Twitch the popular platform for broadcasting and viewing videogames announced that they will be launching their new Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK). This will allow game developers to enable their iOS and Android games to be broadcasted directly from consumers their mobile devices.
Recently the current Twitch “viewing" app crossed the mark of ten million installs evenly spread across both iOS and Android mobile devices. This shows the popularity of the service among mobile users, even more so because the current app doesn’t allow mobile users to broadcast. With the new Mobile SDK Twitch believes that it can offer game developers/ publishers a powerful tool for their games to become visible across the Twitch platform.
At this moment Vita owners who want to share gameplay footage are left empty handed or are at the very least pretty restricted in their options to do so. Natively the Vita doesn’t have any stream/broadcast gameplay options. Many Vita gamers want Sony to release a TV-out solution. The PS Vita TV, which is basically a PS Vita, has this option but would be a very steep purchase if used only to share gameplay. One would still need additional hardware/software to capture the gameplay footage and then there still is the problem that not every Vita game can be played on Vita TV.
I’ve addressed this in articles before but new Vita owners might be wondering how YouTubers are able to provide their audience with crisp gameplay footage.
There is the option to modify the Vita hardware itself. If you don’t know how to handle a solder iron you can send your own vita to be modified or buy a modified system one over at http://www.3dsvideocapture.com/product-list/6
How great this modification might seem to work, I just don’t like the idea of a hole in the body of my Vita. This option also results in a steep purchase for a feature I feel Sony themselves should bring to Vita owners.
Then we have the non-option of off-screen capturing. Believe me it is tedious work to film your Vita’s screen while playing a game. In the end you are left with shaky video and you will need to deal with the glare of the screen, even if you manage to minimalize those factors with off-screen filming your video won’t be of great quality. For instructional purposes where people need to see what you are actually doing with the Vita this works great, but not so much for gameplay.
We also have a tease from Katsu, who supposedly managed to modify the Vita with PS Vita TV parts and effectively giving the PS Vita a TV out function. I’ve reached out to him for more details and will report back to you as soon as I have anything useful to report.
The thing is none of these options would be as easy as a Twitch broadcasting app for Vita similar to what the company aims to deliver for mobile devices. Imagine if Vita game developers/publishers made their games compatible with such an app. Granted the examples of the current situation are primarily for TV-out functionality. I assume there could be latency issues if you used a Twitch broadcast app to view your game session on your TV or PC.
But for a Let’s play purposes where the camera can be set you show your face, external and internal audio capture etc. this would be a great app that could definitely help the discoverability of great Vita games. Sony has expressed their thoughts on the importance of socially sharing videogame experiences; a big part of the PS4’s selling point was/is the share button. I would like to think that if this sharing ability is so important to Sony with the PS4 it should also be important for the PS Vita.
The PS4 already has a good Twitch integration so it is not totally out of the realm of possibilities that a Twitch broadcasting app could find its way to PS Vita. But if we take into account how long it takes for other media apps to surface on the Vita. It might be a very long wait, if ever, before we see a Sony provided way to share Vita gameplay.
Personally I am kind of surprised by the popularity of “let’s play" videos. I myself like to be in control of the game I am experiencing. That’s not to say I’ve never watched a gameplay video but that almost always was to see what a game offered or how to do something that I was unable to figure out by myself. Would you want such an app on Vita? Do you think a Twitch app is technically possible? Show your support for articles by sharing them through social media (Twitter, Google+, Facebook etc.) or by telling your grandmother about what you’ve read. You can weigh in your thoughts in the comment section or contact me directly on twitter @italkgame