15 December 2016 - 20:53

Non-gaming content is now allowed on Twitch, and soon you’ll be able to stream from your phone

Anything goes in terms of content in the new IRL category—sort of.
Overwatch Staff Reporter
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Image via Twitch

Twitch is pivoting toward a major market—vloggers. The video game streaming website introduced a new category today, IRL. The section is aimed at streamers looking to step away from gameplay for a bit and focus on sharing more vlog-style content. Sounds a bit like Justin.tv, the lifestyle streaming site that spawned Twitch, right?

Not exactly. Community driven content is at the core of Twitch’s service, with Justin.tv appealing more toward the kind of content it offered.

“While gaming is [the community’s] core identity, what we’ve heard repeatedly from them is that they are interested in sharing their everyday lives, thoughts, and opinions with their communities,” Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said in a press release.

Removing the tether of video game content is a way to produce more personal interaction between streamers and their fans. Users can also upload recorded video—say, from a trip to a gaming event or elsewhere—to their IRL channel, too. Many Twitch streamers also have a YouTube account for this kind of content; Twitch IRL is the streaming service’s ploy to keep their users on site. With Twitch Uploads in open beta, users have less and less reason to turn to YouTube to house their content.

To account for this new feature, Twitch has updated its terms of service to allow the broadcasting of non-gaming content. Not everything is allowed, though. Users still can’t stream content they don’t have the rights to, unattended—say, sleeping— content, or stream while driving, Twitch PR director Chase told Kotaku. Streaming yourself while you’re talking, that’s fine. Setting the camera on your puppy and leaving the house? Not fine.

Streaming from Twitch’s mobile application—a new feature for the service—will launch in 2017, and will operate similarly to a feature like Facebook Live. Before this, streamers had to use third-party applications to stream from mobile devices. Users will be able to speak directly with their audience straight from their phone—a feature that’ll come in handy, particularly during tournaments and conventions. Mobile streaming application Periscope, along with Facebook Live, has demonstrated immense success in the on-the-go streaming market. Though Twitch certainly has some miles to make up, its established community will likely catch it up right quick.

So grab your cameras, kids. Twitch wants you to show off your real world.

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