Telltale says Batman's Crowd Play mode won't be able to handle latency caused by streaming

As a result, many players watching will fall behind, making it nearly impossible for the collective viewership to make choices together.

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Earlier this week Telltale announced a multiplayer mode titled Crowd Play for its upcoming Batman episodic adventure that will let a gaggle of friends and family vote on decisions while you play. In a blog post, the developer explained that Crowd Play wasn't designed with high-latency scenarios in mind—scenarios like, say, thousands of people crammed into a Twitch channel attempting to steer the Caped Crusader toward one morally ambiguous choice or another.

Crowd Play works by sending interested parties a URL that lets them view your game as you play. When a choice comes up, everyone votes on what to do. Depending on certain options set at the player's discretion, the choice with the highest number of votes will be carried out, or the player can override the collective and do what he or she thinks is best.

However, Telltale says Crowd Play works best in smaller, more intimate settings. "The most important point is that Crowd Play is a local multiplayer experience. It’s designed for everyone to be watching the same screen, at the same time, in the same room and works best with 6-12 people."

Streaming services such as Twitch will put a crimp in Crowd Play. "There is latency introduced by services such as Twitch. This means that everyone isn't seeing that game at the exact same time, which means that everyone doesn’t see the choices at the same time. The group can’t make a choice together at the same time. We are working closely with all the streaming services to address this problem, but it certainly won’t be ideal for streaming out of the box. For now, everyone needs to be in the same room, watching the same screen."

Here's hoping Telltale can figure out a way to mitigate latency issues soon. While the limitations posed by latency make sense, Crowd Play seems tailor made for the growing trend of hundreds of players joining a Twitch channel and sharing a gaming experience together. The structure of Telltale's adventure games post-Walking Dead combined with the voting feature of Crowd Play has all the makings of a reality TV show-like event that would be as fun to watch as it would be to join.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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