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Twitch Plays Pokemon causing chat problems across the service

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Twitch is working to fix issues with its chat system caused by the strain of online game phenomenon Twitch Plays Pokemon, according to a post on the Twitch blog.

In Twitch Plays Pokemon, thousands of players try to control Trainer Red in a stream of Pokemon Red, inputting commands one at a time via the streaming service's chat feature. Users have been reporting chat lag or missing messages in streams unconnected to Twitch Plays Pokemon, which recently hit the 100,000 peak concurrent users mark.

Jason Maestas, Twitch director of customer experience, wrote in the post that Twitch acknowledges these issues are connected to Twitch Plays Pokemon and is working to fix them.

On Sunday, the service moved the Twitch Plays Pokemon channel off its general chat servers and onto a dedicated event server, typically reserved for large-scale events like the League of Legends League Championship Series. While this helped some, Maestas said some problems have persisted, necessitating a full review of Twitch's chat system to fix "fundamental issues."

"The unique nature and huge chat participation in the Twitch Plays Pokemon experiment has put enormous (and unforeseen) stress on our chat system," Maestas wrote. "We're always working on improving the QoS of our chat system, and this has been a wonderful learning experience for us."

Late yesterday, the stream's creator tweaked the game to be more "beatable," adding a start button throttle that prevents spammed start button inputs and allows players to make better progress. Check out our interview with Twitch Plays Pokemon's creator here, and watch us discuss just what the phenomenon is here.