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Caffeine Soft Launches, a Live Social Network for Gamers, Artists

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Twitch and YouTube Gaming have new competition, as Caffeine launched in pre-release mode yesterday. Caffeine is a live social network intended for gamers and artists, and it aims to provide better social features and more meaningful connections.

Caffeine broadcasting is available through Windows PC game broadcast software, a Windows or Mac webcam using a browser interface, or an iOS app. The developers have kept broadcasting simple, so there's no need to configure bitrates or IP addresses. People can go live in one click, they say. Caffeine's low-latency streaming is built on WebRTC, and creators can share their streams on Facebook and Twitter.

The team behind Caffeine is led by Ben Keighran and Sam Roberts, both of whom were previously executives at Apple. Keighran was the product design lead for Apple TV, while Roberts was a senior user experience designer. The company has already taken in $46 million thanks to two funding rounds led by Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners.

The idea behind Caffeine is to create a richer social experience. Users follow people and create social circles, discovering new content through personal recommendations. There are no fast-scrolling message feeds, as with other live platforms; instead, users have more meaningful conversations with content creators and friends. Comments from friends and comments upvoted by the community are given preference.

The company plans to formally launch in the first half of this year, with a creator monetization system appearing around the same time.

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