Twitch unveiled their new desktop client on Thursday. And some people are using it, if only because the old curse client as it once stood has gone the way of the dodo. For those of you that remember, Twitch purchased Curse in the second half of 2016. This of course came with speculation of inevitable integration between Twitch and Curse as services. Which brings us back to the subject. Twitch’s new desktop app which doesn’t really do anything new.
What it does can be summarized quickly. Firstly and obviously you’ll be able to view twitch streams with the desktop app. You’ll be able to know when the streams you follow go live, be able to chat with friends, making voice and video calls, and of course chat in streams. Additionally, users will be able to buy games through Twitch, playable through Twitch’s own distribution service. Of course games bought through Twitch are only playable in Windows(64bit), and not redeemable for other services.
Of course the games distribution is advertised as a way to provide streamers with a cut of sales. But between subscriptions and bits, one would think they have the bases covered. The issue with game sales is, this is one more launcher, one more service users need to play their games. It may seem like a minor issue until you consider the number of distribution services already available on PC. Having one’s games across a pair of services might not be a bother but the more services a user needs to use the more hassle the user has to deal with. It becomes a trade-off between usability and decentralization.
But Twitch, and Amazon by extension, are opting to provide a one stop solution to users it seems. This new change to their platform strikes parallels in comparison to Valve’s own service. Steam provides the ability to watch game streams, buy games, software, rent and buy videos, even communicate with friends through their platform Steam. But even if you don’t use all of Valve’s services, it doesn’t make the desktop app for Twitch a new hotness. In other words, Twitch’s desktop app as a game distribution service offers nothing new in that regard.
The same can be said for viewing streams, communicating with friends, and everything in between. There are third party tools across multiple platforms to notify users when their favorite streams go live. The same applies to viewing streams, and participating in stream chats. When it comes to communicating with friends, services such as Skype and Discord have more market share and most of my friends prefer using Discord. Of all my contacts that have used the old Curse client, most thought it felt and looked awkward, with the new interface for the Twitch client being in the same area of discomfort. I can imagine the multiple updates on launch day may have left a bad impression to everyone using the service when it went live.
All in all the new Twitch desktop app seems to offer nothing new. In terms of games distribution it is yet another launcher and complication. As a communication app, the same can be said. Another program and complication. As for watching video streams with the client, there is software for that if one isn’t relying on their browser for the experience. In my opinion, there’s not enough reason to use it. Of course some results may vary. Particularly if you’re streaming on Twitch and looking to get some of that coin from Amazon. Would I suggest you use it? Since I have no reason to use it in light of alternatives I consider to be more viable options…I don’t have a reason to say “yes”. Give it time, I’m certain it’ll either be phased out or improved(hopefully).