How Twitch Works

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.