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How Muxy created one of the most engaged Extensions in just two weeks

Jul 18 2018

Muxy + Twitch Extensions are a perfect combo. They specialize in extensions that encourage viewer involvement, like their Community Predictions Extensions that let thousands of viewers compete for a top spot on the Game Awards prediction leaderboard.

The Cheer Cup. The Feels Meter. The Community Predictions Leaderboard. You may have seen or even used all of these extensions, but did you know they all come from the same developer? Muxy, an Austin-based developer, has developed several Twitch Extensions to help streamers not only enhance their content but also earn a living fulfilling their passion.

In their eight years together, the developers at Muxy have worked on fitness trackers, educational games, and even projects with the Gates Foundation. When they got a look at what Twitch had planned for extensions, they knew it was something they were passionate about and immediately joined the beta. “Extensions would be a fundamental shift in the way viewers interact with a broadcast and allow distinctly new ways to connect with live content,” said CEO Peter Bonnani. “It was obvious they wanted to build the future, and we wanted to build that future with them.”

After successfully launching the Cheer Cup for the extensions beta, Muxy has been making moves, working on extensions for streamers as well as Twitch partners like the NBA G-League. “In terms of live video, no other platform currently offers the amount of customization that Twitch does when developing interactive experiences,” Bonanni said.

Over the years, Muxy has partnered with us for projects of all kinds, including Business Development initiatives and content from the Twitch Studios team. “The first time I worked with Muxy, I was very impressed at their professionalism and dedication to making an amazing product,” said Justin Im, our Strategic Partnerships Manager for Ecosystem Developers. “There were several instances where they were able to apply their knowledge of the streaming space and come up with a unique concept for the Extension work.”

Lucky for us, Muxy seem to dig the partnership as well, leading to a number of great collaborations. “Twitch has been listening and adapting,” said Bonanni. “We haven’t stuck around just because Twitch is one of the biggest players, but also because they genuinely want to improve the relationship with developers.”

The Game Awards: A New Kind of Engagement

For the 2017 Game Awards, a yearly show celebrating the best achievements in video games, Twitch reached out to several developers to create new Extensions to enhance the massively popular livestream. Once again, Muxy answered the call.

The goal was to create an extension that let viewers truly engage with the event — a challenge Muxy embraced. “Interactive video technology is the next paradigm shift for watching things,” says Jared Steffes, COO at Muxy. “Right now, when we watch a screen, we usually have another device we’re messing with. Ideally, we want to integrate the interactive experience right into the screen. We just need to figure out the best UI and UX.”

Muxy’s unique understanding of both Twitch and extensions helped them create the perfect tool for the Game Awards live show, one that engaged viewers without distracting from the show. “Quite simply, extensions allow you to click on the stream,” Bonanni said. “We could have had viewers type things into chat, but that spams up chat and makes it unusable. The ability for viewers to reach out and touch the extension make it far more engaging than a chat-based integration.”

The result was the Community Predictions Extension. As the name suggests, this extension let viewers predict which games would win awards during the live show. Additionally, the viewer’s votes would let them join a streamer’s “Team” and flex their prediction chops on a global leaderboard. “People got completely wrapped up in the prediction tool and which awards were coming up,” Bonanni said. “The extension gave the awards some context. People felt like they were involved.”

Muxy wanted every viewer to feel like their vote counted, so the extension was balanced by percentage to ensure streams of all size had a shot at winning. “The overall winner was a small streamer in Brazil with about 100 people,” Bonanni said. “It was really cool to be in their channel and see the flow of comments coming in.”

From a Few Channels to Thousands Without a Hitch

As if all that wasn’t impressive enough, get this: Muxy were able to create the Game Awards Extension in just 14 days. “We hit the court and made it happen,” Bonanni said. He credits the Muxy Extension Development (MED) Kit for enabling them to work so quickly. “The quick starts and scaffolding were already there.”

Muxy also credits a great working relationship with Twitch for helping them reach the finish line with a successful, high-profile extension.

“We’re a smaller ship. Give us feedback and we’ll tell you yes or no,” Bonanni said. Normally, Muxy would build a tool, throw it out into the community and tweak based on feedback from broadcasters. With the Community Predictions Extension, they had the opportunity to collaborate directly with Twitch and the Game Awards team. “For this project, we got feedback from a big partner who we really respect,” Bonanni said. “They got excited, which got us excited. They shared our vision.”

Of course, there were some concerns about deploying their fresh extension out to tens of thousands of channels and millions of viewers. Muxy was ready. “Our back-end framework and development kit were built with those kind of numbers in mind,” Bonanni said. And it worked. During the event, the extension worked smoothly, even with a huge volume of users.

“There were several instances where the extension ran into server load issues due to high viewership,” said Justin Im. “But because of Muxy’s expertise they were able to triage the issue on site.”

“The Number Just Kept Growing”

By the end of the show, the Community Predictions Extension had engaged nearly 70 percent of registered Twitch viewers, making it a smash success for Muxy, the Game Awards, and the co-streamers. “Multiple interactions had to occur,” Bonanni said. “People had to find this thing, go in and sign up, and vote. And engagement was still 70 percent, which is insane.”

For the three-hour run of the Game Awards, Twitch and Muxy averaged 18,500 requests per second, peaking at 34,500 requests at one point in the broadcast. “That’s not quite the level we were expecting,” Bonanni said. “We heard stories of people going into libraries and Subway restaurants just so they could use it.” A total of 456 voting teams participated, and contributed 706,884 predictions.

What was as impressive as the engagement with the extension was the retention. If a Twitch broadcaster has 200 viewers over a period of time, they’re generally not the same 200 viewers for that whole time. There’s churn. “For this extension, the number just kept growing,” Bonanni said. “People were engaged and wanted to see the results.”

The end result was a successful stream for Twitch, bigger viewership for the streamers, and a triumphant large scale launch for Muxy’s application. “We’ve been designing for a Twitch-sized load the whole time with our extensions. And it was great to see,” Bonanni said. That’s what we call a win-win-win!

The Future for Developers at Twitch

Muxy sees a bright future for their relations with Twitch, and hope to see other developers get involved through events like Developer Day. “Having a Developer Day is fantastic,” Bonanni said. “The fact that they’ve published an Extension roadmap, Request for Comments, talked about new features — mobile support, multiple extensions at once, Bits monetization in extensions — it’s great. I think this will really open up a ton of business models for developers.”

Bonanni also sees more possibilities for developers to become profitable making extensions at Twitch, not just prolific. “We’re showing the power of what extensions can do for a publisher’s content,” he said. “I see a lot of demand for bespoke extensions in the future.”

Justin Im agrees. “Developers will get to create new things in a whole new development environment, innovative things that no one has ever seen,” he said. “Developers who excel at extension creation exhibit knowledge of the streaming industry. Technical expertise is always helpful, but the most innovative ideas are sometimes the most simple. As extensions grow, early adopters will be in a very strong position for success. New developers will stretch what we used to think was possible.”

Links: Get started with Twitch (sign-in process) Download the MED Kit from Muxy (MED Kit)

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