keekerdc.com

essays and pithy thoughts

Streaming lessons I learned years ago...

in glhf

…which MLG apparently just got hip to this weekend:

  • Octoshape sucks. A big one. You might save a little money by leveraging some peer-to-peer bandwidth sharing, but the degradation in viewer experience, and subsequent abuse you’re going to endure over twitter, is not worth it.<
  • It’s rarely worth building and maintaing your own streaming architecture. Contracting with a third party to provide a scaling platform for streaming might cost a little more, but it’s well worth not having to eat it later in the form of free PPV passes. Filling your fixed streaming capacity is a good problem to have as a hobby project, where the stream is free and you’re not looking to turn profits; it’s the sort of problem I had quite a bit in the days of streaming CoD2/4 and Battlefield, and is solved by simply telling people to show up earlier, or watch the VOD. It’s not a good problem to have when the entirety of your paid audience can’t get the product they paid for because you failed to anticipate demand by HALF.

    Last night, as we began our live broadcast, our site crashed due to high traffic. Following the site restoration, our streams remain difficult to access. We offer our sincere apologies for the issues you experienced last night and are continuing to experience.

    More than twice the number of people we expected, from 128 countries, have tuned in to watch the Dallas event. We were simply underprepared for the epic traffic.

    NT attempting to make this look like a good thing. Being under-prepared for epic traffic is an epic fail at the most fundamental of levels. It would have been less costly in PR terms for them to have streamed this weekend over UStream or Justin.tv than to stubbornly keep plugging away at their own inadequate architecture; I know at least one of those services offers a paid route which allows you to ditch the Google ads and overlay your own preroll ads, as well as customize the player…which is surely the reason why they felt locked into their own architecture/platform.

  • There has never been a single event in the history of gaming that has not experienced internet/network issues of some kind at some point. If it’s mission-critical, relying on the venue is not an option.
  • 500kbps is no longer a passable bitrate for a gaming stream of any kind. Free or otherwise. I haven’t streamed anything at that bitrate since 2007.

The talk today about the event should be about the matches. Instead, it’s about technical implementation. I actually pulled the site up on Saturday to watch, and most times the stream wasn’t actually working, and the one time I was able to get a stream, it was just some dude standing there for five minutes…followed by a ‘starting shortly’ sort of splash screen for a half hour. After starting the season off with this sorry display, I’m not sure they’re going to have to worry about running into capacity issues for a while…

Addendum: yes, that last line was a bit of rhetorical hyperbole…before the faithful start piling on me like last time.

I’m sure MLG has thought of all of the above before. What I’m not sure of is why it hasn’t been acted on.