There are two groups of people now. Those broadcasting themselves on Twitch and those of us with kids watching others play video games on Twitch. Since it’s inception in 2011, Twitch.tv has become the world’s leading social video service and community for gamers. Each day, millions of community members gather to watch, talk, and chat about shared interests. Twitch’s video service is the backbone of both live and on-demand distribution for all types of content, including the entire video game ecosystem and some creative arts like Bob Ross painting.
It’s the engine of that popular thing known as eSports and as of late become the way most conventions stream their popular content. This weekend marks Twitch’s third full-sized celebration of streaming culture, TwitchCon. We’ve been having a blast all weekend in what’s sure to be Long Beach, California’s largest-ever convention gathering. There is tons to talk about from all the off-the-wall rad stuff the show floor had to offer: lightsaber fights, VR babies battling in weaponized mini-cars, informative panels on how to navigate game culture, and parties, parties, parties.
Before all that, we wanted to reminisce on the show’s Friday morning keynote which began all the festivities. Twitch CEO Emmett Shear and a group of company executives gave a company state of the union. Since the 2014 acquisition of Twitch by Amazon, the self-streaming service has expanded with more ways for those with gaming passions to have a chance at earning real money by doing that thing parents kept warning their kids about, playing too many video games. Earlier this year, Twitch expanded monetization support to tens of thousands of non-partnered streamers (those either just seriously starting out or still developing followings) with the Twitch Affiliates Program. Within six months after its launch, over 110,000 creators have joined the program. Twitch’s commitment to building the most means of monetization for creators has resulted in a massive year-over-year increase in revenue. In 2017, more than double the amount of money was paid to individual Partners (Those streamers with large monetizable followings) with 71% more money generated on average.
They’re massively impressive stats, but most impressive about Twitch’s keynote was their active participation in giving its clientele effective tools in audience cultivation. Not necessarily about solely numbers, but giving streamers help in removing toxic voices in their chats (should they chose) and those who harass other viewers.
Twitch unveiled a feature they refer to as Stream Summary.
Stream summary: Creators want to know how their stream went after it ends and starting in November, Stream Summary makes that a reality. This summary will include the most relevant stats around viewers, follows, and chat activity, surface top clips, and show how their last stream impacted progress towards becoming an Affiliate or Partner. Timing: November 2017.
Along with a “Ritual”, they call Rooms.
Rooms: With Rooms, creators can develop smaller, parallel chat groups for users with shared interests, including moderators, subscribers, followers, and other community members. Timing: Q4 2017.
Both these tools have the potential for use other than video games on Twitch.
With over 15 million daily active users, Twitch has been embraced by nearly every corporation as the next way to reach coveted audience segments. So why not comics? The Kinda Funny boys do their new comics day show, some artist illustrate live, and cosplayers have been known to document their constructions through Twitch. Creators, if you want to reach an impressionable segment of audience by simply playing video games and talking about comics then get streaming. Lately, there’s been a lot of backlash from comics creators against people who make YouTube videos and vice versa. It’s giving both comics and internet video cultures a bad name. Spend five minutes at TwitchCon and you’ll see there’s a positive energy about all creative things, static to interactive, which vastly outweighs whiney ass-clowns on the internet. There’s still community to be cultivated and Twitch just might be the way to do it.
As with every gaming-centric show, we’ll post our five favorite experiences from the convention. Look for it in the next few days. If you’re interested in having strangers become friends by watching you play video games then go to Twitch.tv and get started.