Twitch is introducing a new feature today for streamers that will let them create their own Discord-like channels, separate from standard Twitch chat, where viewers and subscribers can talk to each other.
Dubbed “Rooms,” these channels can either be public or private, and are designed to create separate channels for specific purposes. For example, if a caster wanted to open a room for discussions about the latest Game of Thrones episode that includes major spoilers, fans can hop into that room to discuss what’s happening while watching the stream. These rooms will be open 24/7, meaning that fans can hop in and talk to people even when a streamer isn’t currently active.
Private Rooms will also be enabled for streamers who want to set up a separate area to talk to moderators or specific subscribers. Think of it like an administrative or leadership room on Discord and Slack.
A Twitch representative told Polygon that the “broadcaster sets whether or not the room is visible and/or accessible to everyone,” meaning that not all private rooms will be discoverable. Permission to those rooms must be granted. The representative also confirmed that “community guidelines apply to everywhere on our service.” Conversation and behavior that occurs within private rooms must still meet Twitch’s rules. Twitch recently introduced new community guidelines to crack down on hate speech, harassment and sexually suggestive content.
The decision to implement the Rooms feature came from community requests and “will be iterated on throughout the year,” according to a press release. Twitch has been trying to make its platform more friendly for some time. The company launched a revamped desktop app in 2017 that allowed for video calls and direct messaging and featured an early version of Discord-like servers. Twitch said the difference between the web app and Room is that the latter “is built directly into the creator’s channel on web and mobile, so it’s much easier to get the entire community involved.”
It’s no surprise that Twitch has been working on its own take on a Discord-like system. More Twitch streamers are building their own Discord servers for fans to hang out in, giving them a better way to communicate with fans. Discord introduced a subscribers-only Twitch integration to its service in 2015, but the social platform has been popular with Twitch streamers for quite some time.
It’s unclear if Twitch’s Rooms will be a direct competitor to Discord, but it seems to be an attempt from Twitch to compete with off-platform social networks.
Twitch said the new Rooms feature will launch later today.