As we begin to settle into the new year, we’re inviting everyone to take a look back on the memories that made 2015 such an incredible year for the Twitch community. From the inaugural TwitchCon, to the continued rise of esports, and well over 241 billion minutes streamed, we played, we learned, and we grew – together.
2015 brought far too many highlights to list them all, but we’ve put together a sample of the biggest moments, numbers, games, and stories from the past year, and you can scroll through them right here in our 2015 Retrospective.
To everyone who broadcasted, viewed, chatted, laughed, cringed, and celebrated with us this past year, THANK YOU! And here’s to more big things in 2016!
Global Game Jam is the world’s largest games creation event! From January 29 – 31, up to 40,000 game makers in 93 countries will create thousands of games over the course of a weekend.
Running from 7am PT (3pm UTC) on Friday until 10am PT (6pm UTC) on Sunday – that’s 51 hours of game making goodness! Join the fun on Twitch for the biggest GGJ ever!
It’s time to head south, for PAX South has arrived! And once again, Twitch is the official broadcasting partner of the show.
So, if you aren’t attending in person, our PAX Portal will make you feel like you’re right there in San Antonio. We’ll be featuring broadcasts from both the Main Theatre and Falcon Theatre, including the can’t miss Twitch Town Hall. The PAX Portal will also be home to everything we’re broadcasting live from the Twitch stage (booth #10000). Tune in as Twitch’s Jon Carnage and Jordan “Soma” Tayer are joined by Ezekiel_III, FuturemanGaming, and OKAYdrian, as they host publishers, developers, and content creators all show long.
You’ll also have access to the PAX Arena where we’re hosting Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournaments, complete with a $10,000 prize pool.
Ready for Taipei Game Show 2016? Did we even need to ask?
This week, the Taipei Game Show 2016 is kicking off at the Taipei World Trade Center in Taiwan. For the second year in a row, Twitch is the official broadcasting partner of the show, so if you can’t make it in person, we’ve got you covered. During the broadcast, you can expect exclusive new info on some huge titles like Street Fighter V, Final Fantasy XV, Tom Clancy’s The Division, and many more.
Twitch will be broadcasting content live from our booth (#C409) with hosts Bruce “GamerBee” Hsiang, Mobilmobil, Sixwong, and special guests AngryPug_ and itsHafu, bringing all the news and hands-on gameplay.
Bummed that tickets to RTX Australia 2016 are sold out? Don’t panic, there’s still a way for you to check out the show. As you probably guessed from the headline, Twitch is the official live broadcast partner of RTX Australia. So if you can’t make it to the Australian Technology Park in Sydney on January 23rd-24th, you can watch it live at twitch.tv/rtxaustralia/.
During the two days of live content, Rooster Teeth will be broadcasting panels as well as familiar shows, like Funhaus, Social Disorder, Let’s Play and Freeplay. To help bring the fun, Rooster Teeth personalities including Burnie Burns, Gus Sorola, Barbara Dunkelman, Joel Heyman, Matt Hullum and Geoff Ramsey, will be joined by Rocket Jump’s Freddie Wong, Good Game TV’s Stephanie Bendixsen, and ScrewAttack’s Craig Skistimas.
Just as the Twitch community has grown in Australia, so too has our commitment to the broadcasters and fans in the region. As part of our investment into the Oceania community, we recently deployed a huge data center in Sydney that takes the Twitch user experience to the next level. This means a better viewing and broadcasting experience for all!
Join the RTX Australia 2016 live broadcasts right now, right here.
Calling all game devs! The Twitch Plays game category is officially open for business. Ever since the infamous TPP event shook the world back in February 2014, we’ve had tons of fascinating adaptations of the Twitch Plays concept, and we’re now excited to [finally] feature them all in one place.
What’s more, we have some incredible new projects launching today that we’re excited to share with you.
- City Stream – Studio Bean, the creator of Choice Chamber is back! Team up to build and defend a massive geometric city. Whether you’re a builder, gatherer, or at the frontlines of battle, you’ll find your place in City Stream.
- TwitchPlaysZombidle – This PC title is adapted from Berzerk Studio’s mobile game. Level up your very own Twitch character and join forces with the rest of the chat to wreck havoc on the good guys.
- Kid Mech – KidMech is a live-action Twitch robot arena battle game comprising of two teams and an unlimited number of users controlling each bot. Gameplay will cycle between various competitive games including: Battle Soccer, Last Man Standing, and Capture the Flag. The arena features several interactive destructive weapons—such as the saw and flamethrower—that can be utilized to score additional points or weaken the opposition.
- TwitchVersusZombies – Communicate and elaborate strategies with peers in order to eradicate the zombies. In this game where each decision of every individual counts, you will mend, defend, attack, scout, and build your way back to the top of the food chain.
Other active releases featured in the directory include:
PAX South attendees, it’s time to enter the Arena!
For all fans of competitive gaming who will be heading out to San Antonio this January 29-31st for PAX South 2016, PAX and Twitch have teamed up to bring 6400 square feet of awesome gaming tournament action right to the center of the Expo Hall.
Twitch email and push notifications are incredibly powerful tools for connecting broadcasters with their viewers. Yet, too many notifications can be overwhelming and lead to viewers opting out from receiving them completely.
That’s why we’re trying to be smarter about what notifications we send. One big change we made earlier this year was implementing an opt-in model for broadcasters you follow. Rather than having notifications turned on when you followed a broadcaster, we turned them off by default. When we looked at the data, we saw that sending you less notifications didn’t result in less content watched. Viewership remained the same.
Recently, we saw another opportunity to send you fewer emails and mobile alerts. We did a second experiment where we unsubscribed users from receiving notifications for channels they hadn’t watched in the last six months. Again, the data showed us that this change did not impact viewership. But, overall unsubscribes from notifications decreased by 20%, thereby protecting an important channel for broadcasters growing their audiences.
So, starting today, we’ll be rolling out these changes to everyone — inboxes throughout the land rejoice! If you’ve been receiving notifications for channels that you haven’t watched in a long time, you’ll get an email about channels you’ve been unsubscribed from and details about how to re-activate those notifications if you want. Have other questions? Check below for our FAQ.
Twitch Product Team
It’s said that the holidays are considered the “Season of Giving”, yet the Twitch community spent the entirety of 2015 giving back to organizations around the world. We recently wrapped up sales of our Twitch Holiday Shirt, which led to more than $42,000 being sent to Extra Life and St. Jude Play Live. While that seems impressive, it’s just a small contribution to the massive $17.4 million of charitable donations that the community as a whole provided to over 55 different charities this year!
We wanted to take this time to celebrate these achievements and provide some insight into the accomplishments the Twitch community as a whole achieved during 2015. Up from 12 in 2014, there were 25 individual fundraisers that raised over $50,000 each, and more than 60 that raised over $1,000. Our top five events combined raised over $13 million of this year’s total:
- Extra Life: $7 million-plus for Children’s Miracle Network
- Games Done Quick: $2.8 million-plus for the Prevent Cancer Foundation and Doctors Without Borders
- Gaming for Good: $1.3 million-plus for Save the Children
- Yogscast Jingle Jam 2015: estimated $1 million-plus for 7 different charities (still ongoing)
- St. Jude Play Live: $950,000+ for St. Jude
Thank you to all of the broadcasters, moderators, volunteers, and viewers who aided in making these successes possible. Whether you supported the stream by watching, tweeting and sharing, moderating, helping in the coordination of these fundraising broadcasts, or by donating funds, your contributions have helped make the world a better place. We are humbled and honored to be the primary gathering place for gamers to give back!
Happy Holidays, and best wishes for a bright 2016!
If you’re a Twitch user, you probably know that Twitch is a pretty big site that streams live video, but you may not have an idea of the sheer scale and complexity of all of the different moving parts needed to hold everything together.
Among other things, we have:
- One of the largest live video distribution systems in the world
- A real-time chat system
- Web services that provide access to functionality and data
- Data storage systems
- Client applications on the web, and on a multitude of platforms – mobile and console in particular
- Data science infrastructure
- Internal tooling and systems – configuration management, deployment systems, hardware and software provisioning, testing and QA
- Network infrastructure that keeps the bits between all of these systems and the end users flowing
Each of these different components of Twitch has different challenges that need to be tackled – among them low-level optimization of video encoding, large scale system scaling, implementing products across multiple platforms and form factors, and improving our engineering efficiency via improved tooling.
‘Tis the season for giving gifts, and we’ve got a surprise gift for you!
In November, we added a new expansion to our payment options: 100+ major brand gift cards. You can now buy channel subscriptions by trading in popular brands such as Walmart, Starbucks, Target, Best Buy, Gamestop and more. Because who doesn’t have a few unused gift cards lying around?
How it works:
- When subscribing, click the PayPal / More Methods payment option. Popular gift card brands appear individually, and you can find the full list of brands under “100+ Gift Cards”.
- Select this option and enter your gift card details, and you’ll see the Twitch balance that you can receive by trading it in. (Gift cards are resold on a marketplace, so your reclaim value will be lower than the original gift card balance).
It’s all too common this time of year to get a gift card that you don’t quite know what to do with, so here’s our gift to you: starting today and lasting until December 25th, all channel subscriptions bought with eligible gift card brands (see list) get a 50% discount. (For Partners, all payment fees will be waived during the promotion. Fees will be refunded after December 25th.)
Don’t lose those gift cards to the fluffy chaos of your sock drawer!
All sales are final. For more information on gift card trade-ins, please read the PayGarden FAQ.
Thanks to your feedback, we’re releasing our latest Whispers update to everyone today. This means that whether you’re on mobile or web, you can now seamlessly DM your friends. Based on our beta period (and, your input), here are some of the changes we made to the final product:
Easily Start a Conversation
Once upon a time, the only way you could start whispering was by typing /w <username> in global chat. Those days are over. Now there is a dedicated Whisper button on the bottom right of the player. Clicking that icon allows you to quickly initiate a conversation with anyone on Twitch.
Looking to message someone specific? Within the Whispers List window, you can now use our handy search function to find a list of relevant Twitch users. After you’ve found who you want to whisper, click his or her username to initiate a conversation.
Better Notification Management
We know that there’s nothing worse than missing a new speedrun WR or a pentakill, so to ensure you can watch your favorite broadcaster uninterrupted, we’ve added a Do Not Disturb (DND) mode in the Whispers Settings menu.
When enabled, DND prevents incoming Whispers from popping up a new conversation window. During this time, your Whispers count will continue to update and you can always access new messages in the main Whispers List window.
What if you’re receiving too many messages? In addition to blocking Whispers from strangers, you can also now mark all messages as read via your Whispers Settings.
And last, but not least, we fixed performance issues so that video can continue playing smoothly during your Whisper usage. For a full list of changes we made and other FAQ, head on over to our Knowledge Base.
Xbox warriors rejoice! We’ve got a juicy update for you all to enjoy. In this latest upgrade, two new features are making their debut on the Xbox One Twitch app: Support for Host Mode and Recent Activity Hubs.
Enjoy Endless Content With Host Mode
You asked for it and we delivered; hosted channels will now appear in your followed directory just like they do on the web version. Now, when your favorite broadcaster hosts another channel, you can easily transition there with a simple button press.
Optimize Your Twitch Experience In The Recent Activity Hub
Your Xbox One landing page has been upgraded as well. Based on your activity in the Twitch app, you’ll automatically see catered content appearing in the new Recent Activity Hub. This can be recently viewed channels and games, your followed channels and games, as well as recommended VODs based on what you’ve been watching. Our goal is to make sure that you’re always able to access your favorite content at a glance.
Still need an Xbox One? Grab one here and start enjoying an enhanced Twitch experience today!
You asked for more customization options and now they’re here: Custom thumbnails for your VODs.
Starting today, all broadcasters and their editors can upload a custom thumbnail for any past broadcast or highlight.
Here’s how you get started:
- Go to your Video Manager.
- Click Edit on any past broadcast or highlight.
- Select Choose File under the Upload Custom Thumb section.
- Select your image.
- Click Upload.
Please note that if you created a VOD in the last month, the option to upload custom thumbnails may not be available until early next year.
If you need support with this new feature, make sure to check out our handy FAQ.
As we continue to build up the Twitch presence in Japan, having people on staff who understand that country’s long-standing FGC community is an important part of our roadmap. To that end, prominent shoutcaster and former pro Street Fighter champ Ryutaro “Aru” Noda is joining our Partnerships team!
Aru joins a team of Street Fighter stalwarts including Victor “Victheslik” Denchartphan, former pro and current shoutcaster Mike “Mike Ross” Ross, and current pro GamerBee, to help create a global community around this legendary franchise. Building off our success with the 2015 Capcom Pro Tour–the largest global Street Fighter tournament to date, we’ll continue to foster growth of the FGC on Twitch with Aru being the perfect accelerator.
With many years under his belt as a shoutcaster and pro-gamer, Aru has become a popular personality in the Japanese gaming world. His ties with developers, publishers, players, media, and the broader gaming community will help us continue to deliver the best content.
Below is the Japanese translation.