Twitch, the world’s top streaming platform for gamers, is expanding its horizons by signing a new deal with Amazon to air television pilot episodes this coming week.
Launched in 2011, Twitch has live streamed almost every video or computer game imaginable, from Super Smash Bros. finals to League of Legends to the more recently popular, first-person shooter Overwatch. The platform hosts over 45 million users per month to broadcast, watch, and talk to other invested gamers within the virtual community.
The Amazon-owned company announced last week that Twitch would soon be streaming original content instead of other people’s gameplay. While this won’t be the first time Twitch has aired something besides video games (it’s marathoned Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting and Julia Child’s The French Chef in 2015), it will be the first time it’s broadcasting anything owned by its parent company.
On August 31, Twitch users will have the option to stream three new pilots for a 24-hour period. New comedy I Love Dick, cartoon anti-hero show The Tick, and funny martial-arts action series Jean-Claude Van Johnson will be broadcast in the app. Amazon is using the platform as a device for early feedback on their shows instead of waiting until they’re out on other TV streaming services for reception.
This allows non-Prime members to view the debut of these new series for free, and besides Amazon tactfully using this platform to possibly funnel users into Prime subscriptions, the success of the broadcast episodes could give Twitch a TV streaming function for good.
Amazon bought Twitch two summers ago, transforming a platform bustling with 25-year-old men with nothing better to do than publicly play Call of Duty into a $970 million investment. Since Amazon’s big buy, Google-owned companies took to competing with the service, attempting to stunt Twitch’s growth. YouTube announced its YouTube Gaming standalone site last August, which instantly accumulated masses of viewers. Despite the site’s success, Twitch barely budged, with the app still boasting hundreds of millions of users and a place within the top 20 iOS app list, whereas YouTube Gaming wasn’t even within the top 200.
Facebook and other sites like Buzzfeed have also become hungry to rise to the top of the streaming industry. Twitch sensed the overflowing supremacy that is Facebook Live, a new service that allows users to stream from home and share their lives with the rest of the world: people from New York would effortlessly tune into Brisbane as congregants in Nigeria would broadcast church services all the way to Beijing. One person would suddenly have the chance to become the center of the universe.
Gameplay, too, is aired on Facebook Live and Twitch wants to prevent that service from becoming an infallible monopoly.
Hopefully for Amazon, the addition of new streaming content will be an effective response to this intimidating juggernaut, and Twitch will remain the go-to service for game streaming across the world.