Twitch, the Amazon-owned social video platform and online gaming site, has added a new feature that reflects the site’s growth. Founded in 2011, Twitch was purchased by Amazon for $970 million dollars. In the gaming world, it has become the main hub by which users and creators interact and engage with other gamers and the video games themselves.
The streaming site has seen exponential growth in recent years and now boasts 9.7 million daily active users who are watching 106 minutes of content per person per day, along with over two million unique streamers each month of Twitch’s huge volume of content.
A new section called Communities is Twitch’s effort to “broaden the scope of its video game streaming site to include more types of content.” It’s designed to cater to users’ unique interests with categories like cosplay, music, painting, and more; but it’s also a way to encourage content discovery and bring in new users. The new Communities directory is all about creating ease when locating content based on specific interests, but also creating content. The features include:
- Directory: Viewers can discover relevant Communities, and creators can target Communities that best fit their broadcasts
- Stream wall: Live content is displayed from creators who are broadcasting to a specific Community
- Personalization: Each Community is its own self-contained area with its own rules, leader, etc.
- Moderation tools: Community leaders have the ability to moderate channels in their communities
For current Twitch users, this is a great way to find high-interest content specific to them, and for broadcasters, it’s a great way to find new users that can become potential subscribers to their channels. So it makes the site a lot more organized as it works to accommodate the needs of different types of users and different types of content that appear on the site on a daily basis.
Despite the core focus of Twitch as a social network to connect gamers and people who enjoy video games, the company is trying to extend its reach as it explores the many uses for its platform. For example, just this year the White House hosted a gaming marathon for more than 200 video game experts and fans in an effort to publicize the Affordable Care Act, since statistics show that younger males are some of the least insured. Over four hours of gameplay and interviews were streamed live to anyone on Twitch. This kind of use is just a glimpse into the future of the streaming site, and the untapped audience for Twitch is still large. Just consider the most recent statistics we have on Americans and video games:
- 155 million Americans play games on a regular basis (defined as three or more hours per week)
- The average gamer has been playing for 13 years
- 49% of all American adults play video games
- $16.5 billion dollars were spent on computers and video games in America in 2015
Streaming has only boosted those numbers. This year, the top digital downloads were League of Legends, Clash of Clans, and CrossFire. You can see commercials on television for these games on a regular basis, and more and more gamers are enjoying online streaming over traditional console play. For many, it’s simply more social, and more engaging. As the technology, tools, and trends of gaming evolve, sites like Twitch will be there willing and ready to evolve too.
You can stream the site’s content stream directly from your Xbox One or PS4. There are free options, but Twitch also offers an ad-free paid subscription along with paid channel subscriptions. Many Twitch users share footage of video game play, view others’ footage, and engage with other gamers in a variety of interactive ways. The possibilities are almost endless if you’re a gaming enthusiast.