Twitch streams are about to get a lot more crowded.
Users around the globe can now invite up to five Guest Stars to join them on stream. The co-hosting feature arrived in a limited beta last June and has been gradually expanded since then.
Streamers within Twitch’s burgeoning Just Chatting category will be eager to invite some Guest Stars onto their broadcasts. Creators will be able to accept invitations, as will fans — for the first time, individual viewers can be chosen to appear on screen alongside their favorite personalities. That’s quite a significant reward, so don’t be surprised if streamers pick their Guest Stars from among their paying subscribers.
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According to TechCrunch, broadcasters will be able to invite Guest Stars from Twitch Studio and through OBS, a piece of open-source software used by many pro streamers. Guest Stars are not yet supported on mobile devices.
Twitch has turned in-house to demonstrate its new feature. It has applied the Guest Stars interface to episodes of Patch Notes, a podcast led by its employees.
‘Be our guest’ for the newest episode of Twitch Patch Notes, where we’ll be talking:
📰 Upcoming features
🔬 Experimental projects
👉 Prime Day deals and more
Catch it live now on https://t.co/xoTh1bov6T. pic.twitter.com/SuFZeKkAzN
— Twitch (@Twitch) June 30, 2022
If podcasting isn’t your thing, Twitch can suggest a number of other use cases where Guest Stars would be appropriate. A list of “Creative Thought Starters” is available through the Guest Stars info page. I’m already thinking about who I’ll invite to my co-hosted dinner party.
A panel of Guest Stars looks quite different from a typical Twitch stream, and that redesign is a big bet for the Amazon-owned platform. The arrival of Guest Stars comes at an odd time, since Twitch just axed another feature that made its community more cohesive. Much to streamers’ chagrin, they lost access to host mode, which had previously allowed them to fill in as the hosts of their friends’ channels.
Twitch will be counting on Guest Stars to strengthen the bonds between its creators. A lot of the big-name streamers who left Twitch to sign exclusive contracts with YouTube did so in order to stream alongside friends who had previously made the switch. If Twitch can reassemble its own close-knit communities, it can abate the exodus of its top stars. And it’s not the only platform chasing cohesion — TikTok’s live streams can now feature multiple hosts as well.
Guest Stars won’t reach its potential unless its streamers feel comfortable inviting viewers to join them. One year after #ADayOffTwitch protested hate on the platform, the newest Twitch feature will protect its users by including a virtual “backstage” area where guests can be organized.