Part of Twitch‘s appeal has always been its status as a one-stop, go-to source of streaming entertainment for esports and gaming fans. But one esports site is looking to bridge the streaming gap between all platforms, and add some convenient features along the way.
Abios Gaming is a relative newcomer to the streaming scene. In an environment dominated by platforms for broadcasting gaming activities, Abios takes the unique position of liaison between the disparate corners of the esports world. More importantly for its users, the red-tinged website is a deceptively powerful mix of tools that endeavors to take the legwork out of esports fandom.
Since its inception, esports has relied on a strong, cohesive community for tracing, recording, and reporting on a myriad of disconnected activities. This gave rise to numerous resources for fans of specific games in the early to mid 2000’s, including Team Liquid for StarCraft fans, hltv.org for Counter-Strike fans, and Smashboards for Super Smash Bros. fans, just to name a few. This is to say nothing of the wealth of websites and wikis that constitute the breadth of strategic knowledge surrounding each of these complex games.
As casual spectators entry the fray, this system poses a challenge: finding and remembering the individual resources needed to follow several different titles at once. Unlike conventional sports fans who merely type ESPN into the address bar and enjoy a vast swath of the sports world in just a few clicks, esports fans have long accepted their fractured Internet ecosystem, though at the peril of the esports newcomer’s attention span.
This is where Abios comes in. Abios features an extension for web browser Chrome that allows esports fans to receive notifications and view a unified esports calendar.
The homepage for Abios is a deceptively simple rolling schedule of matches, containing play buttons that link to each game’s respective stream. Users can scroll endlessly through a complete calendar of known matches from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Hearthstone, League of Legends, StarCraft 2, Heroes of Newerth, Smite, and World of Warcraft.
Simple functions like this are the heart of Abios. The schedule is nothing more than conventional sports fans enjoy via ESPN or TheScore. But the aggregation and presentation of numerous esports calendars in a readable format in one place is exactly the kind of basic functionality that the scattered world of esports hasn’t had.
A laundry list of other features comprise the remainder of the platform. Included among them are a cross-platform stream directory, tournament directory (including prize pools and streamers), news content aggregator, and handy Google Chrome app that provides pop-up notifications for scheduled matches, including a link to the game’s stream. Users can even filter presented content by ticking checkboxes in a list of esports titles.
But perhaps the most interesting feature of the platform is that it provides endless streaming entertainment without offering any streaming services of its own. Links to streams take viewers to pages on Abios’s website with embedded streams from Twitch and hitbox, complete with chat.
At least for now, neither Twitch nor hitbox are bothered by the practice.
“We don’t have an issue with other sites using our embeds,” says Chase, public relations director of Twitch, Abios’s biggest “contributor.”
“The referral traffic, even if small, is always nice,” says Cody Conners, vice president of community and partnerships at hitbox. “Yesterday we saw a website paywalling some of our Polish streamers. Something that like that I obviously have qualms with, but I don’t see a tremendous difference between [Abios] and TeamLiquid acting as hub for all the StarCraft content.”
Unless (or, perhaps, until) controversy arises, Abios Gaming is an ambitious effort at tying up the loose ends of the gaming world. If it, or any other site, manages to do so, it will likely mean a lot less headaches and typing for a fanbase that’s made Internet research a part of their daily routine.