Game streaming platform Twitch is launching IRL, an additional programming category designed to “share content captured from [creators’] everyday lives.” They also plan to add the ability to stream video live from the Twitch mobile app.
IRL is a new Twitch category that will allow creators to simply turn the camera on themselves and the world around them. In a press release, Twitch said it was “inspired by creator feedback regarding the ability to interact with their viewers in more vlog-inspired personal ways not tethered to video games.”
Twitch will also add a streaming feature to its mobile app. The move positions the company, which was acquired by Amazon in 2014 for nearly $1 billion, as a direct competitor to Facebook, which added the ability to livestream from mobile devices earlier this year.
Twitch’s fundamental technology was developed by Justin.tv, its precursor company, and the turn toward vlogging recalls that earlier tech. Justin.tv was originally conceived following co-founder Justin Kan’s attempt to livestream his entire life, 24 hours a day. The platform eventually converted over exclusively to gaming-centric content, becoming the Twitch we know today. You can read more on that transition in our feature story on the history of Twitch here.
Representatives of Twitch followed up the initial press release with a statement intended to clarify the distinction between the legacy Justin.tv platform and the new IRL category.
“If you're curious if this news means Twitch is becoming more like Justin.tv, the short answer is no,” representatives said. “Justin.tv took a content approach and Twitch took a community one. Justin.tv was a platform created to stream random content, while Twitch has always been hyper-focused on the community and their wants.”
In recent years, Twitch has grown to include both gaming-centric to gaming-adjacent content. It regularly broadcasts press conferences and other marketing events for the games industry featuring its own live, on-stage hosts. You can find streamers simply playing a game, any game, as an excuse to interact with their audience and build their community.
Streamers, in turn, draw an income off subscriptions and micro-donations.
Twitch also allows for the streaming of analogue games, including pinball and pen-and-paper role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. It recently allowed streamers to create so-called “social eating” streams, where creators consume food for a live audience.
It also, somewhat inexplicably, added regularly scheduled reruns of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross to its programming lineup.
Twitch will be sharing a formal product announcement today from inside the new IRL category. The stream begins at 2:00 p.m. PT.