Gamers

Twitch launches a four-person ‘Squad Stream’ feature to help creators get discovered

Posted by | broadcasting, Creators, Gamers, Gaming, Media, streaming, Twitch, Video, video player | No Comments

Twitch today announced the launch of a new feature called “Squad Stream,” which offers a way for up to four creators to go live and stream together within one window. The feature will allow creators to grow their communities by teaming up with others, as it gives streamers increased exposure by playing to a wider range of fans.

Helping viewers find new people to follow is an area of ongoing interest for the company which has, in the past, faced accusations from smaller streamers who complain they just broadcast to empty channels and have trouble growing a fan base.

To address this, Twitch today offers a feature called Raids, which allows creators to work together to grow their respective communities by driving traffic to each other’s channels. Squad Streams is an expansion on that as it’s actually allowing streamers to broadcast together. That is, instead of redirecting traffic, they’re sharing it.

To participate in Squad Streams, creators can join up with one another from their dashboard by way of a new Squad Stream widget. They can then start their own squad by inviting others to join in, or they can accept an invite to join another squad. By default, any channels the streamers follow, have friended or are on the same team can send out Squad Stream invites. But this can be changed in the settings.

During streams, viewers get to watch all creators in one window, which gives them different views on the action, Twitch explains.

During streaming, fans can chat or cheer whoever is in the primary slot — an option they get to choose by clicking on any of the channels’ video player to make in the larger screen. Ads will play only in the primary slot, and viewership also only gets counted when a channel is in the primary slot, Twitch also notes.

Unfortunately, the feature is launching first to Partners — the top-level streamers who are less in need of growing their community than smaller streamers. Twitch says this rollout strategy is due to the need for video quality options (transcodes) on the Squad Streams — an option Partners have on their streams by default. (Affiliates only receive them as they’re available, with priority access.)

The video quality options allows the Squad Stream feature to display the video in the non-primary slots in a lower-quality mode, like 480p. Most streamers, however, stream in 720p or above, which is why the options are needed for Squad Stream to work, says Twitch.

The company says its plan is to roll out Squad Stream to Affiliates and all other streamers in time, as it expands its transcodes capacity.

Squad Stream’s launch is being kicked off by a schedule of four-person streams over the weeks ahead. (A full schedule is here.) Users can also look for the Squad Stream tag on the main Twitch page to find these streams.

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Spotify for Xbox One now works with Cortana voice commands

Posted by | Gamers, Gaming, Media, Music, Spotify, streaming, xbox | No Comments

Spotify arrived on the Xbox One back in August 2017 to give gamers the option of streaming their own tunes while in a gaming session. Today, Spotify is upgrading its app with a few key additions, including most notably support for Cortana voice control, along with other personalization features. With Cortana, gamers will be able to speak their music requests instead of using the controller. That means they can command the music — including being able to play, skip and pause songs — without having to leave their current gaming session, Spotify says.

Before, gamers would have to use Spotify Connect via an app on their phone, tablet or laptop to control or change the music while gaming.

For example, you’ll be able to say things like “Hey, Cortana, play my playlist on Spotify,” or “Hey Cortana, play my Discover Weekly on Spotify.”

This upgrade is currently only available in the U.S., however.

The new app is also introducing an updated experience that’s designed to make it easier for Spotify users to access recently played songs, plus your “Made for You” hub, and your music library.

Previously, Xbox One users only had access to basic Spotify controls, like play, pause, and skip plus visuals like the cover art and artist and song name. Now, they have personalized content recommendations, and the ability to playback content right from the Guide menu.

This part of the update is rolling out more broadly, including the U.S., as well as in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the U.K.

Options like repeat and shuffle are available, too, as are a selection of curated gaming playlists, over on Spotify’s “Gaming Hub” if you get stumped as to what to play.

In the future, updates to this Enhanced Background Mode, as Spotify calls the new experience, may include the ability to promote game specific content for major game launches, Spotify says.

The update will require the latest version of the Spotify app, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store, the company notes.

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Microsoft’s new Mixer Create app lets you live stream games from your phone

Posted by | Apps, Gamers, games, Gaming, live streaming, Microsoft, mixer, mixer create, Mobile, mobile broadcasting, mobile gaming, Social, streaming, TC | No Comments

 Microsoft’s mobile game streaming app Mixer Create is launching out of beta testing today on iOS and Android, allowing gamers to broadcast the games they’re playing right from their phone. This feature works on Android with all games, but is more limited on iOS. On iPhone, select games that have enabled Apple’s ReplayKit functionality will work, the company notes. That… Read More

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Twitch opens up its money-making tools to tens of thousands of non-Partnered channels

Posted by | affiliate, Gamers, Gaming, Media, Social, streaming, streaming service, TC, Twitch, Video | No Comments

 On the heels of yesterday’s news about expanded subscription options for partners, video streaming site Twitch today announced another way for its creator community to generate revenue, with the launch of an Affiliate program. Explains the company, the new program will allow non-partnered video creators to gain access to a variety of tools that will allow them to make money from… Read More

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Twitch to start selling video games this week

Posted by | Amazon, e-commerce, eCommerce, game sales, Gamers, games, Gaming, live streaming, marketplace, sales, shopping, streaming, TC, Twitch | No Comments

 Video game streaming site Twitch will soon begin selling PC games and other in-game content on its site, the company says. We understand the games may arrive as soon as tomorrow or later this week, though the exact timing is still in flux. Already one of the top destinations for live streaming and fan engagement, it’s not surprising that Twitch would take the final step… Read More

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Twitch opens to vloggers with launch of “IRL,” mobile broadcasting to come next year

Posted by | broadcasting, game culture, Gamers, Gaming, live steaming, live video, mobile broadcasting, streaming video, TC, Twitch, Video, video streaming, vlog, vlogging | No Comments

twitch-irl1 After slowly testing the waters with non-game related content, Twitch is officially opening its doors to vloggers. The company today is debuting a new content category on its site called “IRL,” which is where Twitch creators can broadcast anything about their life, communicate with fans, and share their opinions. In addition, because IRL broadcasting is the sort of thing Twitch… Read More

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Crunchyroll-owner Ellation announces Vrv, a multi-channel, streaming video service

Posted by | crunchyroll, ellation, Gamers, Gaming, Media, Startups, TC, Vrv | No Comments

vrv tv Digital media company Ellation is announcing a big push into streaming video with Vrv, which will offer a variety of channels aimed at gamers and other geeks.
Ellation is best known as the parent company of anime service Crunchryoll. Otter Media, the joint venture from Chernin Group and AT&T, acquired a majority stake in the company back in 2013 and invested another $22 million last… Read More

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