Not every Twitch Extension is made by a whole team of people. Sometimes, like in the case of Sounds Alerts, all it takes is one person looking to improve the Twitch experience.
James (aka Altoar) is a video producer, hobbyist programmer, and longtime esports fan from Germany. With the announcement of Extensions, he decided to put his hobbies to the test. “I got super excited, because I could combine both of my hobbies and create Extensions that help viewers and broadcasters for a platform that I use myself every day,” said Altoar. “I like to create innovative and helpful stuff and see it used by a lot of people.”
Altoar released his first Extension, World of Warcraft Armory, late last year. This panel Extension, which provides a wide variety of information about the streamer’s World of Warcraft character, is active on nearly 20,000 Twitch channels. Less than a year after the Extensions release, Altoar revealed his second Extension, a Bits-enabled soundboard known as Sound Alerts.
“Sound Alerts is a tool where broadcasters can upload their own sounds or select top sounds from other streamers and assign them to buttons which viewers can press to play the Sound Alert on the stream,” Altoar explained. “Streamers with Bits-enabled channels can also set a Bits amount that viewers must use for each sound button, so they can monetize their use of the Extension.” The Extension includes a leaderboard where viewers can see which sounds are most popular on each stream. Additionally, once a viewer initiates a sound on the stream, the Extension triggers a chatbot message and overlay notification to the streamer. Both elements have been crucial in driving viewer engagement and participation with the Extension.
Sound Alerts was an immediate hit, with thousands of installs on its first day. “Sound Alerts released about three months ago, and today streamers have already uploaded tens of thousands of different sound effects. There are streamers who have earned thousands of dollars in revenue share with Twitch through only Sound Alerts,” says Altoar. “Streamers reach out to me, giving me feedback and saying how much they like this Extension. That’s absolutely incredible.”
What was even more special for Altoar, however, was seeing the unique ways streamers decided to implement his Extension, a few of which he never imagined during development. “For example,” Altoar said, “/abootgaming, one of the first streamers who installed this Extension, is streaming a lot of PUBG and they added fake gunshot sounds to their Sound Alerts. Viewers can use Bits to trigger those sounds, distracting them and making them think someone in the game is shooting at them. The imagination is endless.”
Because of Bits-in-Extensions, Sounds Alert became a financial success for Altoar as well, allowing Extension development to become more than just a hobby. “With the Bits-in-Extensions feature, I recently started my own business building Twitch Extensions,” says Altoar. “I absolutely want to build more Extensions in the future, especially simple tools which enhance the user experience for everyone.” To date, Sound Alerts has been installed on over 12,000 channels and has steady month-over-month revenue growth.
Altoar is already hard at work on his next Extension, Vote Now, an overlay for esports tournaments that will allow viewers to make predictions about in-progress matches and view the results in real time. “I see streamers creating polls on a different website, pasting the link into the chat or using a chatbot, which makes chat conversations unreadable because everyone is writing the vote command into the chat,” says Altoar. “With this Extension, I want to avoid this and improve user experience for every viewer by simply integrating polls directly into the stream as a video overlay component where viewers just have to click to vote.” Although Vote Now isn’t officially released yet, it already made its debut during the StarCraft II HomeStory Cup.
With two successful Extension launches under his belt, Altoar has a few tips for any fledgling developers hoping to create Extensions of their own.
“Test your Extension enough to make sure there are no bugs when you release it to the public. Before I release a new Extension, I send the first version to whitelisted broadcasters only and ask friends to test the Extension on their streams first,” says Altoar. “Also, visit the developer forums and don’t hesitate to ask for help. The Twitch developer community is very friendly and is there to help.”
“I see a lot of potential in Extensions for the future,” Altoar said. “This is just the beginning, and it’s awesome to see how the Twitch team is working hard to make the Extensions experience better and better.”
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