You may not be familiar with the name Porcupine, but if you’ve watched a Twitch channel with one of their Extensions enabled, chances are quite high you’ve interacted with one of their tools. With just a tiny three-person team, Porcupine builds community-focused Extensions that have served over 100,000 broadcasters, reaching millions of viewers with a wildly impressive engagement rate of 75%! Today we’re taking a look inside their development journey so far, what’s coming next, and what other Extension builders and users can learn from their success so far.
Ido Tal co-founded Porcupine in late 2016 with a focus on live-streaming analytics tools, but with the team’s extensive background in esports and game development, they shifted their focus to developing Extensions.
“We watch Twitch all the time,” Tal said. “At lunch breaks. In the evening. When we do, we feel like there’s a special connection with the streamer. When we started building Extensions, we felt the best way to approach it was to give people new opportunities to interact in livestreams. That’s what draws us… Viewers are hungry for something to do. They want to get more engaged with the broadcast.”
Porcupine’s belief in strong engagement shines through in its previous Extensions: Live Pet, for example, lets streamers adopt a virtual pet that dies if viewers don’t take care of it (but don’t worry; they’re safe when the streamer goes offline). Similarly, their latest Extension, Pixel Hunt, relies on the community coming together to accomplish a common goal. And Porcupine had an amazing opportunity to debut it in a unique way on Twitch.
Pixel Hunt was featured in Episode 3 of Stream On, our ongoing streamer game show produced by Twitch Studios. It was used as part of the show’s first interactive challenge, and each contestant could spawn a grid on their own stream. The task? To rally their communities to come together to find the “golden pixel” hidden within a grid. Communication and collaboration was key, even more so with a cash prize on the line. The experience was an incredible way for Porcupine to get feedback on the Extension and tweak it for the upcoming release to all of Twitch.
“It’s a challenge to get feedback on Extensions,” Tal said. “I think most devs experience that. This was so much easier with Stream On with a guaranteed number of hours and channels. Weeks later we put Pixel Hunt on Pokerstars, with feedback we received from Stream On. We changed the cooldown for placing a pixel. We also removed powerups because sometimes there wouldn’t be a streamer to place powerups, and we wanted viewers to be able to play on their own.”
You can check out Pixel Hunt in action in the Stream On clip below.
Though Extensions on Twitch are still less than a year old, Porcupine is already on its third Extension. Being so early to a new marketplace has advantages, which Tal encouraged developers to take advantage of.
“When you’re early, you have an opportunity to get discovered,” Tal said. “There are not so many devs out there yet, and some of the bigger names in this industry building tools are getting into it. We feel like we have flexibility now in being fast and early … This is going to be really huge. There are going to be thousands of active Extensions. I believe even for a dev getting in at this point, there’s enough space for everyone.”
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