Twitch.tv announced a series of changes to their live video streaming service that managed to upset both streamers and viewers. CEO Emmet Shear took to Reddit Thursday in a contentious AMA session to respond to questions not related to the rumored acquisition by Google, but new competitor HitBox was quick to jump on the changes as evidence that Twitch is out of touch.
Changes to Twitch’s service include the muting of archived streams playing music that was not licensed in previously recorded Video On Demand. This caused an uproar due to the fact that many games include licensed music. Shear clarified that the company has no intention of flagging in-game music but is scanning for “ambient music” being played in the background by streamers. However, he admits that false positives are being created but says, “the vast majority of the flags appear to be correct.”
Shear also stated that scanning and muting for licensed content will not affect livestreams and that they screwed up communicating these changes to users of the service.
“This was our bad. I’m glad we communicated the change to VOD storage policy in advance, giving us a chance to address issues we missed like 2-hour highlights for speedrunners before the change went into effect. I’m not so glad we failed on communicating the audio-recognition change in advance, and wish we’d posted about it before it went into effect. That way we could have gotten community feedback first as we’re doing now after the fact.”
Following the AMA, Twitch VP of Marketing & Communications Matthew DiPietro announced the following changes on the service’s blog.
“First, effective tonight, the maximum time limit on highlights will be removed. You will once again be able to create highlights of any length and they will be saved indefinitely.
“Secondly, we’re deploying an ‘appeal’ button for VODs that have been flagged for copyrighted music by the new Audio Recognition system. We recognize that the system is not yet perfect. We want to make this system as fair and unobtrusive as possible, and we greatly appreciate your help.”
The appeal process for flagged music has not been detailed yet though.
Twitch’s acquisition by Google and these changes have left some streamers disillusioned, however, and seeking other places to setup shop to stream their content.
“It’s sad to see someone lose touch with the very people that made them big. Forcing a 30+ second delay on streamers and ruining their VoD’s with automated copyright claims is a slap in the face of everyone who tries to share their passion for gaming with the world.
“Luckily we all have a voice and can make ourselves heard. We did it by creating a platform that is deeply rooted within the community, and you can do it too by joining with us.
“At hitbox you’re always with friends, and the soundtrack is whatever you want it to be.”
Everybody joining in on the #hitboxlivehype right now: What do you like most about our platform?
— hitbox (@hitboxlive) August 7, 2014
Some have already tested out the service from noted games journalists to popular streamers.
Thanks for joining me on Hitbox as we played with its streaming capabilities. Quite pleased, and will be using it again! — Jim Sterling (@JimSterling) August 7, 2014
— SweetyT (@Suidt_SMW) August 8, 2014
Not everyone is enamored of the move though.
streaming services that claim they won’t have to worry about copyright/infrastructure are adorable. and also wrong.
— Arthur Gies (@aegies) August 7, 2014
So Twitch is lying to us, again, as part of an obvious Google harmonization move. But Hitbox lies, too. No reason to simulcast to both.
— Neil Stevens (@presjpolksda) August 8, 2014
Do you think Twitch.tv is opening itself up to a competitor? Let us know if in the comments below.
[Image via Twitch]