Must-See CT: Twitch Rating CS Streamers With Steam API

No scrubs.

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.


  1. Skeletor68 says:

    That’s a cool idea! They should probably do the inverse and put on the lowest performers too. That’s the only way one of my Dota games will end up online anyways.

  2. MeestaNob says:

    This is a pretty fantastic idea.

  3. Synesthesia says:


  4. ninjapirate says:

    This won’t help players who, skill-wise, aren’t necessarily on par with those top performers though. Sometimes I enjoy watching people’s streams simply because they’re entertaining and/or good people.

    • Polifemo says:

      Those type of people (entertaining and good-mannered/nice) tend to find an audience anyway, ist just a matter of getting the ball rolling. It can range from small and dedicated audience to a large one.

      If anything its the less-skilled players that get a HUGE fan-base like pewdiepie. Of course these mass-appeal streamers arent gonna be of much interest to the audience that wants to watch the game.
      Of course if you are entertaining, a good person and good at the game you will atract the most audience generaly. But not everyone can have a huge audience to live off streaming, and thats fine since that would be silly.

      • ikehaiku says:

        Yes, but with this system, wouldn’t the “entertainers” be buried under all the skill-oriented streams, hence removing some discoverability? Plus – this system will actually encourage more “good player” to stream, and instantly find somehow an audience, burying even more someone who sucks, but who is entertaining.

        • Polifemo says:

          I dont think the entertainers will be “buried”. They will find an audience for certain its just a matter of getting the ball rolling like I said. I will agree that it would be a bit harder to get it rolling with this system that emphasizes skill but I honestly dont think it will be nearly as extreme as you put it.

          Youd be suprised at the amount of people that are put off by unentertaining or dislikeable pros and actively seek alternatives.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      Case in point: All eSports commentators ever. There’s a reason they’re commentating instead of competing.

      Edit: And they certainly do find an audience, but the problem is the audience (i.e. me) not necessarily finding them.

  5. Polifemo says:

    The filtering through steam sounds wonderful. Now if only I could get them to finally move my account from to twitch I would be very happy. I even have an active subscription on twitch and everything!
    Hurrah for mass media distribution customer service!

  6. VertigoTeaparty says:

    This is a really cool idea and would like to see this expanded upon. As a small streamer myself, I’d love to have more ways for people to be able to find me as opposed to digging through dozens of channels playing the same game.

    Regarding the article itself, I find it interesting that the author associated skill with quality commentary. Some of my favorite YouTubers and streamers are average or below average players but make up for it with funny or interesting commentary. Conversely, I’ve tried to watch the streams by some players who are very good but I couldn’t stand hearing them talk. While some folks are good at both, I don’t really associate one with the other.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Two of the five paragraphs are about how this system doesn’t account for players’ personalities.

      • VertigoTeaparty says:

        I re-read the article and really only noticed the line “Tapping the Steam API for player skill is one idea, sure, but what I’d really dig is using player personality metrics,” which is fair enough.

        The last paragraph I (mis)read to be more a comment about avoiding players who showed bad behavior in online matches; disconnects, team killing, etc. Generally, highly skilled players wouldn’t be doing that anyway. Regardless, re-reading it I understand what you meant now.

  7. DThor says:

    I can think of a dozen other things to do with my time other than listen to some loudmouth shoot things in a video game, but I really appreciate the playthroughs of “hard” strategy games like EU4, Distant Worlds, etc. You can learn critical tips in offhand comments that completely change your understanding of the mechanics. I must admit the signal to noise ratio with these games is infinitely better than shooter playthroughs, but it will be nice to weed out the dross even more

  8. BlueTemplar says:

    For Let’s Plays : Go to Youtube, type your favorite game name in search, sort by ratings : problem solved?

  9. NothingFunny says:

    Too bad they are doing it for their own mobas (aka cybersport), and not the other games. hopefully it will change.