Twitch - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More

Farheen Gani
Written by Farheen GaniLast updated February 25, 2019

Want to earn a living playing video games all day? Welcome to Twitch, a live video game broadcasting service that enjoys over 140 million unique visitors every month. Video game enthusiasts flock to the platform to watch "streamers" (players broadcasting on Twitch) play World of Warcraft and Fortnite, support their favorite streamers with donations and subscriptions, and interact with the Twitch community at large. For various experienced players, streaming on Twitch has become a full-time job.

Live broadcasts on Twitch are called streams, and channels are a compilation of a user's content on the platform. As a viewer, you can watch live streams for free, follow channels, participate in channel chat rooms, and purchase Bits (or special emojis) to support your favorite channels.

When you log in to your Twitch account, you'll be greeted with recommendations of streams, categories, popular clips, and popular videos. The Browse section includes even more games and channels. Pick and follow your favorite channels, and they'll show up in your Following list. If you're an avid gamer, you've likely played some of the platform's most popular games: League of Legends, Fortnite, Dota, and World of Warcraft.

While the platform originally focused on live video gaming, currently it hosts videos in various other categories like music, talk shows, cooking, and artwork. There's also an IRL or In Real Life channel, where fans can glimpse their favorite players' real life. Apart from watching live streams and videos, Twitch also allows users to follow and message each other, and participate in chat rooms available in every channel. Users from select regions can also purchase a Twitch Prime membership that offers perks such as ad-free videos and streams, video game discounts, and free downloadable content.

If you want to stream your own gaming experience on Twitch, you'll need a free Twitch account, software to broadcast your game, and of course, games you'll be playing, installed in your device. Gaming consoles such as PS4 and Xbox One have built-in streaming capabilities. However, if you wish to stream via your PC, you'll need software such as OBS Project, Xsplit, and Gameshow Live. To begin, set up your stream in your Twitch account. Click the Dashboard option at the top-right corner of your screen. You'll see options to enter your stream information, such as title, category, tags, and language. Select the game you wish to play from the dropdown menu under Playing.

Next, you'll head over to your broadcasting app. Let's say you use a free app such as OBS Project. Open the software, and click on Broadcast settings in the Settings menu. Next, select Twitch as your streaming service. At this point, you'll also be asked to enter a Stream Key. You'll find this available in your Twitch dashboard, under Channel Settings. Enter the Stream Key in OBS. To start broadcasting your game, click the Sources option in OBS and then Game Capture. Next, select your preferred game from the pop-up box, and click Preview Stream. If everything looks okay, select Start Streaming and you'll be live.

The Videos option also lets you upload clips and videos to the platform. The Twitch dashboard gives you access to your channel's analytics, such as live views, new followers, and viewers. You can also see analytics for individual streams, videos, and clips.

The more time you spend streaming on Twitch, the more likely you are to be able to monetize your efforts. Once you start broadcasting regularly on the platform and gain more viewers, you'll be on the path to becoming a Twitch affiliate, and finally, partner. Both these allow you to earn money via the platform. Twitch affiliates have access to mini-donations from viewers as well as five percent game sale revenues made through their profile, while partners can display video ads, offer custom badges and emoticons, and also offer paid subscriptions to their viewers.

Whether you're a video game enthusiast looking to interact with fellow gamers and learn a few new tricks, or an avid gamer intent on making a living from the platform, Twitch offers something for everyone.

Have any feedback on this overview, or something we should change? Let us know!

Twitch Features

  • Watch live video game broadcasts, follow your favorite channels, and interact with players in real time.
  • Use emoji and memes to cheer for players in chat rooms accompanying each channel.
  • Buy subscriptions to support your favorite channels.
  • Stream your own live video gaming experience, or upload videos on topics such as cooking, music, and entertainment.
  • Chat with viewers watching your channel and offer them custom emoji.
  • Monetize your channel by becoming a Twitch affiliate or partner.
  • Android and iOS apps available.

Twitch Pricing

  • Free to watch, with the ability to subscribe and purchase upgrades.
  • Free to create live streams and upload videos.

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