Social experiment has had over 17 million views

Twitch Plays Pokemon live stream crashes Twitch servers

The Twitch Plays Pokemon live stream is so popular, it has begun affecting the rest of Twitch’s servers.

Confirming the popularity of the “bonafide phenomenon”, Twitch customer experience director Jason Maestas said that “the unique nature and huge chat participation in the TwitchPlaysPokemon experiment has put enormous (and unforeseen) stress on our chat system”.

In response to the effect of the stream – which Maestas detailed as seeing over 100,000 peak viewers at any time, and has had over 17 million total views – on the rest of the site, Twitch has now moved the on-going game to its own dedicated server, usually reserved for major events like The International and League Championship Series e-sports tournaments.

Twitch Plays Pokemon is a social experiment in which viewers of the stream can input the controls for a game of Pokemon Red/Blue, which is running on an emulator.

The controls are mimicked in-game, but often result in erratic and nonsensical actions as thousands of players fight for control.

A new ‘anarchy or democracy’ feature was added several days into the stream, which allows players to additionally vote for ‘anarchy’ – where inputs are put in as submitted by individual players – or ‘democracy’, where players can choose to vote for a series of multiple actions.

At the time of writing, the stream has been running for over eight days and nine hours, and has already seen a number of popular in-jokes and memes spawned from the chaotic and unpredictable behaviour of the in-game character.

One such meme is the character’s repeated attempts to use the ‘Helix Fossil’ item instead of fighting Pokemon or moving to the next location.

Experience the madness for yourself below:

Watch live video from TwitchPlaysPokemon on

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