What is Twitch?

Every night, millions of internet users gather, each in front of their own screen, to spend hours with influencers on Twitch. Some play video games, others share anecdotes, still others play board games around a table, but all of them do it live on the internet. Twitch is an online live streaming platform. Formerly “Justin.tv”, Twitch.tv has become the most popular live streaming platform in the world, with millions of daily users.

Among the most popular categories on Twitch, users can find Just Chatting, Music, and the most popular games of the moment.

Users watch content for free on Twitch, but it’s also possible to support creators through paid monthly subscriptions. There are several levels of subscriptions ($5/$10/$15) that audience members can choose from to support the various influencers on the platform.

It is possible to watch Twitch on almost anything, both through the website and from dedicated apps on iOS and Android.

In this article, we invite you to discover Twitch and what makes this platform unique.

Content for everyone

As on YouTube, creators use Twitch to stream content of all kinds. There’s something for everyone, although, generally, Twitch specializes more in video games. The difference between the two gaming giants, Twitch and YouTube, is that, on Twitch, everything is live. Videos are not recorded, edited and cut in advance. Instead, creators perform live for an attentive audience. There is less room for error. Technical problems, gaffes and improvised moments are common on the platform.

Competitive game players playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Competitive games are very popular on the platform. The competitive events for these games are numerous and can reach a large audience thanks to Twitch.

Video game players dominate, but you can also watch Esports competitions, variety creators chatting to listeners… or even cooking shows! Several live events related to geek culture are often broadcast on Twitch to thousands of viewers. There is a variety of creators on the platform, just find the one you like!

Make some noise!

The central element of the experience on Twitch is undoubtedly Twitch Chat. Listeners of a given broadcast can use chat to send messages which are visible to everyone. Spectators can use it to react to broadcast events and to get in touch with the creator. It’s not… ideal, as a way of communicating, but the message gets through, sometimes. After all, what do you think happens when a few hundred people have access to the same chat room?

Chaos, nonsense, funny moments… but above all chaos.

Twitch chat on a mobile phone

For small creators, Twitch’s chat allows them to chat with their growing community. For creators with an audience in the hundreds or thousands, chatting better resembles the screams of a crowd in a stadium: by chanting together, the crowd can send messages!

Pandemic Friends

Twitch claims that on average, 15 million users connect to Twitch every day. In 2020 and 2021, despite the global pandemic that has shaken up a number of industries, Twitch has continued to grow. One of the reasons that can explain this continued growth could be that watching content on Twitch is a social experience. Watching a video on YouTube is a single-player experience, after all: we are alone in front of our screen. Watching a broadcast on Twitch is an event, and everyone is invited!

When we watch content on Twitch, we don’t go “alone”, but rather join a community of tens, hundreds or thousands of people who listen to the same content and interact with the chat. Broadcasts on Twitch allow the influencer to talk with their community, receive feedback, and adapt quickly. There is a certain connection that is created in the community because each broadcast is an event in which we participate.

At the intersection of entertainment and community, Twitch users have taken advantage of Twitch in recent years to connect with creators and their communities.

Twitch and your kids

As parents, what should you know about this app?

A child in front of screens playing
What does your child need to know if they are using Twitch?

Influencers who don’t use Twitch are becoming increasingly rare. If your kids are connected and love games, they’re probably already on Twitch. It is therefore important to talk with your child about the platform if you think it necessary.

What is the recommended age to watch content on Twitch?

Twitch requires its users to be 13 years of age and older. That being said, it might be better for some to wait until 15 years and up.

Live streaming is very unpredictable: the influencer and community chat can engage in discussions for mature audiences without warning. Creators with a larger audience often employ moderators to manage chat, but the safety of the comments is not guaranteed.

Does Twitch offer parental controls?

Unfortunately, no. It’s impossible to block inappropriate content, limit the time spent on the platform, or control the money spent on a Twitch account.

What kind of content can my youngster see on Twitch?

Creators on Twitch cover a variety of topics and participate in a ton of different activities. It is impossible to predict whether creators will address adult themes without warning, such as discussing sexual topics, name-calling, hate speech, derogatory comments, and so on.

So what’s on Twitch tonight?

Twitch is an exciting and enjoyable platform to use and has its own culture. It’s a unique way to connect with the creators we love. Given the “live” reality of the platform, Twitch is not for everyone, and parents should be aware of its sometimes-lacking moderation. However, it is precisely the “live” aspect of the platform that makes the memories that emerge from listening worth a visit!

About Cédric Duchaineau

Actuellement étudiant à la maîtrise en communication, jeux vidéo et ludification, Cédric est toujours curieux d'en apprendre plus sur les jeux vidéo, les communautés et les réalités de notre monde numérique.

View all posts by Cédric Duchaineau

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