Twitch today announced the Twitch Mobile Software Development Kit ( SDK), which will eventually let mobile device gamers capture, archive, and live-broadcast their games to Twitch, a social network for gamers that already has a large presence on consoles and PCs. Android and iOS device owners have access to the Twitch community through a dedicated mobile app, but it allows only for viewing and interacting with content that's already been posted to the site. For mobile gaming fanatics, things are about to get a whole lot more interesting.
The Twitch Mobile SDK takes everything that's great about Twitch and makes it possible from mobile devices. The SDK offers the ability to capture and broadcast gameplay video and audio; capture video from the front-facing cameras; capture audio using an internal or external microphone; and archive videos for viewing and sharing on Twitch. Users will be able to adjust between low-, medium-, and high-quality broadcast settings and easily discover related broadcasts from other gamers. The SDK also includes a solid chat client complete with emoticons, badges, and color schemes.
"Our vision is to provide the Twitch community with the ability not only to view but also to broadcast live video game content wherever they are, whether they're on the go or in the living room," said Matthew DiPietro, VP of Marketing at Twitch, in a statement. "We've achieved that with our PC and console integrations, so the trifecta will soon be complete with our deep and concerted foray into mobile broadcasting."
Twitch said that its Android and iOS apps have been downloaded 10 million times, split evenly between the two platforms. That milestone and its 45 million active monthly users speak to the popularity of the service for sharing games and interacting with other gamers.
Michael Pachter, video game analyst with Wedbush Securities, believes that Twitch's move to mobile could blow things wide open. "Facilitating the ability to 'broadcast anywhere' by bringing live streaming functionality to mobile has the potential to convert millions of Twitch's passive viewers into active broadcasters," he said.
Transitioning its passive viewers into active ones is exactly the reasoning behind Twitch's move to mobile. Gaming on mobile devices has exploded in the last several years, with hundreds of thousands of games available on smartphones and tablets. One need only look at the wild popularity of Flappy Bird several weeks ago to see that the demand for good mobile games is off the charts. Enabling those games with support for Twitch could be the key to increasing Twitch's user base exponentially.