• Wycliffe Barrett Talks About Twitch.tv

    Wycliffe Barrett Talks About Twitch.tv

    Wycliffe, for those who don't know, could you explain to the readers what Twitch.tv is?

    Twitch TV is a service that allows gamers to broadcast to the world via the internet. You can basically broadcast anything you want live to the internet but it's mostly used by gamers.

    Earlier this year Amazon bought Twitch TV for $970 million as they could see the potential for their business. The money for Amazon is made via advertising and as a streamer using Twitch, my viewers will see adverts at the beginning of my live stream and during them but they are not so intrusive as to be an annoyance. I could, if I wish, upgrade my free account to a turbo account at a nominal monthly charge which would get rid of the adverts and give me some more options to play with.

    When Amazon bought Twitch, a lot of streamers and gamers objected and voted with their feet and left but I think Amazon have done pretty good and have cleaned up the service a lot, getting rid of some more dubious streamers.

    There are a huge number of broadcasters delivering content on an incredible range of different games. The most popular ones are things like Diablo, League of Legends, Arma and World of Warcraft. Some of these games are massively popular and just as I speak (having just turned on Twitch), the first Broadcaster I have clicked on has over 100,000 followers and is being watched right now by 1958 people.

    Why do you think it's become so popular?

    I have no idea how Twitch became the de-facto broadcasting service for gamers, other than it has a huge user base (probably it was the first service of its kind). It started off as Justin TV and would simply show Justin living his life and being broadcast 24/7. That grew beyond Justin and his friends wildest imagination and so they created Twitch TV. By using simple broadcasting software, gamers like myself can now connect to Twitch and stream our games.

    Its popularity amongst the gaming community is that the software to connect to Twitch is free and broadcasting on it is free too (of course you have the initial outlay of your hardware and games). Some live streamers as we are called, invest heavily into multiple cameras, green screens, desktop studio quality microphones, etc.

    These broadcasters mentioned above, tend to fund all of this by having donate buttons on their broadcasts and viewers can donate any amount they wish, $5, $10, etc. Once I saw a donation of $100! Many broadcasters will use this as their main source of income as some will live stream up to 14 hours a day, every day. When you have hundreds of thousands of followers (with a small percentage donating) the money can mount up rather quickly. This helps maintain equipment, computers, software, etc.

    In mentioning all this, I must stress that I myself don't have a donate button. Lately though, because of costs incurred, it is something I might have to consider in the future. Originally when I first started X-Plane Dedicated (and the Twitch channel) I would only review products that I had actually already bought or owned. As well as these personal purchases, I have also received a few products as a beta tester. However, there are many X-Plane products out there that I would love to review but can't because of the costs involved in obtaining the software.

    That said I have entered into an arrangement (at the time of writing this) that will hopefully take costs down a little. I have always stated that X-Plane Dedicated, in its many guises, would be free to the end user and if I can continue to maintain that stance I will.

    It really does sound impressive! Does Twitch have a social element to it?

    Yes, there is a social element for both live streamers and viewers. As a result of my live streams, I have met other live streamers in the UK. These have been either at flight sim events or over the internet. Like myself, these are people who share an avid interest in flight simulation.

    We meet up online and have a good old chat and try and put the flight sim world to rights, so to speak. One thing I have learned very quickly is that the flight simulation community (across the globe) is very small in comparison to the likes of, let's say, World of Warcraft. To give you an example, I have just clicked on a World of Warcraft streamer and they have 5,851 viewers and 222,390 subscribers. In the world of Twitch, these are huge numbers! Apparently, even Euro Truck Simulator has a larger community than flight simulation, and this is across all platforms. As for viewers, they can live chat on a channel and garner a sense of community and certainly loyalty to a particular streamer.

    Wycliffe, how have you used Twitch with X-Plane?

    As mentioned above, I am a live streamer on Twitch:


    For over 18 months now I have been streaming X-Plane content. I did at one point change to another provider, Hitbox, but came back to Twitch because it has a larger following. That said, once again the only people interested in flight simulation are flight simmers so it's a small audience.

    I have close to a thousand members on my Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/xpdedicated but only around 150 subscribers on Twitch.

    I think flight simulation demographics has a lot to play here. Twitch is the domain of the young and as we all well know, flight simulation attracts the mainly older demographic. However, that fact doesn't put me off. I love streaming and anything else for that matter which involves being geeky or nerdy! For example, right now there is a really cool app for your smartphone called Periscope. With this great app, you can broadcast to the world, straight from the comfort of your phone! This comes in really handy for getting my message across, especially when I'm streaming live.

    There are times though when it can get tiring trying to figure out what to stream. I have done flight planning tutorials, how to program FMC's, cold and dark start ups, and the main one of course, flying (which I tend to do live on VATSIM). I stream Sundays and Thursday evenings here in the UK and now that I am retired, I do some early morning streams for my international members. I try to do flights no longer than a couple of hours. Why? Because anything longer would send the viewer to sleep!

    1. murfman's Avatar
      murfman -
      Wycliffe, I was delighted to see this interview, as I have become, probably, at least one of your most recent fans. I discovered you while searching YouTube for video on the flight sim show at Cosford. Thanks for that! Apparently you are the only one who published footage from the show.

      I have since discovered your vblogs and X-Plane Dedicated. I watch several every evening and will probably continue to do so until I am caught up. I enjoy your relaxed and yet enthusiastic style and your family friendly attitude. I wish you well and much success in your broadcasting endeavors!


      Salem Oregon
    1. wycliffe's Avatar
      wycliffe -

      Thanks for your kind words and Welcome to my little bit of the internet.

    1. Trollydolly's Avatar
      Trollydolly -
      good article, thanks. I have just discovered the world of Twitch and so will follow your stream. At the moment I am happy to follow a particular pilot for more than 2 hours - as much as 5 - because he is running commentary on why he is doing certain things with the plane, it's a great education for a learner such as myself.
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