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MasterOverwatch Overlay: A Twitch Extension viewers use to self-serve streamer performance data

Sep 6 2017

With 10 million users per day watching content presented by 2.2 million streamers, Twitch is already huge with gamers and game companies. Now, the world’s most popular social video platform and community for video game culture is inviting developers to help it bring streaming to the next level. With Twitch Extensions, developers can unleash their creativity to help augment and enhance the Twitch experience. You can start developing Twitch Extensions here.

No Time for Small Talk When You’re Saving the World

On Twitch, viewer engagement is king. For streamers who are Twitch Partners or who want to achieve that status, a key differentiator for a successful channel is an audience that is not only growing but which is engaging in high-quality chat conversations as they view the stream.

That’s easier said than done, especially as a streamer’s popularity starts to grow. New subscribers want to know the answers to questions like “What rank is this player now?” or “Did she win her last few games?” Making them feel welcome and engaged can require repetitive manual responses, or, if it’s not a good time to answer questions, sending them to wiki pages and keeping fingers crossed that they will return.

In other words, it can be quite challenging for streamers to welcome new followers, build familiarity, and cultivate high-quality interactions — all while delivering the gaming action everyone is there to see.

For Twitch Overwatch streamers, this challenge just got a lot easier, thanks to Mastery.

The Twitch Extensions Platform Makes It Easy to Build

Mastery is well known for building platforms — like MasterOverwatch — that serve performance profiles, statistics, and analytics for popular online competitive games. To help facilitate closer relationships between Twitch streamers and viewers, Mastery used its game data expertise and the Twitch Extensions platform to build an Overwatch Extension called MasterOverwatch Overlay.

The Twitch Extensions platform offers tools and boilerplate code that can be used for two-way communication and interactivity between streamers, viewers, and the games being played. With these tools, developers can build interactive experiences that live in the panels section of the channel page or — in the case of the MasterOverwatch Overlay — right on the video player itself.

Free asset hosting and fan-out messaging, as well as a lightweight Extensions Manager, simplify discovery, activation, and management. With Twitch Extensions, developers have more ways than ever to connect with users who want their products.

With the MasterOverwatch Overlay, viewers can see the streamer’s bio, profile, statistics, and performance information in near real-time, so they can get to know the streamer more easily and reserve chats for higher-quality discussions and commentary. The overlay only appears when viewers click on an unobtrusive icon in the upper left of the video player, so it’s never in the way when it’s not wanted.

“The MasterOverwatch overlay shows my viewers my performance whenever they want to see it without having to go to another website or ask in chat.” –TviQ, professional MasterOverwatch player and streamer

The MasterOverwatch Overlay Extension uses the Twitch PubSub system to propagate data changes to all viewers at scale, updating every 30 seconds. With Twitch PubSub, developers can broadcast real-time messages through a WebSocket connection to end users of the Twitch application or to a third-party application’s integration point. Example uses of the system include instant messaging services between friends, a back-end video system pushing real-time viewer-count updates to players, or a system broadcasting a user’s online status to friends.

The MasterOverwatch Overlay Extension back-end system is implemented using PHP/MySQL and runs within the main MasterOverwatch website codebase. This Extension debuted in beta on Twitch in May 2017 and was used a few hundred thousand times its first week alone. Easy communication with users and flexible configuration tools available on the Extension-specific settings page make it simple for Mastery to tweak the extension in response to feedback.

Beyond tweaks, Mastery has big plans for the Extension’s next phase of development. One upcoming MasterOverwatch Overlay function will use live metadata to offer even more information to viewers — for example, what character the streamer is playing and detailed real-time statistics about the streamer’s performance with that character. An eSports application and a MasterPUBG Overlay for PUBG streamers are also in the queue.

What Will You Build?

All of the Twitch Extensions that streamers can add to their channels are available under “Extensions Manager” on their Twitch dashboards. Read about other Twitch Extensions, dive into Twitch Extensions documentation, and get started with Twitch development today!

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