Twitch: How the free game streaming service works

Twitch is the world’s largest live streaming service, primarily geared towards game streaming. At best, YouTube is in the same league. Millions of users broadcast video game content online every day via Twitch. Twitch is free to use for both content producers and viewers.

In addition to streams of games such as Minecraft, Fortnite, GTA V, and PUBG, the platform also broadcasts game sessions of much less well-known games. Even fans of board games get their money’s worth.

What content is available on Twitch?
Twitch mainly streams video games. On the one hand, these internationally successful titles, such as Fortnite or Minecraft, owe much of their appeal to streaming. On the other hand, there are also a variety of other games. Twitch streams all kinds of video games, from bus simulators and classic point-and-click adventures to unknown indie titles.

Thanks to the corresponding interfaces, not only PC gamers can broadcast their games, but also gamers on consoles such as PlayStation, Xbox or Switch. A lot of other content is also streamed on Twitch: Board and board games, for example, but also completely different videos recorded via smartphone in everyday life.

On which platforms can Twitch be used?
Twitch is available to viewers as a website.The site can be accessed from most web browsers and devices. The service also offers numerous apps and clients to make it easier to access the platform. These include, for example, dedicated apps for Android and iOS. An application is also available for Windows.

For content producers, there are also tools such as Twitch Studio or Twitch Soundtrack. The latter is used to add public domain music to your own streams and videos. Game consoles such as the PlayStation 4 or 5 offer their own Twitch interfaces, so no separate software needs to be installed to broadcast game sessions from there.

What is the difference between a livestream and a replay?
Livestreams are the core of Twitch’s streaming service. Livestreams are transmitted (with a few seconds delay) directly from a player’s computer or console to the internet. This allows the audience to chat and interact live with the streamers while the game runs. Once a stream has ended, it can be replayed for several weeks.

Features such as chat are deactivated when watching a replay. Unlike YouTube videos, it is also clear from the outset that the video will be irretrievably deleted after four weeks. The replays of streamers who use Amazon Prime can be played back for three months.

Diverse streaming offering
Twitch benefits, above all, from the diversity of its game-centric offering. You can find everything here, from popular video games and pen-and-paper rounds to everyday streams. However, the quality of the streams is correspondingly mixed. Not all channels have impressive entertainment qualities. It also needs to be made clear how Twitch uses users’ data.

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