Streaming giant Twitch isn’t content to just be on your desktop and your smart phone. It wants to be everywhere you are—and it wants you keep broadcasting and broadcasting, even when you’re nowhere near a computer. That was the theme of a series of big announcements during the keynote address early today at TwitchCon, the company’s first-ever convention and streaming extravaganza based not far from the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.
Since launching as a spinoff of streaming pioneer Justin.tv in 2011, Twitch has dominated the world of livestreaming, becoming the go-to site for gaming and esports to the tune of more than 100 million unique monthly visitors. But the vast majority of that video is live, with past broadcasts relegated to the site’s clunky video-on-demand feature or, more often, uploaded to YouTube.
Twitch’s new playlist feature will allow broadcasters to queue up their past shows and broadcast them on repeat, ensuring their channels never shut off. That feature, launched alongside a new function that will allow Twitch users to upload video for the first time, is surely in part an attempt to keep its users from migrating over to YouTube—especially after the Google-owned online video giant launched its own Twitch competitor on Aug. 26.
The new features could fundamentally change Twitch. It has the potential to turn every Twitch streamer, from professional esports broadcasters to kids streaming from their bedrooms, into a 24-hour channel.
That was far from the only news that should excite hardcore Twitch fans. The company wants its app to be ubiquitous, to be everywhere people watch video, and in the keynote CEO Emmett Shear announced the app will soon come to the suit of Playstation devices, including the PS4, PS4, PS Vita and PlaystationTV.
The company is also improving the functionality of its chat, an ubiquitous and sometimes controversial feature they see as key to the platform. Whispers, a recently introduced private messaging feature, will act more like your Facebook chat and appear in a window separate from the often flooded regular chat stream.
Twitch is also becoming more YouTube-esque with the introduction of customizable thumbnails for highlights and past broadcasts, allowing streamers to better promote their own content.
Plus, Twitch is improving the technology behind their platform. By Q2 of 2016, they’ll roll out a full HTML5 player on all platforms They’re also improving the search feature of the website.
Twitch CEO Emmet Shear also revealed that Twitch had reached a new peak concurrent viewership, 2.1 million viewers, with over 7.5 billion minutes of content having been broadcast on the site to date.