Despite Everyplay, Kamcord, Twitch and YouTube Gaming, Apple can win the gameplay video war

Despite Everyplay, Kamcord, Twitch and YouTube Gaming, Apple can win the gameplay video war

An important piece of Apple's - and perhaps even mobile game's - future is being formed with the inclusion of ReplayKit in iOS 9.

The function, which lets developers easily implement video recording of gameplay footage, stands to not just perhaps Sherlock Kamcord and Everyplay, but it shows that Apple is taking video sharing seriously by making it an easy-to-implement feature.

I don't think Apple is going far enough, though.

While video sharing can help individual games, it'll still be a game-by-game proposition: not every game that deserves to be shown off will be.

In a world where every PC and console game has copious amounts of video, why is mobile getting the short shrift?

Apple could do wonders for mobile gaming and the profile of iOS as a gaming platform - not to mention possibly convincing more people to spend on iOS devices and apps - by making video recording and streaming a key, built-in part of future versions of iOS.

Moving desire

Video is a field where Apple's competitors are positioned to jump ahead.

Amazon owns Twitch, and is keeping Fire OS on a tight lock - the fourth generation of Fire tablet hasn't been rooted as far as I can tell - they could easily implement a Twitch-streaming solution at a native level.

Nvidia has already done so with the Shield tablet.

Since Amazon owns Twitch, they have an advantage in implementation and support. Plus, they need to do something with that purchase, right?

You can stream mobile games on Twitch but you need a pro set-up

Granted, the Fire ecosystem is smaller than Android as a whole, but they're in a position of strength.

Google didn't buy Twitch, but YouTube Gaming should be feared. YouTube is the undisputed heavyweight champion of online video.

YouTube Gaming should be feared. YouTube is the undisputed heavyweight champion of online video.

For one thing, it's where Twitch videos go when they're archived. There's plenty of reason to think that it could definitely compete with Twitch, especially since it could appeal to people already in the YouTube ecosystem - if only for YouTubers who don't have as prominent a Twitch audience.

And hey, it's YouTube. It's the leader, and any move it makes should be closely watched.

Looking ahead

Let's say that Google announces that YouTube Gaming supports Android game recording and streaming. Remember this is doable, as Android supports video streaming protocols, and has a native screen capture API added in Lollipop. Kamcord's Android app has a screen recording and sharing tool, for example.

Google could get a leg up on mobile game streaming just by introducing a simple tool long before Apple would.

So, if streaming from Android becomes a widespread thing over the next year or so, maybe it doesn't topple Apple in mobile gaming. But it would serve as tremendous PR.

More videos on YouTube of mobile games would be popping up, and they'd be of Android versions of games.

Platform advantage

Right now, iOS is the leading mobile game platform. But I don't think Apple is invulnerable.

Android has slowly been chipping away at iOS to where it's a perfectly fine platform for enthusiasts and casuals alike.

IOS is still better, but not as much as it was a year ago. Normally, Apple needs to introduce a feature for it to feel legitimate in some way on mobile. Maybe that's true here, but Google has a really powerful platform with YouTube to promote their videos, and with every video that goes up with Android that doesn't with iOS, it's a little needle poking Apple.

ReplayKit is an opportunity for Apple

So, with ReplayKit, Apple has the opportunity to use this as a jumping-off point for widespread, native streaming and recording.

Twitch hasn't done anything noteworthy on mobile, but that's because it's a third-party API. Maybe it's a chicken and the egg situation where there's little demand for it, but only because there's no expectation; no common provider of it.

Right now, if a player wants to stream a mobile game, they need a capture card, or unofficial AirPlay mirroring software. Compare this to just software solutions for casual streaming on PC, and the even easier solutions built-in to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

No wonder no one's streaming mobile games!


It's not just that maybe watching Clash of Clans might not be interesting to a wide audience, or that Candy Crush fans aren't streaming fans - it's possible that the opportunity to stream content hasn't existed.

Even Kamcord and Everyplay are a crapshoot if they're included in a game or not.

If video replay was available without having to add an API, it would take off rocketship-style.

Instead, imagine if a player fires up any game, and can easily pull up an option to broadcast a game to the world.

If it was available without developers having to add an API; if it became something that people would know was there, I think it would take off rocketship-style.

It might not be as popular as desktop and console game streaming, but it does not have to be. It just has to provide the opportunity for video creators and streamers that want to easily create mobile gaming video content to do so.

If you build it, they will come. And it will provide a huge boost to the reputation of mobile games if the great stuff could be shared more.

Apple would have to make a big step forward in supporting this, but if it shows off developers' games in a meaningful way and raises the profile of mobile gaming among a skeptical audience, convincing more people to buy powerful iPads, higher-capacity iPhones, MFi controllers, and maybe even a gaming Apple TV, shouldn't Apple do it?

Stateside columnist

Freelance writer covering mobile and gaming for @toucharcade, @Gamezebo, and more!


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Trevor Reeves
The demand for mobile is definitely there. Watching mobile games traditionally lacked certain aspects of desktop gaming which is changing relatively quickly with games like Vainglory coming out.

Many native solutions currently lack the ability to provide Alerts and interactions that are what make Twitch so popuar.

If you don't involve broadcast software, you won't be able to use popular solutions for Alerts such as although that will be changing as the tech improves.
Pascal Clarysse
The reason Twitch hasn't taken off on mobile is not lack of interest from developers and publishers, far from it. It's because Twitch mobile tech is notoriously hard to integrate, close to impossible in some games.

Which is why the one to watch right now in this field right now would be Mobcrush imho - they nailed easy integration of streaming tech in a mobile game and that is going to prove paramount to win this race. Their app also happens to have all the bells and whistles of a community, another key parameter.
Aaron Fothergill Co-Founder at Strange Flavour
The only problem with a system-wide record and reply system is that it wouldn't be compatible with all games by default as you'd imagine. Even though Everyplay and Kamcord are relatively low overhead, there's still some impact on the game's framerate and they can limit certain things (such as Everyplay being a problem for 60fps games in our experience).
By making the recording kit an option for devs to use, it lets them decide whether the features are worth the CPU/GPU tradeoffs in their game, rather than some games that were really pushing the max suddenly not being quite right.
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