A team of ex-Apple engineers and execs is taking on Amazon-owned Twitch and Google’s YouTube Gaming with today’s official launch of a new social broadcasting platform, Caffeine. Backed by $46 million from Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners, Caffeine was co-founded by former Product Design Lead for Apple TV and Chomp co-founder Ben Keighran, along with Senior User Experience Designer at Apple, Sam Roberts.
Since You can’t simply build yet another live streaming service and hope for the best – you have to create something original and differentiated.
For Caffeine, that’s a suite of technology products and new experiences that existing rivals don’t have.
To begin with, Caffeine has developed its own publication tool, in the form of a free 10 MB download, that makes getting started with streaming easier for the casual gamer.
There’s about 800 million gamers out there, but there’s roughly 2 million content creators a month on Twitch. With the Caffeine software, gamers can start streaming from their Windows PC with a single click.
Caffeine has developed custom technology that can detect when a game launches on the PC (by watching the system’s processes), then is able to use the Windows DLL file to inject viewers’ comments as an overlay onto the game itself.
The company built out its own real-time distribution video network that leverages WebRTC – the same technology that powers things like Google Hangouts and other peer-to-peer communications. That means everything on Caffeine is taking place in real-time with zero delays.
Video game characters welcome guests at the opening announcement event for Esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor on January 10.
The Luxor will open Esports Arena Las Vegas on March 22, 2018 in the space formerly occupied by LAX Nightclub.
Twitch is a live-streaming video platform that made $1.7 billion in revenue last year from kids and young adults watching other people play video games,” says Christopher LaPorte. “Gaming is the second most-popular content category on YouTube.
Esports resource Newzoo’s third annual Global Esports Market Report released last year projected the esports economy would grow to nearly $700 million in 2017 and $1.5 billion by 2020. On February 1, international multimedia news provider Reuters announced the launch of a new wire service devoted to coverage of esports and the competitive gaming industry.
Currently at $1.5B, global esports revenue will grow 26% by 2020 as it attracts an even more mainstream audience. This increase will be fueled by a viewership projected to grow 12% each year and a swelling number of third-party investments. In addition to receiving indirect revenue from investments, Overwatch and League of Legends are projected to grow their direct revenue by selling brand sponsorships, advertisements, ticket sales, and team merchandise.
Video game companies like Activision Blizzard, Riot Games and Valve continue to support their flagship esports titles with player franchising agreements and larger prize pools. Advertisers and brands like the The Kraft Group (owner of New England Patriots) and Mercedes-Benz are among the most notable, with several other sports teams and brands making financial commitments. Twitch and YouTube continue their battle for gaming video and esports dominance.
Players from Chinese eSports organisation LGD Gaming practicing at the one of the team’s villas in Shanghai. Peter Stebbings / AFP
eSports is said to be on a trajectory to become bigger than the US National Football League (NFL) or the National Basketball Association (NBA), or indeed, any so called “true sport”.
Mr Leonsis told the audience at the Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) Global Summit earlier this month said “It will dwarf the NFL, it will dwarf the NBA, because first and foremost, it is a global phenomenon.”
eSports will be a demonstration event at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, and then a medal event four years later in China.
Alex Lim, the South Korean secretary general of the International eSports Federation (IeSF), says ninety per cent of the worldwide population is on the internet and half are playing games,” .
Global revenue from eSports soared 41 per cent to US$696 million with $266m coming from sponsorship, according to the eSports research consultancy Newzoo.
Olympic decision makers are still debating over the possibility of esports entering the world’s leading international sporting competition. The discussion opened in April, with the news that esports would be making an appearance at the 2018 and 2022 Asian Games in Jakarta and Hangzhou, with esports being elevated to medal sport status in the latter event. In August, it was announced that esports was up for contention to be added to the roster of sports at the 2024 Games, despite an earlier comment from IOC President Thomas Bach that some “violent” esports titles are “contrary to all theiir values”.
Four major decisions were made when leading representatives of the Olympic Movement met in Lausanne, Switzerland on the 28th of October, following invitations from the IOC:
- Firstly, acknowledgement of esports’ burgeoning growth helped lead the Summit to recognize the potential for engagement of the youth with the Olympic Movement;
- esports “could be considered as a sporting activity”. This follows some research which suggests that the preparation, training and capacity for physical demands at esports’ highest level mirrors that of traditional sports
- For IOC recognition as a sport, esports titles’ content “must not infringe on the Olympic values”. This statement parallels earlier concerns outlined by Bach;
- Additionally, the IOC necessitates the existence of “an organization guaranteeing compliance with the rules and regulations of the Olympic Movement”. This body would manage issues such as anti-doping, betting, and match-fixing.
The decision of what constitutes an Olympic sport is an ever-changing, growing thing, alive with the context of its time and the preferences of its committee.