Twitch Guest Star feature designed with Just Chatting in mind

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Once considered a platform exclusively for video game live streams, Twitch is now on board the talk show train. This fall it will launch Guest Star, the first official feature designed specifically with Just Chatting – now the most popular category on the platform – in mind.

Guest Star, which a small handful of streamers will be able to test out this summer ahead of an official launch in the fall, will allow streamers to seamlessly remove guests from their audience and give them full voice and video treatment on their broadcasts. Streamers will be able to plug the feature into programs they already use like Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), and the windows it creates can be embedded with custom overlays and branding.

Streamers currently get a similar effect using third-party services like the Discord chat app, but Twitch’s goal is to reduce friction and give streamers the ability to vet potential guests by viewing how long the someone’s Twitch account exists, whether they’ve verified their account with their phone, and the overall status of their account.

“When speaking to the creators, a number of them told us that they were hesitant to do [talk show-like content] because they were worried about uploading something or someone that wasn’t appropriate for their community,” Jeremy Forrester, Twitch’s vice president of product, told The Washington Post. “That’s why we’re developing features to make it easier to pre-verify guests or screen them before they go live.”

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In the past, Twitch has launched many features that make it easier to watch streamers play games together, but this is the first time Just Chatting has taken center stage. Twitch officially created the category – originally intended for streamers to relax and talk to their viewers – in 2018. But in the years since, it’s become a repository for a huge variety of non-gaming activities. game, including regular talk shows, controversial trends and IRL competitions it wouldn’t look out of place on TV (as well as actual TV). Just Chatting has proven almost unwavering as the top category on the once gaming-only platform of late, with Twitch noting that since 2020, hours watched in the category have increased by 151% and creator revenue. of Just Chatting increased by 169%.

Twitch’s decision to create and launch Guest Star is an acknowledgment of this trend.

“Just Chatting streams are different from video game streams and are much more dependent on engaging and interacting with communities,” Forrester said. “For this reason, we created a group last year to look specifically at features and tools we could create for Just Chatting creators to make it easier to interact with their community and the content they produce.”

This, he added, is just the beginning when it comes to features specific to Just Chatting. That said, Twitch doesn’t plan to leave creators who focus on video games – still the bread and butter of the platform as a whole – out in the cold. Nor does Forrester believe that the distinction between game makers and Just Chatting makers is as meaningful as some claim.

“It’s important to remember that game creators also regularly produce Just Chatting content,” he said. “All the features we are looking at are centered [on] making it easier for creators to engage, interact, and solicit feedback from their community, and we believe game and Just Chatting creators will benefit.