What is Twitch and how does it work?

The pandemic has been a major catalyst in the explosion of games and live streaming in mainstream culture. Stuck inside their homes, people developed these new hobbies and flocked to websites like Twitch to watch other people play games or do it on their own. At the start of last year, the Amazon-owned company climbed 82%, reaching 1.8 billion hours watched. Its popularity has grown steadily, with big sports companies and politicians using the platform as a medium to disseminate their content or ideas.

What is Twitch?

Twitch is basically a streaming platform, where people can stream each other live while playing video games, cooking, or doing just about anything that can be caught on camera. The concept behind Twitch came from Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, who in 2007 launched a website called Justin.tv, allowing people to stream and chat with a live audience. Thanks to a large game-based crowd, it was later renamed Twitch Interactive in 2014, with Amazon acquiring the company for $ 970 million.

Although it is games-centric, over the years Twitch has evolved into other categories, where you can see people vlogging live, cooking, creating art, playing, making music, singing. and much more, making the platform one of the most popular forms of online entertainment. The “Just Chatting” section, in particular, is the one that gets the most traffic, although in most cases it’s just the streamer sitting casually and talking to their viewers.

The “Just Chat” category usually has the most viewers. (Image credit: Twitch)

Esports organizations also use the platform to host tournaments, while others conduct live interviews with sports players (NBA), or even enter into sponsorship deals with specific streamers to increase their base. users. For example, mobile payment service Cash App partnered with some streamers last year to give away thousands of dollars to random viewers in the chat.

Twitch subscriptions

If you happen to enjoy a streamer’s content, you can support them by donating money, subscribing to their channel for a small monthly fee, or donating bits, which is a currency. on the platform. Previously, these subscriptions were priced at $ 5 (around Rs 375), but in the middle of last year, Twitch introduced regional pricing, reducing costs. Subscribing to someone through the browser will now cost you Rs 110, while on a mobile device you will have to pay Rs 120.

Subscriptions also offer perks like ad-free viewing, a cool badge next to your name, and exclusive emoticons that can be used across the platform. You can also gift them to a specific viewer or distribute them randomly, in custom quantities to a community.

Plus, they come in three tiers, where the latter two grant more emotes and a noteworthy badge, and are meant for those who feel like giving a streamer more money. Streamers also make money through referrals, esports tournaments, affiliate links, and ads, which many high profile streamers avoid showing.

Twitch subscription screen. (Image credit: Twitch)

Channel points

Watching a stream for long periods of time also benefits the viewer, as it accumulates chain points over time. These points can be used to claim rewards such as emoticon unlocks, playing specific sounds, text to speech messages, send highlight messages, or any type of bet decided by the streamer. Following someone awards 300 points, while visiting their channel every day gives you bonus points for “Watch Streak”, ranging from +300 to +450 points, depending on how long you keep going. The more points you collect, the better the rewards you can redeem.

The content is varied as well, with freelance journalists like Hasan Piker using the platform to host and talk about the US presidential election and general politics. And if that doesn’t appeal to you, there are informal options, like Maya Higa, who runs a nonprofit called Alveus Sanctuary and educates her viewers about animal conservation.

For die-hard gamers, you have retired pro gamers like Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek and Brandon “aceu” Winn, who are known for their classy shooter and mastery of aiming. On the flip side, streamers like Felix “xQcOW” Lengyel and Eric “erobb221” Robbins have amassed a massive following for playing a variety of games, reacting to memes on their subreddit, and generally having a good time. People watch them mainly because they adore their personalities.

There is also a range of artists, who not only do commissioned work but also teach their audience different techniques to make drawing easier for them. Popular DC Comics Artist and CEO Jim Lee can often be seen drawing iconic characters and giving them to random viewers, while Daphne “39daph” Wai makes it his goal to draw art. digital every day for the first two hours before launching into the game.

Twitch Prime / Prime Gaming

Formerly known as Twitch Prime, Prime Gaming is a premium feature that offers bonus games, in-game content, and a free Twitch subscription every month. Users with an Amazon Prime subscription can connect it to their Twitch account and redeem their free channel subscription on any broadcaster of their choice. It runs out every 30 days, after which you can resubscribe or donate it to another streamer.

Twitch Prime / Prime Gaming subscription screen. (Screenshot)

If you don’t have a Prime account, you can still sign up for a 30-day free trial, after which you can cancel or choose to continue the service. Unfortunately, this feature is only available in the United States and is expected to expand to other countries soon.

BTTV and FrankerFaceZ emotes

If you’re fairly new to Twitch, you might run into technical lingo such as BTTV and FFZ emotes. In fact, most of the popular streamers’ threads may seem impossible to understand because you see spam from unknown words such as “OMEGALUL”, “PepeLaugh” or “Lamonting”. These words basically translate to emotes that can be unlocked through third-party plugins, namely Better Twitch TV (BTTV) or FrankerFaceZ (FFZ).

Menu of the best BTTV (Better Twitch TV) emoticons. (Screenshot)

Not only do these extensions improve your Twitch chat experience, they also personalize the entire website to your preferences. By adding it to your browser, you will instantly see a range of emoticons in place of the aforementioned words. Some of them are animated emoticons (GIFs) which can be used to convey specific emotions or you can be creative with them.

Other features include the ability to turn off the home page’s autoplay feature, a dark mode, autofill usernames by tab key, and the ability to view messages that have been deleted by users. moderators. As a partner streamer, it also allows you to add any desired emoticons to your channel or create one yourself.

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