Twitch, the Amazon-owned video game streaming service, is now available on Alexa. The company says it has launched a new skill for Alexa device owners that will allow Twitch users to track their favorite video creators and be notified when they start streaming, as well as discover new games and channels, among other things.
The skill seems best designed for the Echo Show, the Alexa-powered device that includes a screen for watching videos. After all, hearing the action taking place on an audio stream isn’t nearly the same as seeing it play out before your eyes, in real time.
According to Twitch’s announcement, users can get started with the new skill by first connecting their Twitch account to Alexa. Then, they can ask Alexa at any time for various information, like which channels they follow, or suggestions of popular channels, categories, or games by saying things like: “Alexa, ask Twitch for followed channels,” “Alexa, ask who’s playing World of Warcraft,” “Alexa, ask Twitch which streams are popular,” “Alexa, tell Twitch to suggest a game for me,” or “Alexa, ask Twitch to suggest an IRL channel,” among other commands.
These sorts of audio-only discovery features for a visual platform like Twitch may not be all that useful except for the site’s heaviest users, who might then pull out their mobile device or open their laptop to follow along on a screen. The exceptions would be Twitch’s music channels, talk shows or some of the content from the IRL (vlogging) category, which may not require direct viewing.
For Twitch users with an Echo Show, the skill is far more helpful. You can start playing a channel directly by saying “Alexa, ask Twitch to play [Channel Name]” or “Alexa, ask Twitch to start [Channel Name],” and it will go live on the Echo Show’s screen.
However, the skill does include a way to get notifications about your favorite channels, which could be something more Twitch users may appreciate. If a channel you want to track starts streaming, Alexa can notify you about the event. This is based on your notification preferences, Twitch says. (The notifications feature turns Alexa’s blue ring to yellow and includes an audible chime.)
It can also send a reminder about when your Twitch Prime subscription becomes available to use. The subscription, available to Amazon Prime members, offers free in-game loot monthly, plus ad-free viewing and a free channel subscription every 30 days, along with other perks.
These notification features, arguably, seem more useful than the channel discovery options, which seem a bit awkward to use via voice.
Given its connection with Amazon, it was only a matter of time before Twitch rolled out a skill to Alexa device owners. But the skill may not be in its final form at this point – the company says it’s still open to feedback from users, which can be sent in for consideration via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The company also says it will add support for following channels, taking Clips and more, starting in 2018.