My Interview with Emmett Shear, CEO of Twitch

I had the chance to chat with Emmett Shear, CEO of Twitch about the partnership we announced today at E3. Here is more information about the partnership, what Twitch offers gamers, and Shears’ favorite games.

Major Nelson (MN): What does Xbox One integration of Twitch mean for the future of live broadcasting?
Shear: This is our chance to break into the console space in a big way. To date, PC games have been the biggest things on Twitch, mostly because it’s incredibly difficult to broadcast console games today. The Xbox One integration means that Twitch users are going to be able to broadcast their console experiences even more easily than they can broadcast from PC. Live broadcasting your game is going to be for everyone in the future, not just people who can afford a capture card.

MN: What excites you most about coming to the Xbox platform, specifically Xbox One?
Shear: The Xbox One platform combines the best parts of console gaming with the best parts of PC gaming. Dedicated hardware for high level performance, combined with multitasking to run broadcasting and chat at the same time. The platform melds gaming with other activities in a way that we’ve never seen before. There’s no way we could have accomplished what we’re doing with the Xbox One on any other platform.

MN: In your wildest dreams, did you expect Twitch to blow up like it has over the last 18-24 months?

Shear: Well, probably in the wildest ones! In seriousness, I did not expect this amount of growth so fast. I always thought that game streaming was going to be big, but to see it take off the way it has is really gratifying. Of course as you grow you have all kinds of new, bigger, more interesting problems. So at the very least, it’s never boring!

MN: If I’m a gamer that has never experienced Twitch, how would you convince me that it is worthwhile?

Shear: It depends a lot on what kind of gamer you are. If you love Call of Duty multiplayer, Twitch offers you the chance to see some of the sickest kill streaks you’ve ever seen and watch tactics from the very best. If you love Minecraft worlds, Twitch lets you see all the mods you could be using and get inspiration for new creations. If you love League of Legends, Twitch is your chance to watch the top teams in the entire world battle for supremacy.

MN: What’s your favorite game to play?
Shear: I love all kinds of games. I’m kind of a game omnivore. Most recently I’ve actually been playing a lot of board games and card games. Magic: The Gathering, Small World, Coup. On the computer, usually Heart of the Swarm. My all-time most played game is almost certainly StarCraft: Broodwar. Close second to Super Smash Brothers.

MN: What’s your favorite game to watch other play?
Shear: Of course I enjoy watching games that I play, so Starcraft and Magic obviously rank highly. I actually love watching DOTA 2 and League of Legends as well, even though I don’t really play either. The strategic depth is really high and the games are super tense but it’s a genre I haven’t ever put the time in to learn myself.

MN: What has surprised you the most over the last 24 months?
Shear: The generosity of the Twitch community. I am continually surprised to see that not only will gamers on Twitch pull together to support each other and the broadcasters they love, they’ll find ways to support good causes around the world.

MN: Twitch is often associated with eSports, but there is a lot more being streamed than competitive gaming. Can you elaborate on what other types of content people are tuning in to Twitch to view?
Shear: While eSports is obviously an important part of what’s on Twitch, it’s actually a minority of the total content on the site. The other three major categories are educational, creative, and interactive content. Educational content is made from streams that people watch to learn from, like coaching or just detailed analytical commentary. Creative content is all about showing off exciting new things that people have figured out they can do in a game, stuff you never would have expected. And interactive content, the biggest set of content, is all about the viewer interacting with the streamer live in the middle of the stream. Obviously these categories can overlap, so you can have creative educational content, or interactive eSports content, but most things fall into one or the other.

MN: What has changed to make video games so popular among spectators?
Shear: Put simply: it’s now possible. Internet connections are fast enough and video encoding is widespread enough that it’s possible to create this content. Live video is a lot more bandwidth intensive than clip-based video, so it makes sense that it’s taking off later.

MN: What’s next for Twitch now that you’ve conquered the gaming space?
Shear: I wouldn’t say we’ve conquered the gaming space yet. We have a good start, but there’s a long way to go still. Until every single gamer on every platform knows they can catch the best gameplay and coolest new streams on Twitch, we’re not done.

*Available with supported games.

Comments

  • Ryan

    nothing worse than people who spend all day and night wasting their time playing video games, except of course people who would rather eatch other people play video games instead of playing them. Have fun with that super nerds.

    Like

    • Superman64

      You’re posting on a video game blog that only hardcore gamers know about. You are also a nerd.

      Like

      • Ryan

        you and your band of retards are beyond help. for one I said super nerd, therefore im also nothing so your point is invaild. Also someone can post on a video game blog, but find it funny that someone out there has nothing better to do than watch other people play video games. get off your pretenious white horse and come back down to reality. go head and cry about my opinion all you want, im not posting for anything other than to let it be known not to justify it, it has already been justified because I said it.

        Like

      • Superman64

        Get off my horse? Meanwhile…you come on here talking down to people judging them as if you are better than them. How about you get off your horse first. It’s also funny you would judge people for watching others play games, meanwhile…you troll websites apparently. What a great life you must have.

        Like

      • Superman64

        Wait…so I am on a “horse”…meanwhile you’re the one who came here looking down on others. How about you get off of your horse first. And you want to criticize other people for what they do with their free time, while you apparently troll websites in yours. Maybe you should reevaluate your life, super nerd.

        Like

      • Ryan

        your troll definition of the term troll i find amusing, so i reply in hopes of an equally retarded responce i can laugh at later, you can just keep justifing me without dignity.

        Like

    • Daniel Higgins

      You are a p o o f

      Like

      • Ryan

        spoken like a native

        Like

  • billy middleton

    anyone notice the xbox one RROD and the guy from EA go backstage and say “run the video”.
    toss in having an RL friend there who looked at the stage and saw the joypad connectors tied down onto the side of the cabinet, all of those presentations and “plays” were all staged.
    toss in that most of them were running on pc’s and NOT xbox one

    Like

  • Andy

    Any chance we might find out about the “rules” that we are required to follow just to play a game? Will Kinect be able to be unplugged? After all you say that you can turn it off so it serves no purpose being plugged in? What about rentals? Lending games to a friend?

    These were points that really should have had a 5 minute slot during the presentation.

    I can live with the price, even if it is a bit steep. But I will not be forced to effectively have CCTV in my living room and forced to pay over the odds for average games.

    Like

    • dibils

      omg this CCTV kinect watching you thing is so hilarious. i feel embarrassed for all of you

      if you are that worried wear a tinfoil hat, get rid of your mobile phones cause they can gather far more from your mobile then they ever could with kinect

      its literally pathetic reading comments on that

      Like

      • Shawn Springer

        Yeah.. Its not like the government hasnt been snooping on peoples xbox live account and social sites with emails.. OH yeah, it has happened. Your xbox one can be hacked and can be relayed info.

        Like

      • dibils

        yeah so can any device that ever connects to the internet lmao

        as i said if you are that paranoid go wear a tinfoil hat and live amongs other crazies

        Like

      • JoeGrahamcracker

        Tinfoil hat! Good one. You’re a loser.

        Like

      • Andy

        Its pretty irrelevant now anyway.

        Like

  • Hiya_tiger

    hold these Ls, MS division.

    Like

  • Sean Mccoy

    any news on ps4 used games

    Like

  • Bert

    What resolution will it be? 360p now…

    Like

  • ae69ae

    PS4 straight up copied the Xbox One designed. No one even clapped…

    Like

    • billy middleton

      everyone was like “WTF is this cr*p”
      its exactly the same with the exception of the slope on the front, but did you notice during the EA play of need for speed rivals they were using BOTH xbox and ps4 controllers ON A PC

      Like

  • xboxoneforlife

    Im laughing at the ps4 press conference right now. I can’t wait till the trolls come to major nelson blog. Microsoft does all of this conference but better hahaahahahahah

    Like

  • ae69ae

    PS4 conference is so boring! They’re doing the same thing Microsoft did.

    Like

  • Dylan

    Oddworld!!

    Like

  • Realmusik Recordz

    Watching the ps4 briefing and there game just lagged so bad they had to stop playing assassin creed… Lol embarrassing .. Omg .. Ps4 don’t run smooth … They have problems already.

    Like

    • Dylan

      True. But I doubt the One used real demos.

      They couldn’t even run the fake one, Battlefield 4 for a while.

      Watch dogs is running fine with live co-op.

      Like

      • Realmusik Recordz

        Someone was talking so they stopped it..battlefield looks nice on the one tho

        Like

      • Dylan

        Wasn’t that a pre-recorded trailer from a PC?

        Either way, did look nice.

        Like

  • Dylan

    NO ONLINE REQUIRED FOR PS4

    THEY LISTENED TO US!!!

    Like

    • huch

      No used game restrictions. Self published indie games. Headshot!

      Like

  • ae69ae

    It’s a Slap-fest at the Sony conference. Microsoft you better pull back on DRM or it’s over LOL

    Like

    • wrestlefan01

      sony just told consumers in a bad economy what they watned to hear.micro soft just gave those same consumers the finger.

      Like

  • Dylan

    SHOTS FIRED SHOTS FIRED
    Sony trash talks

    XBOX DOWN NEEDS MEDICAL ATTENTION

    Like

  • wrestlefan01

    Sony just announced there are no restrictions on PS4 games, used or
    otherwise or that they don’t need to be online to play or to
    authenticate or that it won’t stop working if you don’t play within 24
    hours. They just took a HUGE stab at Microsoft and the crowd roared the
    loudest due to those comments.

    microsoft just got taken to the wood shed.

    Like

    • GmailIsDown

      Sony did good today. They really did. PSN multiplayer is no longer free but who cares. We already get used to paying Gold to play online anyway.

      Like

    • Davide Auletta

      Please Microsoft. You have by far the best line up. Let me buy One instead of PS4 because I want badly to continue my love story with Xbox.

      There are four points now

      Mandatory Kinect

      499 Euro Price Tag

      DRM

      24Hr Online Check

      Please reconsider at least two or three of them and change strategy at Gamescom.

      No one will understand your philosophy, everyone looks always in their pockets and as a Xbox Fan I am speachless if I have to convince a friend about Why buy an Xbox One instead of PS4.

      Please, I love your games but please, please..Reconsider it!

      Like

    • Z4M0

      Loved Microsoft’s E3 but everything is coming to a console I don’t want. At all.

      Microsoft Reveal Event and ONE’s restriction suck so hard that Sony doesn’t even need no invest into innovation or anounce anything big or new but “no mandatory internet” and “no DRM”.

      Hope this stuff changes over time, otherwise… well just see how Microsoft stocks went down LOL. Once they realise they are losing money with this I bet we’ll see thing change at least a bit.

      Like

  • Realmusik Recordz

    Lagging again on destiny

    Like

    • Dylan

      No DRM! Who cares if it lags 6 months ahead of time!

      NO DRM!!!!

      Like

      • wrestlefan01

        ^ this

        Like

      • wrestlefan01

        not to mention you can let friends borrow games.with ps4 i own what i buy.with microsoft they own what i buy.screw microsoft.ps4 just flipped me over to their side tonight

        Like

  • Guest

    Xbox, GO HOME

    Like

  • Bobby B

    Cheaper too.

    Like

  • wrestlefan01

    oh yeah just announced it will only cost 399 dollars

    Like

  • Angry Consumer

    $399 PS4 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    Like

  • ae69ae

    Xbox One $500 with DRM, no used games, paid online vs PS4 $400, no DRM, used games, free online.

    Like

    • wrestlefan01

      no ps4 will be pay to play online but im used to that on xbox

      Like

      • Holymarine

        You don’t need playstation plus to play online on ps4, it just gives you more options to choose.

        Like

      • mightywombat

        They said you could play single player without PS+, online otherwise is not free for PS4

        Like

  • Dylan

    PS4
    NO DRM
    NO USED GAMES BLOCKING
    NO INTERNET REQUIRED
    $399!!!!!!

    I have a new home🙂

    Like

    • mightywombat

      Good you can stop posting here then.

      Also other things to take away:

      PS+ required for multiplayer

      FFXV and KH3 not exclusive

      $100 difference is basically the price of Kinect

      Like

      • Dylan

        Easy sacrifices for a console that doesn’t treat me like a criminal.

        One that doesn’t de-value games. They literally said that on stage.

        Like

      • Angry Consumer

        Xbox One has a weaker GPU and slower RAM than the PS4. you also need Xbox Live gold to play multi on one too, but on the PS4 you already get 3 games at launch if you have playstation plus. Xbox One is ripping you off. (plus I’m pretty sure Sony is not part of PRISM)

        Like

      • mightywombat

        The difference in RAM and GPU really won’t matter until it makes a difference in side-by-side comparisons, and MS relying on cloud computing will hopefully make up for some of the shortcomings.
        And I only brought up PS+ to show that everything isn’t perfect in Sonyland. Gold has it’s own benefits, as it also has free games now. And the 3 free games that PS4 is getting said they would be within the first year, not at launch (I’m pretty sure).

        Like

      • ie5x

        Cloud computing making a difference in a game against native H/W, seriously!?

        Like

      • Bledderblabla

        Sony has Gaikai, so I don’t even see why that would make a difference.

        Like

      • ie5x

        I agree, I would not base my console purchase preference on cloud facilities at all.

        Like

      • Guest

        The PS4 has a cloud based system too. Probably even better than the one of the Xbox because its from GaiKai. Sony bought them because they are specialists with cloud computing.

        Like

      • mightywombat

        MS has Azure, and it will be ready at Day One, while Gaikai will be available in 2014. Which one is going along better?

        Like

      • jlh

        Yeah you’re right the $100 difference is because of Kinect. Now MS have to convince a lot of people that Kinect is worth that extra $100. I don’t know if they will be able to do that. It would be easier if they could manage to convince people based on their investment in the Xbox ecosystem but with no backwards compatibility that’s going to be much harder. I also don’t know if they will revisit the subscription model or not. If they follow their original plan (according to Thurrott) to launch with a subscription price on the Xbox One they will be able to advertise the price as $299 but they seem reluctant to do that. We shall see.

        P.S. It is very interesting though that the company that is known for the games specifically for exclusives only showed five during almost two hours. It’s also interesting that we didn’t see EA present at all and Activision was there only with Destiny which was pre-planned.

        Like

      • Z4M0

        Well, in Major Nelson’s words (FAQ) this is intended for Xbox users and while he might no buy a Xbox ONE I bet he still is a Xbox 360 user so he’s on his right to keep posting here.

        I’m fine with people’s opinions even if we don’t share the same view but telling people what to do is a different matter…

        Just saying.

        Somehow, it doesn’t feel like people comes to give their opinion but attack or defend the new system and by doing either, picking on each other. Looking it from that way it feels like a terrible damage to the community who seems to have split in two.

        Like

      • Dylan

        I’m inching very close to 100,000 gamerscore so yes, I’m a 360 user.

        Like

    • beardyman3218

      Lets just hope it’s not playstation home😉

      Like

      • Dylan

        Oh god that thing is awful.
        “Waiting in Line….the game”

        Like

  • Javier Ortega

    DEFCON 1 at Microsoft right now.

    Like

  • Realmusik Recordz

    399$ They really trying hard..

    Like

    • Dylan

      Every company should. Listen to the consumers and you’ll be rewarded.

      Microsoft is arrogant. Like Sony 2006.
      Now they’ll pay the price dearly. AS THEY SHOULD FOR BEING GREEDY AT OUR EXPENSE

      Like

  • Javier Ortega

    With no DRM and no internet bull, Sony had all the nails on the coffin….with $399…it was throwing the dirt over the coffin.

    Like

    • wrestlefan01

      exactly sony just won me over

      Like

    • GmailIsDown

      Sony’s hitting all the right moves today, while Microsoft failed all the QTEs.

      Now just need a link to preorder…

      Like

    • Chuck

      Better, specs, no DRM, cheaper price. I was pulling for MS, but its hard to argue with all that.

      Like

      • Javier Ortega

        I was a fervent MS fanboy, but yes, it is impossible to root for the Xbox considering all those details.

        Like

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