Twitch Is Opening Up Beyond Gaming Content

Twitch streamers will be able to stream non-gaming content under a new "IRL" category.

Dec 15 2016, 6:00pm

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There's a new player in the personal live streaming market, and it's a name that you should be familiar with: On Thursday, the most popular platform for live streaming video games announced that it was adding a new category, "IRL," which is exactly what it says on the tin. In a statement, IRL is referred to as "a new content category designed to both enable and encourage Twitch's creators to step outside of their traditional gameplay content, and share content captured from their everyday lives."

The launch of IRL puts Twitch at odds with Facebook Live and Twitter's Periscope in the personal live streaming space. However, it appears that, in theory, the idea is that IRL is for existing Twitch streamers to stream their real lives, not become a direct competitor to the others in the personal streaming space. Channels can now include " updates and discussions about one's life and channel, as well as personal highlights from events and trips, such as TwitchCon and places abroad." With all of that that comes news community guidelines, which had to be updated to include non-gaming content, as well as live streaming directly from your phone in the Twitch mobile app, which is not yet available at launch and is earmarked for "2017" without a more specific date given.

"We're amazed by our creators who build thriving communities and create compelling content for millions of viewers," said Emmett Shear, CEO of Twitch, in a statement. "While gaming is their core identity, what we've heard repeatedly from them is that they are interested in sharing their everyday lives, thoughts, and opinions with their communities. IRL is designed to help our creators foster that kind of community interaction."

In "celebration" of the launch of IRL, Twitch will be doing an official live video announcement on the twitch_scar channel at 5:00 p.m. ET on Thursday. With the rule changes allowing non-gaming content, it should be interesting to see how swiftly Twitch is able to deal with unauthorized live streams of popular third party live programming, like Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view events. While varying in quality, such bootleg streams have been a constant of other platforms in the past, albeit generally relegated to more obscure services as of late.