Watching people game online has been around for years, but I hadn’t thought much about where platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming could take the experience next.
Not only will people be viewing, but they’ll be part of the gameplay too and have more to do while they’re tuned in thanks to Twitch Extensions:
As of this writing, there are roughly 150 Twitch Extensions, and according to Twitch, more than 2,000 developers have signed up to create more.
Some extensions consist of simple stat overlays that let you get a better look at a streamer’s performance in games like Fortnite and Destiny 2. Others, like Darwin Project’s Spectator Experience, allow viewers to become active participants in the games they’re watching. But they all share the common goal of making Twitch more than just a place to seek out passive entertainment.
“I think, at the end of the day, we want every game to have an official extension,” Shevat said, adding that a lot of the content you see on a streamer’s Twitch page — including links to social media channels and personal websites — will become more interactive over time.
There are already a few live examples of these types of add-ons, including a Spotify extension that lets you see what music a broadcaster is rocking or an Amazon extension that makes it easy to buy your favorite streamer’s preferred PC parts right from their channel.
The most intriguing part comes at the end, where he frames playing with interactive viewers against the progression of computers up to now (emphasis mine):
“There is — and this is a very conservative approximation — 20 times more people watching people play, than people playing any game,” said Darveau.
“Playing without viewers involved will eventually feel like nowadays when you go on a computer, and there’s no internet.”