Twitch: How a Gaming Live Streaming platform became a Social Media for Gamers

Twitch is now a popular platform for live streaming of video games and creative hobbies. But as the platform grew, it has evolved to become a social media platform that let you create your own stream, make your own streaming profile, hanging out with friends on a stream together, playing games with other viewers in a chatroom, or even meeting people who share similar interests in other ways.

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If you don’t know about Twitch, then you’re not a real gamer! Twitch was started as a niche live streaming platform that centers around gaming. The founder didn’t even focus on Twitch, they create Twitch just to diversify their live streaming platform. But it becomes so popular, it surpasses Justin.tv, Twitch’s former parent company. Now Twitch is a massive live streaming platform that have loyal communities for gamers and other hobbyists.

Is Twitch a Social Media?

According to Wikipedia, the definition of Social Media is a Web-Based or App Platform that allows the creation and sharing of information in any form via virtual communities. On Twitch, you can share streams and videos accessible to anyone. Merriam Webster includes Social Gaming and Video Sharing as a Social Media site. So according to Wikipedia and Merriam Webster definition, Twitch is a social media

Yes, Twitch has become a social media even for a gamer. Twitch as Live streaming platform provide an opportunity for gamer to share their life experience with other people and interact with them while playing games, or just hanging out. You can add friends, chat with other users, create your own streaming profile, and many others. It has lesser social media capability and component than other social media like Facebook and Instagram, but it doesn’t mean that Twitch is not a Social Media

YouTube and TikTok are both social media platforms with features similar to Twitch. Many people keep using YouTube and TikTok just to watch the latest video by their favorite content creator. If TikTok and YouTube are considered as social media sites, then Twitch, despite focusing on gamers is also a social media. Many fans keep watching the same streamers, just like in YouTube and TikTok

Twitch has evolved from a Live streaming Platform to a Social Media

Live streaming is the main component of Twitch. It’s the reason why Twitch became so popular. Gamers, for many years, don’t have a platform to communicate with each other except for Reddit and gaming forums. But, they can only see the gameplay video recorded from YouTube instead of watching live.

It was so painful that we need to wait for Gaming Convention just to meet with other gamers. Twitch is the start of the connection between separated gaming communities. Back then, FPS game community rarely interact with the MMORPG community. Each of them has a separate gaming forum, gaming convention, and game magazine, so FPS players won’t know about the best StarCraft 2 Player. Now, most American gamers know about Ninja and xQcOW.

As video games evolved to become e-sport, video game stars or most commonly called “Pro Players” appeared. Twitch has become the only platform to let fans and Pro Players interact with each other. It’s common that in the current era, many gamers idolize a pro player in the respective game they played.

Many people keep using Twitch to just watch their favorite game being played live or their favorite streamers play the game. Twitch as a live streaming phenomenon has changed the gaming culture and become the default gaming live streaming platform

Is Twitch Only Just for Gamer?

Twitch is not just For gamers. Even though it was created just for a gamer, it has evolved beyond the intention of its creation. Now Twitch has many Non-Gaming categories like Just Chatting, Art, and Sport. Yes, a real sport. Twitch, a platform for e-sport has a category for a real sport

Just Chatting is currently the most popular category on Twitch. Even though some streamer misuse Just Chatting to increase their stream popularity, it’s undeniable that Just Chatting is one of many Twitch User will always visit when they are bored

Just Chatting provides a category where you can relax with the streamers after a tiring day. Usually, the game played on Just Chatting is casual LoL, GTA V, and Among Us.

Does Twitch support real sport?

After adding the sports category, Twitch doesn’t stop there. Sports Accelerator Program is a Twitch Strategy to capture the market of real-sport streaming. Sports creator are paid by Twitch to increase real sports popularity on Twitch

The Twitch creator that joins Sport Accelerator Program like QuintonMayo. Deuceandmo, BridgetCase, and SoccerCooligans are real sports hosts on popular news companies like NBC Sport, CBS Sport, NBA League, and many others. So you can expect professional sports commentary from their stream

Twitch also partner with NBC Olympics to stream Tokyo Olympics event. So, Twitch is serious in the real sports business, not just e-sport. You can use Twitch to watch Tokyo Olympics event. If you’re away from your family, It will be more fun to chat with other viewers during the Olympics event, instead of watching the Olympics alone

The Rise of Chess Streamer on Twitch

Chess, as a real sport has been a separate category on Twitch. For a long time, Chess is a sport that has closed communities unlike many others sport like football. But it started to change when Twitch partner with Chess.com.

Some said that Queen’s Gambit is the reason for the success of the chess streamer on Twitch. While the release of Queen’s Gambit indeed helped, I firmly disagree. Even before Netflix release Queen’s Gambit, Chess Streamer has already become a big part of the Twitch community. The chess category has already been rising before the movie was released, so what was the cause?

GMHikaru is at the forefront of making chess streaming more popular to mainstream audiences (Despite many hate and protest from veteran Chess Grand Master Streamer). When GMHikaru as one of the most popular Chess Streamer teach xQcOW, the current most popular Twitch Streamer, many viewers start to watch and learn how to play chess

Many Twitch Streamers open an account on Chess.com and collaborate with Chess Streamer. This is the real reason why Chess become popular on Twitch

It may be funny for you, but this is the reality of current Twitch. Twitch is not Just for Gamer. It’s for everyone, including you

Twitch.tv – a Social Media or Not?

In conclusion, Twitch is a social media not just for a gamer because it provides gamers and other hobbyists with some social media capability like chatting interaction, sharing video content, and many others. It’s not surprising that non-gaming streams like Just Chatting in just April 2021 have almost 300 million hours watched According to StreamElements. Just Chatting is the number one stream category, surpassing GTA V and League Of Legends.

The definition of Social media is changing every day. So even if you don’t agree that Twitch is a social media, we may see that Twitch is a Social Media in the future.

Philip Maynan is a hobbyist streamer and digital artist. What he loves most are writing, gaming, and drawing. Currently, he focuses on blogging and learning digital art.

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