Twitch has been making lots of controversial changes lately, and this has not gone unnoticed by the gaming community. The addition of a new Audio Recognition System has been problematic. The system has been improperly flagging some audio that was cleared through creative commons (and therefore, should not have been flagged at all). After much outcry, Twitch has stated that it will deploy an “Appeal” button.
In short, the purpose of the Audio Recognition system was to identify music that has a copyright and that was used in videos on Twitch that are available on demand. (They call those “Video on Demand” or VOD). Twitch partnered with Audible Magic.
When the Audio Recognition system identifies music that is in the Audible Magic database, it automatically mutes the portion of the video on demand in which that music appears. (The Audio Recognition system is not being used on videos that are streamed live on Twitch.) It can scan 30 minute blocks of a video. If third party audio is detected anywhere in the 30-minute scanned block, the entire 30 minutes will be muted.
Twitch explains it this way on their blog:
“We’ve partnered with Audible Magic, which works closely with the recorded music industry, to scan past and future VODs for music owned and controlled by clients of Audible Music. This includes in-game and ambient music. When music in the Audible database is detected (“Flagged Content”), the affected portion of the VOD will be muted and the volume controls for that VOD will be turned off. Additionally, past broadcasts and highlights with Flagged Content are exportable but will remain muted.”
This new addition to Twitch is very similar to what YouTube is using to identify audio that has a copyright and that has been used in videos that appear on YouTube. Both systems have returned “false positives” and flagged things that should not have been flagged. As such, Twitch is deploying an “appeal” button for the VODs that have been incorrectly flagged for copyrighted music.
I suspect this is not going to be enough to appease gamers who have had their audio muted without warning when all they were doing was streaming the ambient music that is in a video game. It’s not going to go over well with gamers who have had 30 minutes of their audio muted because they played one 2 or 3 minute song that had a copyright on it, either.
Twitch is a great place to check out if you want to watch people play video games. For example, I’ve been watching people stream as they play the beta of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. Its awesome to get a glimpse of what will be in the upcoming expansion.
Sadly, though, it seems that some of the people who use Twitch to stream themselves playing video games are abusing the service. Recently, Twitch streamer Darckobra was banned after he chose to do some “not safe for work” (and completely inappropriate) things while streaming. I’ll leave you to visit the Gamer Revolution article for further details about exactly what happened.
The guy, and his wife, were playing a PS4 game called The Playroom. The game uses the PlayStation Camera and requires a DualShock 4 wireless controller. The camera shows your living room on the screen, and adds playful little robots that you can interact with. In other words, it is an augmented reality “game” that is designed to show off what the PS4 can do.
Twitch sent out the following tweets to show that they will be cracking down on “non-gaming” content:
It is possible to stream The Playroom through Twitch.tv (or Ustream) through the Live From PlayStation feature. Parents should be aware that watching a stream of The Playroom may or may not be appropriate for children to view. That’s rather sad, since it looks to me like The Playroom is something that is primarily entertaining to children.
Twitch has announced that they have a brand new app that can be used on your Xbox 360. As you may have guessed, it is called the Twitch App for Xbox 360.
It will allow you to watch (at least some) of the content from Twitch on your big screen TV. This may appeal to Xbox 360 users who would prefer to watch gaming related streaming, shows, and other content on the same big screen that they play games on. Perhaps the intent of this app is so that Twitch can make more of a connection with the users who play games on Xbox 360, and expand their audience. They already have a lot of people using computers to check out Twitch.
The app will have 300 live channels. Users can browse through the directory either by games, featured content, or top channels. The app is Kinect-enabled, so you can use voice or motion commands to tell your Xbox 360 what Twitch channel you want to watch. Right now, the Twitch App for Xbox 360 is available for Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers who live in the United States, only.