Caffeine.tv, the newest social broadcasting platform, has given Twitch.tv a rival. So what is Caffeine.tv? We asked one of our writers to explore.
Since its launch in February this year, the social broadcasting platform Caffeine.tv has taken the internet by storm.
Considering the competition in the market (Twitch.tv, YouTube, and more recently Facebook), that’s impressive.
What is Caffeine.tv?
Caffeine.tv is a platform similar to Twitch and YouTube.
At its core, it’s a streaming platform for whatever you like. You can do livestreams of gameplay (for specific games only), you can do a podcast or share a vlog. The possibilities are endless – provided you don’t violate the platform’s Terms of Service.
It’s currently still in pre-release so the program has an app which is free on Steam.
What’s the appeal of Caffeine.tv?
This is meant to be a community driven project. According to an article on PC Gamer, the platform emphasises social interaction over content/gameplay. Users find content based on the feeds they follow (much like YouTube’s subscriber feed). Personal interactions between friends and other creators have the priority.
The streams are done in real-time with no lag and the tools that creators have at their disposal are nice and simple, making broadcasting super easy.
I set up a channel on Caffeine.tv and took it for a test drive
The first step of the test (after setting up my account) was obviously becoming a verified broadcaster, and that’s the simplest thing in the world: You start streaming. That’s it. Once you start broadcasting the system picks you up and you’re verified as a broadcaster. Ta-da.
How do you know when you’ve been verified? That’s simple too: a blue check mark appears next to your name.
The interface is simple as one might expect with a pre-release program like this one. It’s also incredibly clean. The chat messages fade after around 10 seconds, meaning that you don’t end up with messages blocking your view of the game.
As a concept, I like the idea of a platform that is creator-focused and doesn’t require a complicated setup with fancy equipment. Likewise, as Caffeine.tv is fairly limited to the people you follow on the platform and on your social media accounts, you’re less likely to encounter trolls/toxic people.
Functionally, Caffeine.tv is super easy to use and is largely uncluttered. You don’t struggle to figure out what’s what and where it all is or how it all works.
Since you don’t need to download any software (i.e. OBS, Xsplit Broadcaster, etc.) you don’t need to worry about calibrating the channel and programs to work together. You can literally just set up your channel and start broadcasting in a couple of minutes. The app is nice but it’s not absolutely necessary for you to broadcast.
I did, however, have a bit of a problem with finding channels of interest to me. Since the focus is on the broadcaster and not the content, you don’t get a list of games to watch (which you get on Twitch). Instead you have a list of broadcasters to choose from.
I don’t know much more than what their author’s bios tell me, which does make things a bit difficult. It doesn’t help that bios are limited so you can’t even give a detailed explanation about what you do.
Still, in a way this is a good idea as it encourages interaction. Who said you can’t have a real social life online?
Another problem is that your broadcasts aren’t saved. If I go live on YouTube for a couple of hours, the stream is saved to the channel when it ends and can be watched offline by my viewers later on.
On Caffeine.tv that doesn’t happen. This leaves you with no idea what everyone’s into, compounding the issue of the limited author bios and search functions.
Final thoughts on Caffeine.tv
Caffeine is still in pre-release. The finished product is likely to have a whole range of tools that the pre-release version doesn’t have. That said, for a pre-release, the service has a lot of potential.
Definitely give it a try.