Streaming is everywhere right now. Twitch is the big dog in the yard, YouTube and Facebook are getting in on the action and Microsoft is integrating its newly acquired Beam platform into Xbox One and Windows 10.
It's big business and there are millions of gamers around the world getting in on the action. But for the new streamers getting started can be a daunting task. Growing an audience and getting noticed is harder than ever, and that's where Player.me comes in. The platform already helps gamers connect with the games they enjoy and the people who play them, and its first desktop app is taking things to a whole new level.
If you're getting into streaming, Player.me wants to be the place to be.
Player.me's cofounder, Sean Fee, describes the struggle for new streamers that the service wants to help overcome:
The Player.me desktop app will leverage technology from other SplitMediaLabs companies, XSplit and Strexm. For the first time Player.me will offer a direct streaming service, with XSplit at the core and utilising overlays from Strexm to help you produce an attractive, professional looking stream.
For new streamers this truly will be a one stop shop. Everything you need in one app.
The benefit to Player.me over just the (forthcoming) Windows 10 built in streaming is the widespread support of streaming platforms. Beam, Twitch, YouTube, Hitbox, Facebook, all are supported. Player.me will also walk you through setting up your first stream, step-by-step, including selecting and customizing an overlay to make your broadcast look its best.
That part comes from Strexm, and is actually going to be powered by the forthcoming version 2.0 update to the platform underneath. You'll have a selection of scenes and overlays to choose from, or some easy tools to create your own from a blank canvas.
Having seen it in action, Player.me is shaping up as a very slick way to set up and manage your streams. Even in its very early days. It's being designed as a fairly lightweight client, so hopefully the requirements to have really high-end PCs will be subsided a little.
There are also some neat overlays and custom hotkeys that mean you'll be able to manage everything on a single screen, bringing up panels that won't be seen by your viewers.
It's not just PC games, either. Capture cards will be supported for streaming console games, just as they are already in XSplit. Player.me is essentially going to be like an XSplit light, free to use and with some of the main features included, but lacking some of the extra bits that more experienced broadcasters might be looking for.
The core of what Player.me currently is won't be forgotten though. The whole purpose of the platform is to help the community come together and make the most of their gaming, and that will still continue. By linking your other accounts from places like Steam, Twitch, YouTube and such, a profile will be built up for you. Player.me will try to suggest games and gamers you might like to interact with based on what you already enjoy.
And all features of the current website will be folded directly into the application. You'll never be far away from your friends and followers, and it'll remain a simple process to display your own content for the world to enjoy. Streams can be posted automatically, as can your YouTube videos all by linking your accounts. There's even a basic video editor built in.
Above all, though, Player.me wants to help you connect, to grow your audience, to help your content get noticed and to help you find new, great content to enjoy.
The only drawback right now is that we can't use it. Not yet, anyway. The app is still in its very early stages, and there's a lot more still to do before it rolls out to the public. But, even where it is now, it's very slick and very nicely done.
It's also going to be a .exe download from Player.me, at least initially. The team are hoping to be able to put it into the Windows Store in the future, but initially there will be some parts of the app related to streaming that would cause an issue.
We've been told that there's a good relationship going on with Microsoft, though, and that being in the Store is very much something that they'd like to do with it in the future.
Initially it'll be a selected group of closed beta testers getting to grips with the app, with anyone interested able to sign up at app.player.me to request access to the beta. There's no time frame on when a wider release will happen, but it's shaping up to be something really awesome. Getting into streaming isn't easy, and that there's a platform out there that's trying to make it more accessible for more people is no bad thing. We look forward to seeing a lot more of it later on in 2017.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine