Two former Apple executives have today launched a new game broadcasting service called Caffeine, which allows users to watch and broadcast games and other entertainment on Mac, PC, and iPhone. In a press release, the company likened Caffeine to Amazon's Twitch platform, "only easier, safer, and more social."
Caffeine was founded by Ben Keighran and Sam Roberts, a former product design lead for Apple TV and lead user experience designer for Apple, respectively. Other than games, Caffeine will be a "social broadcasting platform" with tools for entertainment as well as other artistic content, and is backed by $46 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners
“We're incredibly excited to be sharing more details on the pre-release version of Caffeine,” said Ben Keighran, CEO of Caffeine. “I left Apple to create a company that would fundamentally change the way we create, consume, share, and monetize live content. Our goal was to re-imagine every aspect of live broadcasting -- ignoring the good things we could do and focusing on the really great things instead.
We are committed to building the best experience for creators, giving them everything they need, from the broadcasting software all the way through to how the audience discovers and enjoys their content. We have put together a world-class engineering and content team that will transform the way the world thinks about live broadcasting.”
The company described Caffeine's interface as simple and straightforward to use, with "1-click easy" controls and no additional software required to stream content. Users can broadcast games in three ways: using PC game broadcast software, a webcam from a Mac or PC, and through the iOS application.
Once you start using Caffeine, the app will showcase content and broadcasts from the people you follow in a "social circle," and you can join and watch content with them together. "There are no endless feeds of meaningless comments," the company said, because the app highlights personal conversations between friends and creators, helping to dispel toxicity in a real-time chat environment.
On the creator side of things, Caffeine is also touted as a way to "build more personal, meaningful relationships" with viewers, leading to more opportunities to monetize content as well. The company said that a monetization system that backs Caffeine's "easy to use" mantra will be coming in early 2018.
Right now, all versions of the service are technically in a pre-release build. If you're interested you can find the desktop site at caffeine.tv and the iPhone app on the iOS App Store [Direct Link]. As a few readers have pointed out, Caffeine does not currently support Safari on Mac, but instead encourages users to try Firefox or Chrome.
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On a personal note, I've been looking for a replacement or successor to Justin.tV for a while. Ustream and Twitch have gone their own way. I want to setup a miniPC w/ a USB web cam to stream from my house a weather feed to go along with my Wunderground station..not the old school upload a JPEG to an FTP server every 5 seconds but a full stream. Haven't found a good enough service yet..this seemed like it may have worked even if they are gaming-centric.