Whenever someone mentions that I should set up a livestream, the first hurdle that comes to mind is all the external hardware components I’ll have to set up in order to just capture game footage. If it’s for a mobile phone game, the logistics get even more complicated.
DeNA, one of Japan’s larger mobile game publishers and e-commerce providers, thinks it has a solution for this problem. Today, the company announces Mirrativ, a mobile phone livestreaming platform, whose beta test is going live today from 4 p.m. Pacific to 8 p.m. Pacific on Android (iOS is still in development).
In a ridiculously quick hands-on demo of Mirrativ last week, I was able to set up an account and start a live broadcast of a game running on an Android device within about three minutes. I didn’t need to hook up any external converters or fumble around with another camera. My gaming session was live, with my face and voice being captured wirelessly, with a delay from 3 seconds to 5 seconds.
The user interface on the broadcaster’s end allows for tweaking the stream settings on the fly and seeing viewer comments in real time. Adjusting the camera feed window is as easy as dragging it around with my finger and adjusting its scale (or turning it off altogether). It also provides options to make the mobile phone’s screen private during certain activities, such as receiving a text message, checking email, and answering the phone.
Viewers watching the stream through Mirrativ’s app can also show approval for things going on during the broadcast, by tapping an approval generator that will display an explosion of cartoon stars on the broadcaster’s device.
The entire experience seems incredibly simple and intuitive, so much so that I thought someone else must’ve figured this out already. It’s essentially using the phone’s camera and microphone to capture my face and voice while also capturing the device’s display.
Amazingly, so far, I’ve found a ton of applications that can capture either my phone’s desktop or allow me to toss a feed up from my camera, but nothing that combines both like Mirrativ. Even Twitch, the go-to company for all things livestreaming, only provides a solution for mobile developers to add support for easier access to its platform within it games. This makes it a game-by-game solution.
Yet I can’t find anything that is as robust and uncomplicated on the mobile platform.
Although DeNA is pushing Mirrativ as a game livestreaming app, and that’s absolutely what it is designed to do, I also see it as a potential one-up of the Vine and Periscope concepts. As more people find themselves thrust into the role of amateur journalists in hot spots such as Ferguson, I think there is great potential with how this app handles capturing content.
The person holding the device and capturing footage can set up a broadcast right then and there in seconds, complete with a miniature view of their face discussing the scene around them. The capability to give the camera operator a human face is a small one on the technical side, but it could be incredibly powerful from the narrative standpoint of our viral video world.
One snag holds this idea back: DeNA doesn’t seem to offer any sort of storage solution. So streams out of the gate will become nothing more than fleeting digital noise. If they can at least allow content to be uploaded to another source for archival purposes, or directly uploaded to a video repository such as YouTube, I think this app could be incredibly useful beyond gaming.