How Twitch Works


Twitch co-founders Justin Kan (left) and Emmett Shear
Twitch co-founders Justin Kan (left) and Emmett Shear
Image courtesy of Twitch

People have played games for ages, and for as long as we've had them, we've also had game spectators. Although many think of video games as a solitary pursuit, or at most something shared among friends or in limited online multiplayer groups, they are becoming something of a spectator sport in their own right.

Competitive gaming, even at the professional level, has existed for decades. In the 1990s, a player named Dennis Fong (under the handle Thresh) was able to make a living playing Quake and other popular first person shooters of the day through tournament prize money and corporate sponsorships, becoming widely acknowledged as the first professional gamer. And others followed suit.

Now there are a lot more games out there, and a lot more competition for pro gamers. But there are also lots more ways for them to gain attention. Leaps in technology and the number of people online -- as well as the advent of video sites such as YouTube, founded in 2005 -- have led to some people's in-home gaming sessions reaching hundreds, thousands or sometimes even millions of viewers. Live video streaming sites like Justin.tv, launched in 2007, have allowed live video game broadcasting from everyday players to become a thing. Game broadcasting was, in fact, so popular on the site that co-founders Justin Kan and Emmett Shear launched a spin off site in June 2011 dedicated entirely to gameplay live-streams -- Twitch TV.

Now simply called Twitch, the site's popularity is growing by leaps and bounds. Even before it officially launched, Twitch.tv was getting 3 million unique monthly users [source: O'Dell]. The site now gets 45 million unique visitors every month, and boasts around 900,000 unique broadcasters per month [sources: Ewalt, Twitch Interactive, Twitch Advertising]. In early 2014, Justin.tv's parent company name was changed to Twitch Interactive.

The short of it is that game live-streaming site Twitch is very popular. But what exactly can you see and do on the site? Read on to find out.

What does Twitch have to offer and who can use it?

Twitch is an online site that allows users to watch or broadcast live streaming or pre-recorded video of broadcaster's video game gameplay. A Twitch broadcast often includes audio commentary from the player, and video of the player might appear on the edge of the screen via their webcam. There's also running chat from viewers on the screen that the broadcaster can respond to if he or she wishes.

The games people broadcast run the gamut from indie titles to huge blockbuster games. You can find broadcasts of the popular sandbox game "Minecraft," fantasy role playing games like "Starcraft" and "World of Warcraft," life simulation games like "The Sims," first person shooters such as "Halo" and "Call of Duty," fighting games like "Ultra Street Fighter 4" and racing games such as "Forza" and "Mario Kart." People even stream old school games. There's really no limit.

Twitch also hosts e-sports tournaments where matches between competitive players are displayed with live commentary, and live-streams of news, events and demos from popular gaming conventions like Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), BlizzCon, Penny Arcade eXpo (PAX) East and PAX Prime.

You can use the site to see your favorite players, view your favorite games, pick up game tips, discover new games or just browse for fun. You might be drawn to the games themselves, the personalities of the broadcasters or the social aspects of the site.

Per Twitch's terms of service, users are supposed to be no younger than 13, and users between 13 and 18 are only supposed to use the site under parental supervision. Twitch can suspend your account or channel if you do not adhere to their terms of service or the rules of conduct. Violations of the latter can include copyright infringement, harassment, hate speech, sexually explicit content, illegal activity, spamming, hacking games, streaming games before their NDA-enforced official release dates or streaming content that isn't game related. Channel owners can also suspend you from their channels for any reason.

Anyone can view live gameplay or archived videos on Twitch, but in order to broadcast or participate in chat, you have to sign up for a free Twitch membership. As a user, you can mark channels to follow and participate in chat. You can even subscribe to individual channels for a fee, or pay Twitch for a Turbo membership, which comes with extra perks. It's even possible for some people to earn money via Twitch.

Continue reading to find out how to partake of Twitch's content.

How do you use Twitch?

Twitch’s website directory can be browsed by anyone.
Twitch’s website directory can be browsed by anyone.
Image courtesy of Twitch

To view most content, you need only go to www.twitch.tv on any Internet-enabled device. But to get the full experience, including the ability to broadcast your own gameplay, you need to sign up for a membership. Once you're signed up, you get your own user page, called a channel, with your chosen user ID as part of the URL (in the form www.twitch.tv/username).

Each channel is headed by a profile picture (if the user sets one), an editable channel name and the username, just above a video window where you can see whatever the broadcaster is streaming. When a user isn't broadcasting on his or her channel, the message "OFFLINE" appears in the video window, unless they've set some other content to play. Underneath the video, there are buttons that allow you to follow the channel, bookmark or share the video, and report or message the user. You can also see stats on how many people are watching now and how many total views and followers the channel has.

There's a navigation bar to the left, and a chat window to the right, unless you've expanded the video and obscured it. You can see a running stream of people's messages and can even participate yourself. Many broadcasters respond to chats out loud, and some may even participate in and live-stream matches with some of their viewers. You can also send private message to other users. This level of interaction between broadcasters and viewers, and viewers and other viewers, makes Twitch a more social experience than simply watching videos of someone play a game.

Once you log in, you can click on your username at the top right-hand corner of the main page and choose "Channel," "Profile," "Dashboard," "Messages" or "Settings," or log out. All except the latter take you to some part of your account. From any of these pages you should see the left-hand navigation bar down the page, with links to a lot of the same things, plus "Following" (channels you are following) and "Subscriptions" (channels for which you've purchased subscriptions). If your screen is small, the navigation links might appear as icons. Under "Settings," you can set your profile information, choose what displays when you aren't live, choose to have all of your broadcasts archived, set security and notification settings and view and control links to and from third-party sites and software, among other things.

The site makes it easy to browse and search by channel or game title. You can find live streams or archived videos. Twitch will only archive video of game broadcasts if the channel owner selects "Archive Broadcasts" in their settings. The videos are deleted after a few days to save space unless the owner marks a video as "Save Forever." If you are watching someone else's channel, you can even create a bookmark, which gives you a link to get back to whatever spot you bookmarked, provided the video is still saved.

There are lots of ways to access Twitch and view its content. You can go to the site on your computer, gaming console or mobile devices via web browsers or dedicated Twitch apps. Twitch has apps for many devices including mobile apps for Android and iOS devices, through which you can browse and search channels, watch live-streams and participate in chat away from your computer. Twitch apps are also available for some gaming consoles. It varies from app to app whether you can broadcast and chat, or just browse and view. Devices on which you can at least watch Twitch content include:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360
  • Ouya
  • Nvidia Shield
  • laptops and desktops
  • tablets and smart phones

Once you are viewing or chatting on the site, the next logical step is broadcasting your own gameplay. Read on to find out how.

Broadcasting Via Twitch

Once you sign up for a free Twitch account, you may only be a few short steps away from broadcasting your gameplay, as long as you have the right hardware and software. The basic necessities are a computer or gaming console and software (either downloaded or built-in) for video capture and transmission to Twitch. Twitch suggests several software packages that are compatible with its requirements, along with some handy guides on its support pages to help you pick the right settings. (Hardware and software will be covered in more detail in the next two sections.)

Broadcast software will generally allow you to pick your streaming service from a drop down list, Twitch included, so that you can link to the Twitch site. You will either enter your Twitch username and password, or your stream key, which you can find by logging into the Twitch site, hitting the "Stream Key" link on your dashboard and hitting the "Show Key" button. You can then copy and paste it into the broadcast software where requested.

Most of the software allows you to view a preview before you actually start live broadcasting. Or you can go right ahead and start a broadcast and go to your Twitch dashboard or your channel page to view it, give it a name, select the game you are playing (so that your channel will show up in game searches) and see if you need to make any adjustments. From the dashboard, you can also view previously recorded streams, highlights or bookmarks you have saved, and see your activity and stats. You can add editors so that other people can manage and update your channel, but the editors must be Twitch users who are following you.

While you're live-streaming, the dashboard displays a handy "Stream Configuration Quality" rating to let you know if your streaming software video settings are optimal. Possible ratings are Excellent, Acceptable and Incompatible, and Twitch may refuse to accept your stream if it is rated Incompatible. Be careful what you have on screen, because with some of the software packages, you can easily throw your whole desktop into your live stream. And remember: Your microphone is also likely live unless you set the software not to capture it.

Aside from broadcasting, chatting with viewers and otherwise having gaming fun, Twitch broadcasters can also apply to join Twitch's partnership program via an online application. If accepted, partnership will give you perks like potential ad and subscription revenue, the ability to choose when commercials run so that your broadcasts aren't interrupted at awkward moments, and automatic transcoding of your content. Automatic transcoding allows broadcasters to stream at the highest possible quality, and for partner channels, the site gives viewers the ability to pick different resolutions so that they can view at the level that works best with their devices.

Partners have more control of chat through functions that allow them to ban people, display commercials and set users as moderators, among other things. Partners can also edit their archived video into highlight clips, have them automatically uploaded to YouTube and allow viewers to create highlight reels to upload to YouTube themselves. General guidelines for acceptance into the Partner Program for a Twitch broadcaster include having an average of 500 viewers at a time, regularly broadcasting at least three times per week and conforming to the terms of service and DCMA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) guidelines. For new users, the guidelines include things like 15,000 views per video and 100,000 subscribers on another streaming site. These aren't hard and fast rules, though. Twitch encourages anyone who thinks they have an idea or a claim to fame that would attract an audience to apply, such as a noteworthy presence on social media, competitive gaming credentials or plans to stream unique content.

But before you can even get to that point, you need to start broadcasting. Continue reading to find out more technical details of what you need to start streaming your video game sessions.

Broadcasting Hardware

Viewers can watch Twitch on their mobiles devices. It’s shown here displayed on an iPad.
Viewers can watch Twitch on their mobiles devices. It’s shown here displayed on an iPad.
Image courtesy of Twitch

The basic hardware elements necessary for broadcasting to Twitch are a computer or gaming console running the right software, and a good broadband Internet connection. If you want to include video of yourself and audio commentary, a webcam and microphone (even just your built-in computer microphone) are necessary.

Want to play and share from your gaming computer? These are the recommended system specifications for broadcasting Twitch from a PC:

  • At least an Intel Core i5-4670 or AMD equivalent CPU
  • At least 8 gigabytes (GB) of DDR3 SDRAM memory
  • Windows 7 Home Premium or later OS
  • A GPU that supports DirectX 10 and up

Recommended system specifications for broadcasting from a Mac are:

  • At least a 2.3 gigahertz (GHz) Intel Core i5 CPU
  • At least 4GM of DDR3 SDRAM memory
  • A dedicated graphics card such as an AMD Radeon

You may be still able to broadcast even if your system doesn't quite meet these standards, so if your current computer is fairly modern, give it a try before ditching it for a new model.

An easier (and possibly cheaper) alternative is a new gaming console. The latest generation gaming consoles -- Xbox One and PlayStation 4 -- both have built-in support for Twitch viewing and broadcasting.

PlayStation 4 was the first of the major consoles to provide Twitch broadcasting functionality, and PS4 users made up 20 percent of Twitch's broadcasters from late December 2013 to early January 2014 [source: Twitch Official Blog]. To share your gameplay, you simply hit the "Share" button on the DualShock 4 controller, select "Broadcast Gameplay," select your streaming service and channel (if you have more than one of either), make any settings adjustments you want and then select "Start Broadcasting." PS4 allows broadcasting through Twitch and Ustream, and if you don't yet have an account, it will prompt you to sign up for one when you select one of the services. PS4 does currently limit the amount of time you can broadcast your gameplay, and if you want to show video of yourself alongside the game, you will need PS4's optional PlayStation Camera peripheral.

Microsoft added Twitch broadcasting functionality to Xbox One in March 2014 via its Twitch app. It has some extra features, including the ability to view any Twitch stream from any game platform, not just other Xbox streams, and the ability to archive your game broadcasts. You just need to download the Twitch app to get started. To broadcast, you say the voice command, "Xbox, broadcast," or go to the Twitch app via your controller and launch your broadcast from there. You can display video of yourself via Kinect, which incorporates a camera and comes standard with Xbox One. You can even pull up the Twitch app in Snap Mode while you're broadcasting to see your broadcast from the viewers' point of view or browse for other channels. Viewers can chat and even request to join the broadcaster's party. Xbox 360 also has a Twitch app that allows users to browse and watch the top 300 Twitch channels, but not to broadcast.

To broadcast streams from older consoles, you can use a capture card to connect your console to your PC, using whatever cables your equipment requires. Some capture cards mentioned in Twitch Support Center articles include:

  • AVerMedia: Game Broadcaster HD (C127)
  • AVerMedia: HD DVR/DarkCrystal HD Capture Pro (C027)
  • AVerMedia: Live Gamer HD (C985)
  • Elgato Game Capture HD
  • Roxio Game Capture HD Pro

Their compatibility with various broadcasting software is also mentioned in the support posts for each one. Read on to find out more about software that you can use to stream to your Twitch channel.

Broadcasting Software

Broadcasting your gameplay via Twitch requires having the right software to capture and encode your video and audio -- as well as at least one video game. The Twitch "Broadcast" page highlights several common broadcasting software tools that you can download from third-party sites and install on your Windows-based PC, including the following:

  • Open Broadcast Software -- This is a completely free and open source broadcasting software that lets you record your gameplay or live-stream to Twitch and several other video sites. You can include webcam video and microphone audio to provide commentary. You have to step through quite a few settings to get it going, but it provides flexibility with arranging what viewers will see on your video stream. And again, it's free.
  • XSplit Gamecaster -- This is one of the simpler choices that will have you streaming in no time. It allows you to record or stream and share via Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus. You have to sign up for a free account with SplitmediaLabs, but once you have the account, install the software and connect it to your Twitch account, you can start streaming in three easy steps. The software is free to use, but if you want some of the more advanced features, like in-game Twitch chat, annotation mode (which allows you to draw on your game screen) and more customization ability, you have to pay subscription fees starting at $14.95 for three months..
  • XSplit Broadcaster -- This is the more robust version of XSplit. It requires more setup and configuration, but allows the user to edit using multiple video sources, mix audio from two sources, display overlays and camera effects and lets you stream at up to 1080p at 60 frames per second (fps). Like Gamecaster, its basic features are free, but a paid version starting at $14.95 for three months provides more of the advanced features, including the highest resolution streaming and greater layout and customization ability. The software allows local recording and streaming to a number of sites, including Twitch, Justin.tv, UStream, YouTube Live and even streaming via a local area network (LAN).
  • Wirecast -- This is a more full-featured streaming production and encoding software for broadcasting a variety of media to multiple servers and platforms at the same time. You can record or stream content to Twitch, Justin.tv, Ustream, YouTube and others. It's the most costly, with a starting price of around $495 at the time of this writing, although you can try it out for free.
  • Evolve -- This is another simple streaming platform, allowing you to include webcam visuals and two audio inputs (the game audio and a microphone). You log into the Evolve client, hit the "Start Casting" button, log into your Twitch account and it broadcasts whatever is on your screen (game or not). You can also find and view other people's Twitch broadcasts, chat from within the Evolve client, find matches to join or create a gaming party yourself. This platform is geared toward multi-playing and connecting with other gamers.

The above allow you to either broadcast your gaming window or a selected portion of the screen, in some cases depending upon whether you are using the paid or free versions. They all adhere to Twitch's current broadcasting requirements, and you can directly connect them to Twitch via either your Twitch login credentials or your streaming key (depending upon which they accept).

There are others not currently listed on the Twitch "Broadcast" page that do support Twitch and for which you can find information and instructions in their support pages, such as:

  • FFSPLIT -- This is another completely free program that allows you to capture and display your entire screen, regions or windows from your screen, audio, webcam visuals and static images to live-stream or record your gameplay. It will upload to Twitch, Justin.tv, Ustream, YouTube and several others. It takes some practice and setting adjustments, but you can start streaming fairly quickly.
  • Overwolf -- This is a Chrome browser-based software that you can use to overlay features and apps onto your PC games or any other applications you have open. One of the available apps is Twitch, created using Overwolf's open SDK. The Overwolf overlay lets you choose the Twitch app, log into Twitch and start streaming very quickly. Drop down menus allow you to change streaming settings, including video, audio and even opacity, and you can toggle what you and the viewers can see (including the chat window and webcam).

Some of the PC broadcasting programs will require you to download and install other software if you don't already have it, such as Java, DirectX, QuickTime or .NET Framework. You can find information on the Twitch support pages regarding setup and optimal settings for your broadcast software.

Broadcasting from a Mac is a little trickier, but doable. According to the Twitch site, the only all-in-one program that works for Mac is Wirecast, which is rather expensive. Other options might require that you also run Adobe Flash Media Encoder along with webcam software like ManyCam or CamTwist.

You can also find advice and scripts online for streaming to Twitch from computers running Linux OS distributions, although as of this writing there doesn't seem to anything official on the Twitch site regarding ways to broadcast via Linux.

Aside from third-party dedicated streaming software, Twitch broadcasting capability can even be worked directly into games and web apps. Continue reading to find out more about the integration tools Twitch provides for software developers.

Twitch Tools for Developers

The iPhone app for Twitch enables on-the-go sharing for viewers.
The iPhone app for Twitch enables on-the-go sharing for viewers.
Image courtesy of Twitch

Twitch offers a software development kit (SDK) to help developers and gaming companies work Twitch support into their products. The hope is that this will help users to live-stream and share recorded gameplay easily -- sometimes with a single button click. Developers can work Twitch's chat capabilities directly into their games and provide metadata from the games back to Twitch to provide extra information to viewers or easier sorting by game version or mods. Twitch can even use the information to prompt a user to share highlights when something interesting happens in the game. Developers can incorporate leaderboards, contests and other community based content to increase the involvement of players, as well as collect analytics.

The latest SDK even reportedly enables mobile game streaming, including footage from your mobile device's front facing camera [source: Hockenson].

Per the Twitch site, these are games that have Click-to-Twitch capabilities built-in as of mid-2014:

  • "Age of Empires 2"
  • "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2"
  • "Company of Heroes 2"
  • "Cubemen 2"
  • "Drunken Robot Pornography"
  • "Duel of Champions"
  • "Firefall"
  • "Forced"
  • "Guncraft"
  • "Gun Monkeys"
  • "Infinite Crisis"
  • "Maniaplanet"
  • "Minecraft"
  • "Overwolf"
  • "Path of Exile"
  • "Planetside 2"
  • "The Showdown Effect"
  • "Smite"
  • "War Thunder"

"The Showdown Effect," a PC game by Paradox Interactive, was reportedly the first game with built-in Twitch support [source: Stark].

Twitch also offers an API to help web developers integrate Twitch content and functionality into their sites and web applications. Available features developers can tap into include "Twitch Connect" to let users log in with their Twitch account, information on what's live streaming at any given moment, information on top videos, information on what channels users subscribe to or follow, and Twitch search capabilities.

Game developers can use these tools to integrate Twitch broadcasting, viewing and chat into their games. They can include things like a list of all the available live streams of the game. And they can collect clips and data from Twitch to share with their communities.

People are coming up with inventive new ways to game using Twitch. An anonymous programmer in Australia set up the experimental TwitchPlaysPokemon channel in February 2014. It allowed a multitude of viewers to control and step through the Nintendo Gameboy game "Pokemon Red" by entering commands via chat. The channel is still going, running other Pokemon and Nintendo games. Users can enter the names of buttons (up, down, left, right, A or B), coordinates for touchscreen inputs and some other game-specific commands. It had as many as 120,000 simultaneous players at one point, and as of this writing has more than 276,000 followers and more than 62 million total views [sources: Magdaleno, Twitch Interactive].

Game development company Zombie Studios has even built that sort of Twitch chat interactivity right into its PC and PlayStation 4 game "Daylight," which allows viewers to affect the player's game via chat.

How does Twitch make revenue?

Twitch is monetized via advertising and subscription fees. A basic Twitch membership is free and allows you to view all kinds of content, chat on people's streams and broadcast gameplay. Ads will run when your first go to a channel, and periodically throughout the stream. Twitch may be compelling to advertisers because it can get them access to a certain demographic that isn't likely to be watching TV and spends a lot of time on their site -- 106 minutes per user each day day, on average [source: Twitch Advertising].

For $8.99 a month (as of mid-2014), users can upgrade to a Turbo membership, which eliminates most advertising except for front-page takeover ads, and gives them a special Turbo badge, custom emoticons and more chat colors.

Broadcasters who become members of the Twitch Partner Program can put ads in their streams, and they get a portion of the revenue for every 1000 advertisements viewed on their channel. That take is paid out monthly 45 days after the end of the month, provided the broadcaster has accumulated $100 in revenue. Partners also get other perks, including priority for front page and promotional directory placement. Chosen top partners can also charge subscription fees to their users in exchange for extra perks, like HD streams, access to archived videos, exclusive chat sessions, limited advertising, extra emoticons and a special badge. The fee is generally $4.99 a month.

Some people even manage to support themselves financially via Twitch. Jayson Love, through his Man_vs_Game channel, chats with users as he attempts to beat all sorts of games. He managed to quit his day job and support himself on revenue from Twitch's Partner Program and subscription fees along with merchandising [source: Morris]. And Jeffrey Shih (screen name Trump) did something similar with his educational Twitch channel [source: Magdaleno]. Twitch has more than 6,400 Partner Program members as of 2014 [source: Twitch Advertising].

Users are allowed to accept donations by adding a PayPal button image that links to a PayPal payment link on their channel page. Twitch has even partnered with other companies to offer college scholarships to talented gamers.

Aside from ad revenue, Twitch raised $15 million in 2012 and $20 million in 2013 from investors [sources: Hockenson, MacMillan, Stone]. And in even bigger, albeit uncertain, news, there are reports that Google (owner of streaming competitor YouTube) is in talks to purchase Twitch, with some speculation that it could go for upwards of $1 billion [sources: Heaven, Reisinger, Stone]. Some worry that such a takeover might lead to copyright crackdowns on the users and content, something that happens to some broadcasters on YouTube when game companies use YouTube's Content ID system to identify use of their games in videos. But such a huge move could give Twitch all the backing it needs to keep going and expand.

The Present and Future of Game Streaming

Feeling social? You can chat with players and viewers on a Twitch channel.
Feeling social? You can chat with players and viewers on a Twitch channel.
Image courtesy of Twitch

There are any number of sites where gamers can broadcast their gameplay besides Twitch. As mentioned earlier, Twitch was born out of one of them, Justin.tv. Others include Ustream.tv (another popular live-streaming site), Google Hangouts and YouTube.

YouTube, the king of video hosting sites, has lots of users displaying gameplay and related content, often dubbed "Let's Play" videos, with many on the LetsPlay group of YouTube channels. Some proof of the popularity of gameplay videos might lie in the fact that Felix Kjellberg's PewDiePie YouTube channel boasts more than 27 million subscribers, the most of any single YouTube user, even more than YouTube's own channel [sources: Heaven, MacMillan, YouTube]. There are many other gaming users on YouTube at various levels of subscribership. The multi-channel group Machinima has garnered more than 11 million subscribers with its game-related serial fiction and other similar content. Although uploaded videos are what YouTube is known for, they also offer live streaming via YouTube Live, including a group of channels dedicated to live gaming.

It is not the only game in town, but Twitch stands out for being the largest site dedicated entirely to the streaming of gameplay and related content. And it's catching up to and even surpassing some sites you wouldn't expect as far as online traffic. During the week ending February 3, 2014, Twitch was fourth in peak web traffic by bandwidth at 1.8 percent, which put them behind Netflix, Google (which includes YouTube) and Apple, but ahead of HBO Go, Hulu, Facebook, Valve and Amazon, to name a few [sources: Mosley, Twitch Interactive, Twitch Advertising]. The company Qwilt says that around 44 percent of all live streaming web traffic (bandwidth-wise) the week of April 7, 2014 was through Twitch [source: MacMillan].

Given those figures and the ever increasing numbers of viewers and participants, it doesn't look like Twitch, or live game streaming in general, is going out of style anytime soon.

Author's Note: How Twitch Works

I'm no stranger to video games. I played "Pong" and "Breakout" on my aunt's early Atari consoles when I was little, moved on to Atari cartridge games, spent all my quarters at the arcade by the corner gas station (they used to be everywhere), pulled more than a few all-nighters trying to finish text-based Infocom games in my teens, clocked time at Monolith Burgers in "Jones in the Fast Lane," and later spent days building and accidentally destroying cities in various versions of "SimCity." "Wolfenstein 3D" and "Marathon" were my introduction to first person shooters, and I went on to multi-play my friends in "Doom 2," "Quake" and "Unreal Tournament." I don't game enough to reach expert level in any of them, but I never quit trying out the new stuff and buying most of the popular gaming systems. I still dabble in a variety of games -- and revisit the old ones when I'm feeling nostalgic.

Being somewhat shy of multi-playing with strangers, it would never occurr to me to broadcast video of myself typing "kill troll with sword" or getting slaughtered by my friends on the virtual battlefield. But while researching this article, I got sucked into more than one Twitch streamer's channel for hours, got interested in the chat conversations and learned a couple of potentially useful game tricks. I even did a little test streaming of Minecraft myself on multiple broadcasting software applications. Some of them took some doing, and some had me streaming in minutes. I'm not sure my fumbling gameplay and intermittent muttering would hold an audience for very long, but it was kind of fun being an exhibitionist for a few minutes, and a little exhilarating when someone actually popped on to view and chat during that brief time. Long story short, I see the attraction of gaming in a public forum, and whether you are a viewer or a broadcaster, Twitch and other streaming platforms are a lot more engaging than I expected. I can see why some people are eschewing TV for live-streaming. One day maybe I'll do the same.

Related Articles

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