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Recent rumours almost became reality when Google were supposedly confirmed to be acquiring Twitch’s streaming service. This has led users and content creators to become concerned with the implications of this acquisition due to Google implementing unwelcome changes to YouTube not long after purchasing it a number of years ago.

Twitch and VODs

As you are likely aware, Twitch primarily offers a streaming service resulting in live broadcasts but also has somewhat of an archived previous broadcast feature which stores previous live broadcasts on their server as well as featuring live broadcasts. Recently though, there has been talk of removing long VODs and just having shorter ‘highlight’ videos in place of them.  There has been a lot of negativity surround the new 2 hour highlight limit from members of the community that feel this will have a detrimental impact for those that wish to watch longer sections of previous broadcasts that were permanently saved.

A lot of users at the time had been suggesting that Twitch wants to incentivise users to upload VODs  to YouTube and leave Twitch to function solely as a live broadcasting website.

Copyright infringement concerns

Another recent change was a crackdown on music playing within a user’s stream. Although currently this doesn’t affect live broadcasts, Twitch have started to mute 30 minute sections of stored videos that contain any music that it’s automated software identifies as copyright protected material. However, as always this hasn’t gone smooth sailing and has resulting in numerous false flagging of videos that are not playing any music in their videos. Even an official Twitch advertisement trailer was flagged by its own system for containing music that the automated system felt was infringing on copyright.

Again this raises the argument of whether or not it is ok to mute 30 minutes of content including all other legitimate audio, because 3 minutes infringes on copyright. Should the copyright licence over a music track take priority over anything else going on for the rest of the time that doesn’t infringe on copyright? This has been a reoccurring argument ever since YouTube videos have been taken down causing content creators hard work to be erased just because of a 3 minute track playing in the background of the video. Should the music license take priority over the other parts of the video that the content creator has put into it?

It’s reasonable to assume Twitch will continue to crack down on this since the acquisition and will surely want to tighten up on any copyright issues.

Would Google Plus have integrated with Twitch?

If Google would have beat Amazon to the punch, It’s interesting to wonder if Twitch would have taken the same route as YouTube with the forced Google+ integration. I’d like to think they have learned their lesson after the recent backlash against the forced integration YouTube.

It’s easy to imagine that Twitch and YouTube would have worked better together if this acquisition would have taken place which would result in easier VOD exporting and uploading to YouTube and possibly better notifications for channels you subscribe to when they go live. It will be interesting to see what Google has in mind for the future, and if they will venture further into streaming instead of their current video setup with minimal streaming functionality.

Amazon acquires Twitch

It was surprising to see Amazon acquire Twitch but most users are pleased that they beat Google to it as a lot of the expected changes from Google would have been largely detrimental to the site and user experience according to some streamers. Twitch is expected to remain operating independently but with more backing. Future improvements can be expected quicker with a large company funding them now. Posted to Twitch’s Facebook account, the below quote was quite a surprise to most as most of us thought that Google had already secured Twitch:

Dear Twitch Community, It’s almost unbelievable that slightly more than 3 years ago, Twitch didn’t exist. The moment we launched, we knew we had stumbled across something special. But what followed surprised us as much as anyone else, and the impact it’s had on both the community and us has been truly profound. Your talent, your passion, your dedication to gaming, your memes, your brilliance – these have made Twitch what it is today. Every day, we strive to live up to the standard set by you, the community. We want to create the very best place to share your gaming and life online, and that mission continues to guide us. Together with you, we’ve found new ways of connecting developers and publishers with their fans. We’ve created a whole new kind of career that lets people make a living sharing their love of games. We’ve brought billions of hours of entertainment, laughter, joy and the occasional ragequit. I think we can all call that a pretty good start. Today, I’m pleased to announce we’ve been acquired by Amazon. We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster. We’re keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon’s support we’ll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch. I personally want to thank you, each and every member of the Twitch community, for what you’ve created. Thank you for putting your faith in us. Thank you for sticking with us through growing pains and stumbles. Thank you for bringing your very best to us and sharing it with the world. Thank you, from a group of gamers who never dreamed they’d get to help shape the face of the industry that we love so much. It’s dangerous to go alone. On behalf of myself and everyone else at Twitch, thank you for coming with us.
Emmett Shear, CEO

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Image credit – Twitch

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