Caffeine wants to send a jolt through the streaming business

Aiming to fix Twitch’s biggest problem

In an effort to broaden my horizons and further immerse myself in gamer culture this year, two weeks ago I started watching esports on Twitch. With the arrival of the Overwatch League and Genesis 5, it was the perfect time for me to see the evolution of my favorite hobby into competitive sports. And after I turned off the chat, I actually started to enjoy it. Splatoon 2 more than Overwatch, for sure, but both were certainly watchable nonetheless.

It’s got me thinking about streaming myself, and while I am far less of an entertaining person on camera than I am in the written word, it might be fun to have something weekly I put up so assholes online can find out where I live and SWAT me. Watching Twitch over the past few weeks has me thinking it’s not the right platform for me, but Caffeine just may be.

For the past several months, Caffeine has been in a quiet beta and is officially rolling out today. The streaming service is claiming to offer a product that is simpler and safer than the competition. Anyone interested will be able to stream from their PC, Mac, or iPhone using the app. What’s most interesting to me about the platform is its reworking of the chat feature.

According to the press release, Caffeine will let users limit the comments they see during a stream to only those people who are in their social circles. Trying to keep up with Twitch chat is like trying to read Dostoevsky while herding rabies-infected chimpanzees. If Twitch chat were a movie it’d be the last 30 minutes of mother!. If Twitch chat were a song, it’d be this one. If Twitch chat were… ugh, you get the point. Eliminating the need to have Discord open while I watch a stream with friends to see what they think of what’s happening is exactly what I’m looking for in a streaming service.

It’ll be interesting to see what it’s like from the point-of-view of the content creator. Right now there is no monetization system in place, but one that is “re-imagined” is expected to be implemented sometime this year. Time will tell if this has a shot against the streaming giants, but if this truly does offer a better and more clear way for friends to communicate with friends, and creators to communicate with their fans, I absolutely see myself using it over the competition.

CJ Andriessen
Just what the internet needs: yet another white guy writing about video games.