Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Vita's Youtube App - A Month Later

This is basically how I regard Youtube.

So it was just a little over a month ago, June 27th to be precise, when I first talked about the Youtube App in a rather positive light as, at the time, it did exactly what I wanted it to do - offer me the ability to watch the videos I wanted to watch.  It is, honestly, not a difficult task, especially for a service that is solely dedicated to offering videos to watch.  And honestly, it still does this task, although only mostly instead of totally which, no matter how you spin it, is a strike against the app.  A very deep, very broad strike against it.  It is akin to having a programmer on a video game who doesn't know a specific language well enough to write it, or having a TV that just forgets to display a color.  You have one job and you're not good at it, so what good is it?  Well, I still like it, but it's sort of a begrudging like, like a cat who always claws you when you pet it, or a certain food that tastes delicious but always causes digestive problems.

So my problem with the Youtube app is, simply, that it is, again, an app to let you watch videos that are on Youtube.  It is honestly a very, -very- simple process, but one that is assuredly mucked up on Youtube's side as it seems like there are just broad walls where content is blocked from even showing up, much less being watched.  You know those Vevo channels that are just completely annoying and basically spearheaded the whole "Youtube will mute your videos for having music in them" thing?  Yeah, just go ahead and try loading one up.  You cannot.  Which is fine and all, music is generally really friggin' hard to get to nowadays unless you're just throwing dollars at everything and anything  Besides, the Youtube App was always sort of broadcasted to be a 'Video Game-centric' App, right?  For video game videos because it is a video game -device-, you need constant video game exposure on it, thus spoke the power that be.

Where it becomes an issue is when there are video game videos, as in the subset niche that was specifically mentioned as the -thing- that the App catered to, that just don't friggin' show up no matter what.  I follow some Minecraft Let's Plays, as I've mentioned before, and there's one series in particular that I was trying to catch up on, and it was actually easy to do.  Things were numbered, I could just throw in the show name and the episode number that was next (if it wasn't in the Suggested videos, since who needs episode playlist support except Youtube on the computer) load it and watch.  Well there's one video in particular that, no matter what I did, type the name in exactly in the search, favorited it to try and force it into my favorite list, anything, would not show up.  This presents a problem, you see, because now I am missing something like forty friggin' minutes of gameplay between the video I just watched and the one that comes after it.  It's a small example, but it is no less egregious for that fact.

I would bet money that this is either a symptom of, or the cause of, no subscription support for the App (which is compounded by Youtube's need to fucking redesign the site every three months) which takes it down another notch pretty much every time you use it.  Search functions that -only find exactly what you're looking for- (which, let's face it, the Search function in the App barely does that, even) when there is literally a sea of billions of videos in the Youtube collective is not sufficient.  The streamlined system of searching for an author and then looking through their videos should -not- be that goddamn difficult to make happen and it's practically embarrassing that it's not present here.  I suppose the App was only meant to be a supplement, and not a stand-alone thing, but come on.  If you're going to do a thing, don't half-ass it because I don't care if you're only planning on casual use - somebody (like me) is going to want to use it for something more rather than wasting time and RAM and effort watching things on a POS computer in the scant amount of time he can be on it before going off to do any of a billion other things.

It's sufficient enough, I suppose, but I can't help being a little disappointed.  I touched on it a little in Tweets a while back, but I've always meant to get a little more in-depth with it, since I can think of too many reasons why it's a bad thing than I can tweet comfortably.  Like the fact that Youtube is content-driven, focusing on people who make content that a lot of people watch, since that means everybody gets a piece of the action that is generated from it.  Cutting things that make it easier for the basic user to find said content (since most people just use the service casually enough to just rely on whatever shows up in a subscription box) means the people who work hard to get this stuff recorded and encoded and the like just get the shaft since it partitions off who is able to watch it without jumping through hoops IF the content is, indeed, watchable at all, as per the example I gave above.  But I'm not surprised at all since, if Youtube is good at anything it's making all the wrong decisions and not suffering for them at all.  Seems like a running theme elsewhere too.

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