Twitch: Pokémon livestream overloaded chat system

Due to the popularity of Twitch Plays Pokémon, other Twitch users are experiencing a lot of inconvenience; chat messages arrive delayed or not, even with other streams. Twitch Plays Pokémon is the live stream of Pokémon Red where viewers control what happens.

Twitch acknowledges the issue on their own blog. They state that they transferred the traffic for the Twitch Plays Pokémon chat room from the general chat server to the event server. It is normally reserved for League of Legends championships, for example. Twitch says they “want to see where this big experiment leads us,” so the service doesn’t seem to plan to take the stream off the air. Gaming website Kotaku received many reports of nuisance in response to their articles about TPP. Users stated that the chat functionality with streams that have nothing to do with TPP at all did not or hardly worked.

TPP is a stream of the Gameboy game Pokémon Red on an emulator. Viewers can control input into the emulator through Twitch’s chat functionality. TPP has two modes: democracy and anarchy. Users can continuously vote which mode the game should run. During anarchy every command is executed and in democracy only the most popular commands are executed.

The TPP stream has now been on the air for a week and in that time sixteen million different people have watched the stream. At peak times, there were hundreds of thousands at the same time. At the time of writing, 50,000 people are watching the stream. The playercharacter has since earned 4 badges, seen 79 different Pokémon, and released some valuable Pokémon. All progress is tracked by the participants in a Google Doc and Kotaku has tapped an extensive report of the game.