Twitch has become one of the fastest-growing live video-streaming platforms. Over the last few years, it has undergone quite a few evolutionary changes, from a personal 24-hour live stream to a live-streaming gamer platform and a media outlet. Content creators continue to find new ways to use the platform to engage with their audience.
This article will take a closer look at Twitch’s evolution and development over the last few years, including how it’s now a pressroom for celebrities.
The origins of Twitch
Justin Khan created Twitch. Originally it was called Justin.TV when it was released back in 2007. At that point, it was used by Justin and a few of his friends to vlog their lives 24/7. That’s right, Justin even streamed himself sleeping to create content.
As they continued to develop the platform, they started adding channels to make it easier to sort and categorize specific videos. This feature is similar to what we see on other video-streaming services like YouTube.
In 2011, the name changed from the original Justin.TV to Twitch, and despite a rebranding and new slogan, the platform worked pretty much the same. Twitch is a platform where people can come together, share their lives, chat and create entertainment.
The way it provides content makes it an ideal platform for gamers and gaming content creators. Twitch allows content creators to connect and interact with their audience in real-time. They can adjust their content according to how the audience responds.
The platform saw a massive surge in popularity as more gamers made their way over to Twitch. Twitch’s popularity has grown significantly and continues to do so. The platform became so popular that Amazon bought Twitch in 2014.
Twitch has grown so much in popularity that it can stand as a competitor to YouTube. Part of this is because it creates a sense of closeness and intimacy that connects with people, in particular Gen Z. The connection between the content creator and the user adds more value to this platform. This feature is lacking from other communication platforms like television and even social media platforms like YouTube.
Twitch’s evolution into a journalistic platform
The journalistic environment has seen some sharp digitization in the last few years. More users are turning to their social media platforms for news. As such many media outlets are already building networks on social media platforms to reach as many individuals as possible.
Twitch has been no exception to this trend. Media outlets have realized that Twitch is one of the best platforms for reaching a younger audience – if used effectively. The Washington Post, also owned by Amazon, was one of the first major news outlets to start posting on Twitch. Soon many other outlets, and even individual journalists, started utilizing the platform.
Twitch gives these journalists a way to report on essential topics such as politics, but in a way that makes it entertaining and engaging for all audiences. An example of this comes from the journalist Emilio Domenech. He lives in New York and originally used YouTube (under the name Nanísimo) to comment on the ins and outs of US politics.
This can be a relatively dry subject unless you enjoy politics. However, he made the content engaging on Twitch by directly answering users’ questions, doing funny dances at the request of viewers, and much more. He’s even been able to grow his following to more than 23 000, which may not seem like much compared to streamers like Auron Play, but it’s still significant if you consider the specific niche he covers.
Celebrities start flocking to Twitch
Many content creators have reached celebrity status directly by using the platform. Ninja, the popular Fortnite streamer, broke the record for most concurrent viewers on Twitch. In this particular stream, he was joined by hip-hop legend Drake (TheBoyDuddus), rapper Travis Scott (cactus_jackk92) and NFL rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster (FaZeJuJu_19).
We see this happening more often as celebrities have started using the platform to share news and interact with their fans. One of the first celebrities to make it to the platform was Joel Thomas Zimmerman, Deadmau5. The EMD DJ to the platform in 2015 showed his real face while playing his favorite video games.
Coaches and sporting stars have also started reaching out on their Twitch platforms before even contacting mass media outlets. Ibai Llanos is a popular esports content creator who often streams alongside footballers Thibaut Courtois or Sergio Agüero. He was also the first person to have an exclusive interview after the signing of Marc Gasol for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Following suit, many other popular celebrities and artists have joined the platform recently. You can find OG rapper Snoop Dogg as he streams while playing Madden – in an authentically Snoop chill manner. You can also find Justine Bieber, but instead of streaming video games, he conducts interviews with other celebrities or shares his music with his audience.
Songwriter and recording artist T-Pain can also play games like Call of Duty and Overwatch – with a killer freestyle or two tossed in. Post Malone is also active on the platform and gained a large following after partnering with HyperX to stream Call of Duty: Warzone. Recently he’s also started streaming other games like PlayerUnknown’s Battleground.
It’s not uncommon for celebrities to join social media platforms, not to mention video-streaming platforms. Celebrities like Dwayne’ The Rock’ Johnson, Kevin Hart, and even Will Smith all have YouTube channels where they share videos of themselves. However, these can sometimes come across as a little staged and more of a promotional stunt rather than true interactions with their audience.
However, on Twitch, the above celebrities can take off their masks (some literally) and just relax and interact – giving their fans a real look at who these people are.
Better get used to it – Twitch is here to stay
Twitch has quickly developed from a 24-hour live-streaming platform to a social media giant favored not only by gamers but also journalists and celebrities. Its popularity is still growing and shows no signs of stopping.