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Since our start, we’ve been hard at work connecting gamers around the world, and we continue to deliver on that mission. Today we’re excited to announce three new points of presence (POPs) in Asia, as well as expanding our event presence to more international gaming shows.
3 New POPs: Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea
After widening our presence and strengthening our quality of service in the US and Europe over the past few years, we made a concerted effort to provide the best Twitch experience to our many broadcasters and viewers in Asia. We’re proud to announce completion of three new POPs in Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea!
This in addition to recent upgrades in Europe (London, Frankfurt, Stockholm, and Amsterdam), and new or upgraded POPs in the U.S. (Seattle, Chicago, Miami, and San Jose, California).
Expanded International Event Presence
In addition to our continued presence at gamescom 2015 from Cologne, Germany, this year we’ll be dropping booths for the first time at PAX Australia, Electronic Game Show in Mexico, and Tokyo Game Show in Japan. All of these events will feature a stage for publishers and developers to showcase their games to audiences around the world and feature hosts from Twitch and the broader broadcasting community.
As you may have already heard, we’re beginning to roll out a redesign of our video player on web.
We are happy to announce we’ve added significant server capacity to our transcode infrastructure.
To provide the best possible viewing experience, Twitch provides transcodes – High, Medium, and Low quality options – on our most popular channels. Without these options, every viewer would be forced to watch the exact same video stream. And because download speeds vary by ISP and individual, broadcasters using a single stream must choose between a stream which is too bandwidth intensive for everyone to watch smoothly, or broadcast at a low bitrate.
Since the dawn of the time, our users have yearned to connect to chat using HTML5 instead of Flash – we’re pleased to announce this is now a reality. HTML5 chat is rolling out today.
With our shiny new WebSockets chat implementation, you’ll experience:
- Speed: Chat loads nearly 4x faster on average
- Efficiency: Chat uses fewer CPU resources, especially in busy chat rooms
- The Future: This is a big step towards a complete HTML5 Twitch experience
Now you can send private chat messages without leaving your current chat.
Whisper to friends, followers, and subscribers to chat privately one-on-one across all of Twitch. Your whisper will show up in-line with the rest of chat on web and mobile apps no matter what channel you’re on. If you’re watching Lirik and your friend is watching MANvsGAME, you can still whisper to him/her as long as you are both online. But only you and the user you’re whispering to will be able to see the conversation.
Twitch is the 4th largest stream of data on the internet.1)Study by Deepfield original published in Wall Street Journal (paywall :/). Gamespot syndicated article. Conclusion: People really like watching each other play video games.
I’ve always been curious about how people find content on Twitch, so I dug into the discovery process in aggregate. The most striking result I found is the terrible performance of sessions (See: Appendix) that start on offline channel pages. Broadcasters get almost nothing from a third of their hard earned direct traffic, because their channel is offline. If you follow a link to a Twitch channel, the broadcaster could easily be sleeping. In contrast Tweets provide a consistent destination; tweets are only offline if Twitter is down.
It’s no surprise, then, that “broadcast more” is one of our most common pieces of advice for growing your audience on Twitch. I recommend broadcasters take advantage of Host Mode 2)Host Mode release blog post. Drew Harry’s post on who hosts who. to keep their channel live. Part of my motivation for this post is that broadcasters cannot see the size of this problem from the dashboard.
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Beginning today, all broadcasters will have the option to reduce stream delay on their broadcasts via an on-off toggle in Settings. Enabling this feature reduces delay on average by 33%.
How have we reduced the delay? We’ve successfully cut the video segment size from four seconds to two seconds, which decreases the amount of video that is stored in the processing pipeline. If you’re a broadcaster who spends a lot of time interacting with chat, this new reduced delay option means you’ll spend less time waiting for replies.
Today, we’re releasing a new way to submit an appeal if you believe one of your videos has been incorrectly flagged by our Audio Recognition system.
The new functionality will initially be available to all members of the Twitch Partner Program and non-partner broadcasters whose videos are in HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) format, which is roughly 25% of non-partner broadcasters. We are in the process of storing all newly created VODs in HLS format rather than Flash Video (FLV) format. (How can you tell if your videos are in HLS or FLV? Check the VOD URL. HLS VODs will have /v/ in the URL; FLV will have /b/.)
For those broadcasters not included in the introductory rollout, the Audio Recognition appeal process will function as it currently does today. All broadcasters will still be able to appeal a muted VOD regardless of format.
Twitch has grown so quickly this year that it’s hard to keep track of all the amazing subgroups and communities that call Twitch home. To illustrate this, our Science team has recently been building visual maps of the Twitch world and we’re thrilled to share them with you!
NOTE: Visualization and layout were completed using an open source tool called Gephi. Click any image to enlarge.
In this map, each circle is a specific channel on Twitch. The lines between channels represent the amount of overlap between the audiences of those channels; each time a specific viewer watched two different channels during the time period this data draws from, it makes the connection between those channels a little stronger. Because we’re only drawing on a short time period in December, not all channels are represented here, and sizing only approximates activity in that time period.
[Note from Support: You may have noticed some craziness overnight with sub notifications in chat. That was directly related to this feature. We apologize for not giving a proper warning before pushing this to production.]
Declare your loyalty by letting everyone in chat know how long you’ve been a subscriber! When you’ve renewed a channel subscription, or entered a subsequent month of a bulk subscription, you’ll be prompted to share the news with your community in chat when the channel is live.
Introducing Theater Mode – a new way to maximize your viewing experience on Twitch. Theater Mode lets you full-screen the video player without losing chat and features an easy-on-the-eyes black background.
We know it’s true: Notifications have been notoriously difficult to manage and update. But that’s about to change. Now, you can conveniently subscribe or unsubscribe to email notifications directly from a channel page. No more hunting through your Settings to find the channel you want to receive Notifications from.
On October 22 at 8am PDT/11am EDT/4pm BST, we will perform site maintenance for approximately 5-15 minutes. During this maintenance window, note the following experience:
- If you’re already connected to the site and broadcasting or viewing, your experience should not be affected. However, navigating away from the page you’re on will result in seeing the maintenance page.
- If you’re not connected or attempt to navigate around the site, you’ll see the maintenance page. Connections include logins, broadcast attempts, and API requests.
We’ll send reminders before the maintenance at ~48 hours and ~24 hours, respectively. Follow @TwitchSupport on Twitter for the latest updates.
London POP Upgraded 1500%!
We’d like to take this chance to inform you that we’ve upgraded our London Point of Presence (POP) a full 1500% of previous capacity. (Yes, 1500%!) We hope you’ll set your phasers to fun and turn up your flux capacitors to 1.21 jigawatts.
Hey broadcasters and partners! Now that we’ve built out our internal statistics pipeline, broadcaster and partner dashboards will see some changes over the coming months. Next up for improvement are subscriber and per-broadcast stats, which will give the broadcaster (you!) more insight into how individual broadcasts are performing; we’ll be tracking when you change broadcast details and pairing up your stats with them.
Before we get to the improvements, we’ve moved over some resource-intensive charts to our internal stats system:
- Concurrent Viewers
- Max Concurrent Viewers
- Time Watched
- Time Broadcast
By October 1, 2014, we will permanently close our Chicago Point of Presence (POP). We will update again near actual time of closure.
We thank you for your understanding. We continue to work on additional POPs and increased capacity around the globe.