RIP Periscope, 2015-2021
Twitter is cleanin’ out the closet.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced that it is ending its live video service, Periscope, as a standalone app. The app will cease to exist as of March 2021, and people won’t be able to make new Periscope accounts starting with the next release.
Twitter acquired Periscope before the app even officially launched back in 2015. The ability for anyone to live stream might seem like it’s been around forever, but Periscope, and another app from the same era called Meerkat, were the two first live video streaming apps. In those halcyon days, it felt novel and exciting to broadcast yourself, and watch (and interact with via comments) live streams including everything from a person’s view at a live event to an intimate Q&A session with a stranger. One function allowed users to view all the live streams happening at that moment, which, if they were public, anyone could join.
Alas, Periscope’s corner on that market didn’t last for long. The pre-launch acquisition meant Twitter has been integrating live streaming tech into its own platform, adding the ability for Twitter users to go live directly on the app in late 2016. After the Periscope launch, Facebook also did what it does best and launched its own copycat service, Facebook Live, in mid-2016. Instagram Live followed shortly thereafter.
Given the big players in the ring, perhaps it’s surprising Periscope held on as long as it did. Meerkat, for its part, threw in the towel in 2016. However, its founder went on to create Houseparty, a group video chat app that has directly integrated games. Houseparty has enjoyed success especially in the last year as more people have needed to hang out with friends in a fun video chat setting amid the pandemic.
Twitter and Periscope say they are discontinuing the Periscope app because it is “in an unsustainable maintenance-mode state, and has been for a while.” That means user growth has stalled, and it’s costing more money than it’s worth to keep it up. Twitter also points to Periscope capabilities that exist within Twitter itself, its launch of Fleets, and its recent acquisition of video chat app Squad as additional reasons for bidding Periscope farewell.
The end of Periscope might have been inevitable from the moment it handed over the keys to Twitter. But thinking back on the app is also a nice reminder of how exciting it felt to first try out live streaming. Maybe we can bring that appreciation into the live streams we rely on for everything right now.
Published at Tue, 15 Dec 2020 22:34:34 +0000