On April 21st-22nd, this year’s two days of summer in Amsterdam, we decided to stay inside and play video games for science. Students from the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences with their partners, the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Noterik, Ex Machina and Bulbagarden, spent the weekend hacking new interactions for live video as a part of a two year research project, Meer Profijt uit Data (More value from data). In this research project we with a number of media companies are researching how they can gain more value from the data they generate and to learn how to transition to a data driven business model. 

The Challenge

Live video streaming is increasingly popular (as those on Twitch know). We see new opportunities for content makers to communicate or even co-create content with their viewers in a way that traditional broadcasters cannot. We challenged the participants to create a new interaction between the streamers and viewers. Of course we needed streamers and a channel to test it all! Our friends at Bulbagarden worked with an international team to keep a stream going for 41 hours and 6 minutes! In that time they had 24.952 unique viewers from around the world.

In the end we had three prototypes in various stages of completion:

– Battle Twitch, a new way to play as a crowd against the streamer.

Instead of typing the controls in the chat (and thus overloading the chat) you can click on the buttons through an extension. The advantage for the streamer is to keep the viewers occupied so that there is less backseat gaming and the viewers can team up and feel a sense of togetherness despite their physical distance.

Figure 1 On the bottom right are the controls which followers use by clicking on the button as if they were playing. This extension aggregates those choices and sends plays them

– Collaborative gaming and hosting clips like Instagram stories

Play RPG’s together! Those following can select ‘highlights’ of their stream and share these stories . They will appear to users that visit a video after they have been streamed or on their profile as a story. These clips also act as a way to identify the best parts of the stream.

Figure 2 Those playing together are shown at the bottom while top left is the game and the top right is the highlight

– Crowd sourced challenges

Using a text aggregating technique the challenges can be pulled out of the chat. This is consolidated into a dashboard which generates the top suggestions resulting in an easy way for the streamer to see what their followers want to see without having to sift through the chat. This team also designed a custom overlay to display over the game while the challenge is active.

Figure 3: In this challenge the viewers wanted the player to turn their back to the stream while a friend gives instructions for what to do

It was great to see people with different expertise worked together and how each team got into the hackathon rhythm of brainstorming, testing and adjusting their prototypes on the games stream of Bulbagarden!

Join us next time?