Twitch began its life as one of many channels on the streaming video service Justin.tv. But the video-game vertical quickly became bigger than the service that spawned it, and spun off into its own business. Today Sony announced that Twitch will be built directly into the new PlayStation 4, allowing users to broadcast their games live by simply clicking the share button on their controller.
"Five or six years ago it was a real pain in the ass to stream from home," says Rod Breslau, who has been competing, casting, and covering the world of eSports for over a decade. "You needed a capture card; video cameras were more expensive, and there was a lot of complex software."
Twitch has become the industry's platform of choice for streaming video games
Today's announcement follows the news from June that Twitch will be built in to the Xbox One. "With Twitch being integrated into the newest generation of consoles, anyone, even with no technical sophistication, can be playing a game, and with the press of a button be broadcasting their action live," says Breslau. "That is a huge sea change in terms of streaming video games."
On PCs, Twitch competes with platforms like YouTube Live and Ustream, which is also integrated into the new PlayStation. Twitch is the streaming platform of choice for the major pro tournaments put on by Blizzard, Riot, and Valve, but integration with the major consoles allows Twitch to connect with more casual users. The company currently hosts more than 600,000 broadcasters each month, streaming their live games to an audience of over 38 million unique viewers.