- Free with no ads
- Built-in desktop and mobile streaming software
- Popular mainstream entertainment channels
- Stylish presentation
- Low optimal resolution for gaming
- Lacks console or set-top box apps
|Mobile Broadcasting, Mobile Viewing
Before Twitch became the hugely popular Amazon-owned video game streaming service, it was just Justin.tv. Although live streaming was always its main appeal, Justin.tv had a broad channel library that also encompassed non-gaming content. However, Twitch is clearly focused on gaming content; if you’re interested in mainstream live-streaming services with different types of programming, consider Caffeine instead.
Getting Started With Caffeine
Caffeine offers a free account that works on your desktop and mobile devices. The service includes its own streaming software based on the popular OBS software. This makes it one of the few live-streaming services to offer this type of feature. Additionally, Caffeine’s app is compatible with over 900 PC games as of this writing–a strong mix encompassing big hits like Apex Legends and Fortnite and indie gems like Where the Water Tastes Like Wine. I was happy to see How Not To Die featured in their lineup since it’s a game I contributed to myself (full disclosure: my wife also contributes code).
Broadcasting live video via webcam is a great way for novice broadcasters, as it’s easy and doesn’t require streaming games. Plus, with the press of a button, you can capture real-world action to use as your thumbnail.
You can view and interact with streams on Android and iOS devices and broadcast live from mobile devices. Twitch is available on most devices you could think of, including gaming consoles and set-top boxes. Caffeine’s mainstream entertainment channels would feel right at home on a television screen. Service offers no ads.
What Can You Watch on Caffeine?
Video games are one of the most popular categories for caffeine consumption. When you visit their website or open the app, you’ll be bombarded with streams for Call of Duty and Valorant like on any other live streaming service. Red Bull Gaming is a featured channel. Unfortunately, video game streams using Caffeine’s optimal resolution reach only 540p at 30 frames per second; this is low compared to people who are used to 1080p/60fps visuals. In fact, the stylish interface makes it even more noticeable.
Caffeine is a streaming service with prominent, exclusive content from well-known studios. For example, Disney and Fox have a partnership that dates back to before the former acquired the latter’s film and TV divisions. This gives Caffeine an edge over more organic streaming communities in terms of a corporate feel. In addition, this year, Caffeine teamed up with Twitch to stream Super Bowl pregame festivities live. Fox Soul is an interactive talk show about African-American culture hosted by celebrities such as Drake and, Eric B & Rakim. You can watch the Ultimate Rap League Show on Caffeine too! Compared to 720p/30fps streams for gaming purposes, 1080p/24fps provides a better viewing experience for non-gaming shows like Fox Soul.
Caffeine’s layout effectively keeps users engaged and aware of the shows they may be interested in. The glossy presentation provides dense coverage of trending games, stars to follow, videos to watch right now, and previews for upcoming shows. Clicking the clock button on the top navigation bar creates a calendar free from distractions. Videos are archived, so you can watch them later without missing any live action.
Making Money on Caffeine
Live streaming services need a strong community of broadcasters in order to remain popular. Unlike traditional platforms, which rely on revenue from content creators (such as celebrities), Caffeine is able to support its users through advertising and subscription fees. However, given the platform’s recent growth, it may not be appropriate for everyone to become a broadcaster.
Caffeine has a partner program that offers benefits like swag, access to other partners, experimental features, and invitations to exclusive events. Partners also earn money from reaching specific milestones. Before becoming a full-time partner, you can first grow your audience by joining the Caffeine Cast network as ancaster to have your channel featured on the homepage. But you don’t need to be partnered in order to make money. Viewers can spend gold coins (earned through spending) on items sent via chat stream updates in order to give gifts or rewards directlyto broadcasters. These credits are then used as currency when traders exchange them for real cash.
As a way of building community, caffeine has a Discord server. However, there is no proper Discord integration like on Twitch and YouTube – viewers can’t pay to subscribe to your channel or purchase any premium features. In fact, aside from one-time gifts, viewers can’t even directly contribute money to you. That’s great for viewers but potentially worrisome for broadcasters who rely on monetization (such as through ads). I get the sense that Caffeine will only be able to sustain this free model for a limited time due to its generous venture capital funding; eventually, it may need to pivot towards a business model that is more eager to capture viewer dollars after establishing initial goodwill.
Live streaming technology is far too interesting to be limited to video games. It has the potential to revolutionize entertainment in general, and there are dedicated services that do a great job of showcasing this capability (Our Editors’ Choice, Twitch). However, Caffeine should not limit its ambitions by only focusing on live-streaming games; it should also look into providing more content that appeals beyond people who primarily watch players battle royals all day.
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Title: Live streaming entertainment never sleeps, with caffeine reviews being a popular way to stay entertained