eSports gets musical: Twitch unveils new tools and karaoke platform

Oct 30, 2018 | Marketing through gaming

Video games streaming firm Twitch has unveiled a raft of new features during its annual TwitchCon event in San Jose this week, including a new singing competition platform.

During the keynote, CEO Emmett Shear emphasized the brand’s focus on supporting streamers and announced new tools to help them grow, connect, and thrive. TwitchCon 2018 runs through October 28 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

Among the keynote highlights was an array of new data that reflects the ongoing growth and engagement of the Twitch Community:

  • On average, over a million people are tuning in to Twitch at any given moment.
  • Every day, nearly half a million streamers go live on Twitch.
  • In 2018, more than 235,000 streamers have taken their next steps by earning Affiliate status and over 6,800 streamers achieved Partnership.
  • Over 18 billion messages have been sent in chat and Whispers in 2018 alone.
  • Fans have shown support for their favorite streamers with over 85 million Cheers and Subscriptions this year.
  • Over 150 million Clips have been created to show the world the most memorable moments on Twitch this year.
  • Earlier this year, Twitch launched Community Gifting, which gives viewers the power to gift subscriptions to other viewers in a channel. In nine weeks, streamers have earned over $9 million through this feature. One individual even gave out 6,600 gifts to viewers to the tune of $33,000 in a single night.

Twitch also announced the following news grouped around three major themes: grow, connect, and thrive.

To help streamers grow, Twitch announced tools and updates that make it easier for streamers to get discovered:

  • Squad Stream: With Squad Stream, up to four creators will be able to stream together in a single view on Twitch. Viewers can watch on desktop and mobile as well as easily follow and subscribe to all channels. Chat is linked to whichever channel a viewer selects as their main view, so they can hang out with their friends or jump over to another community with just a click or a tap. Select streamers will be testing out Squad Stream later this year.
  • Highlight Editor updates: Highlight Editor is a feature that makes it easy for streamers to reach people who aren’t yet part of their community and helps their fans stay engaged when they are offline. Highlight Editor will soon allow streamers and editors to stitch together moments from across a video into a single highlight. Look for this update in January.
  • New featured sections on the Twitch homepage: A range of new featured sections on the Twitch homepage will begin to roll out later this year, such as highlighting up-and-coming streamers, new Partners and Affiliates, or streamers local to the viewer.

Tools and updates to help streamers build stronger communities and strengthen relationships with their viewers:

  • Snap Camera and custom Extension for Twitch: Snap’s brand new standalone desktop app brings Lenses to desktop and works with a custom Extension built just for Twitch. After downloading the Snap Camera app on their desktop device, streamers will be able to select a Lens to “wear” while streaming. Fans watching the stream will be able to unlock the Lens themselves via Snapcodes. Streamers can use the Extension to activate a custom Lens of their choosing every time someone subscribes. In addition to Snapchat’s library of Lenses, there are custom Lenses for the Twitch community including a purple, Super Saiyan power-up and a storm of Bits to celebrate Cheers. The Snap desktop app and custom Twitch Extension are available today.
  • VIP Badges: These new chat badges provide streamers with the ability to recognize important community members in addition to moderators and subscribers. Streamers earn additional badges to distribute as their community grows. VIP Badges will launch in a few weeks.
  • New moderator tools in chat: By clicking on someone’s Twitch username, moderators will now be able to see how long that person has been on Twitch, view chat messages that person has sent in the channel, and see the number of timeouts or bans that account has received in that channel. Mods can also leave channel-specific comments about each user to share with the channel owner and other mods. This information will help mods make better decisions while moderating that channel’s chat. Availability: January 2019.
  • Roles management page: Creators will soon be able to view, manage, and change community members’ roles, including VIP, Moderator, and Editor. The Roles management page will launch in a few weeks.
  • Subscriptions badges now reflect the total number of months: Fans are now rewarded with subscription badges for their total number of months subscribed, even if they miss a month. Fans on an amazing multi-month streak can still choose to share it when they re-subscribe. Availability: January 2019.

To help streamers thrive, Twitch announced the expansion of Bounty Board, which launched in closed beta earlier this year. Bounty Board makes it easy for streamers to find sponsored opportunities that feel authentic and align with their communities’ interests. In November 2018, even more Partners and Affiliates in the US and Canada will be able to take part in the program when it opens up to 30 more brands.

In addition, Twitch announced the expansion of their esports program, Twitch Rivals, and introduced Twitch Sings, a new category of game built with streaming in mind by Twitch in partnership with Harmonix.

  • Twitch Rivals: To date, Twitch has hosted 55 of these competitive gaming events featuring Partners, Affiliates, and their friends, awarding over $5 million in prizing, including $2 million during this summer’s Fortnite Summer Skirmish. Streamers who participated in a Twitch Rivals event saw an average of 20% more viewers and 90% more ad revenue on event days and 10% more revenue from subs nearly a month later. In 2019, Twitch Rivals will more than double in size to 128 events, with the program expanding to cover more games and genres, such as MOBAs and even single-player RPGs, with millions of dollars in prizes.
  • Twitch Sings: Twitch Sings is a brand new karaoke-style game designed for streamers on Twitch. Built from the ground up for live streaming, it has hundreds of songs and features that streamers and their communities can use to make amazing, one-of-a-kind performances together. In chat, viewers can request songs, cheer to activate light shows on stage, and give their favorite streamers challenges to tackle. TwitchCon attendees will be able to test the game on the expo floor, with a closed Beta starting later in 2018 on PC, iOS and coming soon on Android. Twitch streamers can register at to be notified as more space opens on the closed Beta list.

In addition to the extensive announcements during the Keynote, TwitchCon 2018 will feature a number of notable events that will be live on Twitch. Twitch Talks, its first celebrity speaker series, will spotlight entertainment personalities such as Tony Hawk, Kevin Smith, Felicia Day, and Ninja. There are several notable competitive gaming events, including Broadcaster Royale, Doritos Bowl, and the Fortnite Fall Skirmish finals. Also, making a return is the Cosplay Contest, featuring top costume designers and prop makers on Twitch competing for a $15,000 prize pool.

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