'What is Twitch?': Here's what you need to know about the world's leading live-streaming platform for gamers
Twitchis a live-streaming platform for gamers and other lifestyle casters that supports building communities around a shared and streamable interest.
- Twitch streamers "broadcast" their gameplay or activity by sharing their screen with fans and subscribers who can hear and watch them live.
- There are both free and paid versions of Twitch, with paid tiers removing ads and giving users access to more robust social, streaming, and storage features.
If you're a gamer and you've never tried out Twitch, you're missing out.
But even if you don't fall into the camp of people who love the turn-based strategy, adventure, or even MMO-style games that are popular on the Amazon-owned site, there are plenty of other good reasons to check out the
Twitch also features a wide variety of content geared towards live and recorded broadcasts covering music, talk shows, sports, travel, and food.
Here's a breakdown of the platform's most noteworthy features.
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What you need to know about Twitch
Twitch is a live streaming platform geared towards gamers that launched in 2011. Since then, it has amassed millions of users, with a total of 3.8 million unique broadcasters as of February 2020.
Twitch offers gamers — or anyone interested in lifestyle casting about other subjects like food or music — the ability to stream their activity and let others watch in real-time. Streams can last anywhere from a minute to eight-hours and beyond. You can find a stream by browsing various categories, including specific games. If you find a streamer you like, you can follow their channel and get activity updates and notifications.
Since launching, Twitch has partnered with
How Twitch works
When you watch a live stream or "broadcast," a split-screen display will allow you to see what the streamer sees on their monitor. But you'll also be able to hear and see them play through a smaller window on the edge of their stream.
Twitch also allows users to purchase games through links on streams, with streamers receiving sales commissions, as well as the opportunity to sell products associated with their streams using affiliate links.
While viewing a Twitch stream, you can comment alongside other viewers, and depending on the channel, you may be able to do things like make suggestions or ask questions and receive real-time answers. Twitch also saves streams, so you'll have the option to watch previously streamed gameplay or shows.
The company has launched iOS and Android apps so users can get all the same content — from people to channels — alongside a host of mobile-friendly features wherever they are.
Other features Twitch offers
Twitch offers subscriptions for those who find themselves getting more invested, with three tiers, ranging from $4.99 to $24.99 a month. Subscriptions allow you to support your favorite streamer and grant you the ability to watch a channel ad-free and access other perks, like emotes or chat badges.
Emotes are exclusive emojis that let you show your support for a streamer, while chat badges help identify the user you are — from a broadcaster to a VIP. Other badges can be purchased that let you show off your support for specific streamers or interests.
Twitch Prime is another subscription option, though it must be manually instead of automatically renewed each month. It gives you access to additional games and exclusive in-game content, with a bonus channel subscription every month at no additional cost, a member-only chat, more broadcast storage, and more.
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