Updated: Dec 17, 2019
In the 40+ years since Video Games became mainstream we’ve seen major advancements not only in the way we
consume this media, but in all the ways we play. None have made an impact in the gaming world however quite like the practice of broadcast gaming; from Let’s Plays to Longplays, silent or reactionary “Streamers” command the attention of those willing to watch on various platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, and Mixer, building their communities and creating experiences that are truly customizable and memorable for all who watch. Unfortunately, as with all new ventures, in gaming there are always trial and error periods as players try to crack the code that ultimately leads to the perfect user/viewer experience. Where newcomer Our Spark International (OSI) has the upper hand is in their careful observance of the sites that came before them, their aspirations to bridge the gap between two nations with very different gaming climates and focus, and their determination to improve upon what they observed in order to usher in a brand new era of international broadcast gaming.
Coming off of a successful beta launch on November 11th, a visit to the OSI website (www.osigame.tv) is one that displays loud and clear the “all-inclusive experience” intentions of what the site aspires to achieve:
A large video window throws you right into the action of watching a random active streamer before even clicking anything.
When there isn’t anyone to choose from, the page defaults to a selected video with a sidebar of alternates to select from ranging from tutorials on how to run the site itself to popular ESports highlights.
Under the main window are featured games (all the usual suspects here such as PUBG, CS:GO, Overwatch, Hearthstone, LoL etc) on a nice scrollable line to take you right to related videos and stream clips,
A “news” section focused on all things gaming, rotating custom banners for featured streamers (the frequency of rotation TBD) as well as sections for currently popular stream channels and videos.
Spaces for QR codes at the bottom foreshadow future support to Android and IOS for mobile viewing, and various links to frequently updated social media accounts show an interest in being actively involved in the community OSI hopes to build.
This focus on community is most definitely the banner waving above OSI’s uphill march to find itself a place among their competitors. “One of the main focuses Our Spark is taking with their platform is to really be as hands-on with the community as possible,” says Marketing Director Way Stark. “We want to find new and inventive ways for streamers and viewers to interact together!” That statement rings most true in the channel experience: ads line the bottom of your channel page instead of preceding the stream in video form so that your viewers will never again miss a once-in-a-lifetime power play, almost instantaneous chat marquee across the video feed paired with a smaller delay window ensures optimal communication between streamer and viewer at all times, and on top of follow/subscription features viewers are encouraged to show their appreciation with “Gifts,” one of many elements that originate from the company’s Chinese origins and the experience they have in that scene (hence the “International” aspect of the company title) small interactions that have varying festive effects on the stream feed for everyone to enjoy. This and more try to not only hammer home the idea that game broadcasting and game broadcast viewing should be a shared effort, but through more direct communication with influential team members shows that the company who provides the platform should be directly involved in the community it establishes.
All of that said, these aspirations mean nothing if there are no people who populate the community, so OSI is inviting all to sign up and try out the site as the beta stage moves on through to the beginning of 2018, trying out the features that exist to suggest improvements/fixes as well as new ideas that they haven’t had a chance to look into yet. Briefly mentioned before, OSI hopes to build an experience that gamers worldwide can come to and find a permanent home, so all feedback is needed and greatly appreciated in order to make this something special. Joining on the ground floor as a streamer ensures that you’ll be working with a site that promises to promote peace of mind for you and your viewers. The team behind this platform consists of ex-pro gamers, avid ESports fans, popular streamers, and hardcore game fans alike who have all looked at what streaming is from personal experience and decided that there was more that could be built from this, so rest assured that when you join the website, you’re investing your time into an experience created entirely for fans, by fans like yourself.