when we first launched, we were very forward thinking. We built all of our own infrastructure and have 15 data centres globally. Other video streaming sites use third party content delivery sites."
Twitch is currently working on bringing the new audio-only app to Android devices. While DiPietro didn't offer a firm date on its launch on Android, he says its developers are working hard to bring it out soon.
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