All the details about the streaming video platform

What makes Twitch stand out amongst the competition like YouTube?

While scrolling through your list of apps on your Smart TV, you’ve probably come across Twitch. Or maybe you’ve received news that the latest esports competition will go live on Twitch. But what exactly is Twitch, and how is it different from competing live video streaming services like YouTube? Android Police is here to help answer these questions by diving into precisely what Twitch is and how to get started with the service/application, all while showcasing the best features that make Twitch stand out as a live game streaming platform.

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What is Twitch?

Twitch is an American live streaming video service that Amazon owns. Twitch.tv originally was Justin.tv, first launched in 2007, which started with a single channel featuring a 24/7 live stream of Justin Kan’s life, but later expanded into a network of channels allowing anyone to broadcast videos online. The dedicated gaming section of the website moved to Twitch, inevitably leading to the shutdown of Justin.tv to focus on rebranding to Twitch Interactive in 2014; Amazon eventually acquired the service.

Twitch as we know it today is currently populated by millions of viewers, accessing a surplus of categories for channels featuring games (including esports and personal channels), music streams, radio shows, “IRL” (in real life), and other general topics . It’s where streamers can earn an income on their channels, and personal streamers can easily showcase their activities. Twitch dominates the space for live content, beating out YouTube, the titan of online video content.


How to access Twitch

Twitch is accessed through the official Twitch app or from the official website. You are not required to register for an account to view live streaming content. However, you will be locked out from interacting with live chat, unable to follow channels, and will not have the ability to subscribe to streamers. So even though an account is not required to enjoy viewing Twitch, it’s strongly recommended.

If you’re planning to broadcast over Twitch, you must have an account to create your own Twitch channel, where streaming takes place. You have the option to customize your channel by navigating to the creator dashboard to set up your preferred streaming experience.

Twitch Features

Twitch offers several robust features that make it one of the best live streaming platforms. We’ve compiled a list highlighting some of the most notable features.

  • Viewership engagement: Viewers can interact with any streamer, provided the permissions are set, any time they are streaming through live chat. Streamers can set an overlay to include live chat in their stream, increasing the level of engagement from viewers. Live chat implement emotes (for followers and subscribers) and custom commands for bots.
  • Twitch extensions (or plugins): To further customize the Twitch experience, Twitch can utilize many extensions/plugins. The extensions may be app/product specific (eg, Prime Gaming, Spotify playlist), creating an overlay for your stream (esports may use to show scoreboards), social tools to include translation and localization, access to Twitch polls, and game-specific plugins to include information and mini-games.
  • Categories: We are ultimately here for the content, for both viewing and creating. Categories separate the focus of the content, making it a lot easier to browse through channels; categories can include specific games or a general social category, “Just Chatting.”
  • live streaming: Twitch offers an opportunity for content creators to earn enough to make a living off streaming, though it may still require a lot of work (and luck) to grow your channel. Viewers can follow your channel, subscribe and donate bits (virtual currency exchanged for real money). Streamers can also receive rewards, like actual money, through the Twitch Partnership and Affiliate program, but not anyone can sign up; you’ll have to apply to the program after fulfilling the conditions required.
  • Alerts and saved channels: Viewers can receive alerts when a streamer goes live by following a channel. Followed channels are saved to a library, and you can access all followed channels through a personal list. Once you’re logged into Twitch, you’ll also receive alerts on your Android and desktop app when a followed streamer goes live.
  • Viewership rewards: You can link accounts with other gaming applications or even Prime Gaming to access rewards like free games and loot. Some rewards are also acquired by spending some hours viewing a category; streamers enable drops in their channel, and it may include access to beta keys, exclusive in-game items, and more.


Twitch is a place for live entertainment

Twitch is one of the most popular platforms for live-streamed content; not only will you get your fill of gaming, but it is also a place to connect socially with content creators and personal streamers. Another perk of using Twitch as a social tool is the ability to zero in on your favorite hobbies. At the same time, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and interact with streamers and viewers who share your mutual interests. Twitch is everywhere, and because it’s all under the Amazon umbrella, it integrates well with other Amazon apps and services, like how Amazon Luna offers built-in support for Twitch.

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