What’s new on Twitch? A rundown of ongoing experiments keeps streamers in the know.

By 02/24/2023
What’s new on Twitch? A rundown of ongoing experiments keeps streamers in the know.

Twitch, like any major consumer tech platform, runs regular tests to see how its community responds to new, experimental features. In the past, some of those updates have caught streamers by surprise, so Twitch is changing the way it communicates about current developments. A new “Twitch Experiments” hub includes details about the platform’s ongoing tests, as well as the expected timespan of each one.

The page includes details about Twitch’s operations, classifications for its various test types, and examples of existing features that were once subject to this experimental process. The post identifies Pinned Chat and Chat Highlights as two developments that were refined through rigorous testing.

Twitch Chief Product Officer Tom Verrilli told TechCrunch that the Experiments hub will help users tell tests apart. In some cases, Twitch approaches experiments in data-collection mode — or, as Verrilli calls it, “learn-not-launch.” Other initiatives advance to become “genuine tests” that help Twitch hone its solutions. Finally, there are phased rollouts that resemble the product launch practices employed by many tech companies.


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“Sometimes I think we have been guilty of providing less clarity on what we’re doing because we’re doing a lot of things when we experiment and it can be kind of hard to always keep the community abreast of it,” Verrilli told TechCrunch. “But I think they very rightly expect more of us, and so what we’ve been trying to do with ‘here’s the full roadmap, and here’s the monthly page,’ is just kind of put all that out there and share with them what we’re doing and why.”

When Verrilli talks about community expectations, he’s alluding to several controversial changes Twitch has announced over the past few years. The platform is in a tricky place because it doesn’t want to tell streamers when they’re involved in experiments. (That would affect the rigor of the tests.) Instead, it hopes that it can provide more context for all channel owners through its new hub.

Twitch’s competitors have developed their own means of communication regarding upcoming changes. The Experiments hub resembles a page on the YouTube Community Forum that highlights test features. TikTok has taken a hands-on approach to this issue by opening a “Transparency Center” that elucidates its inner workings.

The Experiments hub isn’t the only platform Twitch uses to notify users about incoming updates. It also produces the Patch Notes podcasts, which lets listeners in on the big plans the platform has in store.

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