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Twitch is reducing the delay in streaming games, but it may not be for everyone

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Twitch is giving broadcasters the ability to reduce the delay in broadcasting games on the streaming service by an average of 33 percent, according to an email the company sent to its partners today. Twitch says it's testing the reduced delay to measure its impact, and that the option may not be ideal for everyone.

"With reduced delay, you'll spend less time waiting for replies and more time engaging with your community," the company said in an email.

"It's important to know that reduced delay does come at a small quality of service cost — particularly to viewers with poor internet connections," the email warns. "Some viewers may experience changes in playback, with shorter, more frequent buffering times. Because less video is queued on a viewer's computer, they will be more susceptible to variations in download bandwidth, and may experience more interruptions in service while video buffers. Rather than require every channel to switch to the reduced delay option, we're leaving it up to you to decide what is best for you and your community."

The new feature is scheduled to roll out tomorrow, May 14, when the world might see Twitch Plays Pokémon speed runs start to happen just a bit faster.

Update: An earlier version of this story said that the "reduce stream delay" option was only for Twitch partners. A representative for Twitch said the feature is available to all streamers in an email to Polygon. This post has been updated to reflect that clarification. More information about the new option is available on Twitch's blog.

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