Following the death of Mixer, Microsoft took a hands-off approach to game streaming on Xbox consoles. Any mention of streaming at all in the console’s Guide disappeared. Instead, Microsoft simply said, “You’re on your own. Download the Twitch app. Good luck.”
I’m going to be pretty blunt here: after trying to use this for a few weeks, I can safely say it sucks.
For starters, it is clunky as all hell. You either have to start the Twitch app and begin broadcasting before you open your game (which then shows a sort of “snooze” screen to viewers for a bit), or you have to:
- Open the game
- Back out
- Open the Twitch app
- Configure your settings for the stream.
- Back out again
- Open your game up again
It is definitely not as streamlined as the Mixer integration was. With that, all you had to do was open the guide and choose the option to start broadcasting. It was dead simple.
The Twitch app — though it does offer a lot of tweakable options — is also wildly inconsistent. Sometimes it doesn’t want to start broadcasting. Sometimes it throws me weird error codes while I’m browsing around inside of it. Sometimes it fails to detect the game I’m playing, which forces me to open Twitch via a browser and enter it manually. Not a great experience at all.
Lastly, by way of there only being a Twitch app, streaming is limited to Twitch. There is no way to stream to, say, YouTube. There is no built-in way to broadcast on Facebook, which is wild considering the fact that Microsoft sent a bunch of Mixer partners there. It is Twitch or bust, and because the process of actually getting a stream up and running is so convoluted, the only option for Xbox players is also a poor option.
At this point in time, it seems tough to argue that Sony hasn’t done a better job with streaming on the PS5. Starting a broadcast is easy, and there are other platform choices available. For Microsoft, there really is no excuse. The dashboard on the Xbox Series X and S is the same found on the Xbox One. It’s not as though Microsoft didn’t have time to add cool new streaming features into a brand new user interface. The company simply chose not to do it, and the experience is worse off as a result.
I truly hope Microsoft puts some people on this in the future, and eventually builds more robust streaming capabilities into the Xbox dash. What’s there now is a mess, and is quite honestly pretty embarrassing.