By Alice O'Connor on May 30th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.
One problem with using Let’s Plays and livestreams to fill video game-shaped longings in my life when I can’t summon the will to actually play one myself–and there may be several problems with this–is that so many are terrible. While good players or good performers can be genuinely entertaining, if they’re not I can’t pretend I’m not trying to fill a gaping emotional hole with ‘content’ and human voices. So huzzah! Twitch is tapping its Steam connection to use magical metadata so viewers can find the good stuff, starting with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Twitch’s Global Offensive directory now uses the Steam API to sort CS: GO streams by the players’ skill rating and the map they’re playing on, so viewers can find something specific rather than stare blankly at a list of awful screen names wondering which will feel enriching rather than time-passing. If you’re a Twitcher and fancy jumping in, you’ll need to connect Twitch to your Steam account through the connection settings page.
With so much out there on the cybernet and few good tools to filter it, most forms of virtual entertainment are grappling with discoverability. It’s nice to see Twitch start thinking about this problem. I mostly find LPers and streamers by starting at the Something Awful Let’s Play forum, but it’s only one community and there must be other people I’d click with.
Twitch want to expand this metadating, saying “We hope this is only the first of many integrations in which metadata makes the Twitch experience better.” Tapping the Steam API for player skill is one idea, sure, but what I’d really dig is using player personality metrics.
Dota 2 can, theoretically, tell whether a player is friendly or abusive, forgiving or frightful. Draw that out. Use that data. Don’t simply show me people who are good at winning video games, introduce me to people whose mouths I won’t imagine filling with bees, innumerable bees, bees buzzing down their throats, bees spilling forth from their lips, bees streaming out their noses, bees drowning their screams with indifferent droning.
Update: rewritten a few bits due to a few LPers, rightly, griping that I was unfairly dismissing everyone outside the SA forum.