Twitch is doubling down on making its site more than just a place for livestreaming gaming video. Last fall, the Amazon-owned company began testing a new feature called “Watch Parties,” which lets creators stream Amazon Prime Video content to viewers with Amazon Prime. This spring, Twitch opened up Watch Parties to its biggest streaming channels in the U.S., adding support for over 70 movies and TV shows from Prime Video at launch. Today, Twitch says the feature is now available to creators worldwide.
With the global expansion, Twitch streamers can host a Watch Party featuring any title that’s included with a Prime or Prime Video subscription in their region. Of course, if creators are streaming to an international audience, they’ll want to find content everyone can watch. These titles will be identified with a label reading “Broadly Available,” which means most Prime subscribers on Twitch can view the content.
As the content is streamed to viewers, the Twitch streamer’s own webcam will appear in the video player above Chat, so the community can watch how they react. Viewers can also show support for the streamer as they would normally, using features like Bits or subscribing to their channel, for example.
To use the feature, streamers will first need to add the Watch Party Quick Action to Stream Manger, then connect Watch Parties with their own Prime or Prime Video account. When it’s time to stream, they’ll just select the TV show or movie they want to watch, the go live.
The launch comes at a time when co-viewing experiences like this have been on the rise due to the coronavirus pandemic. People staying home under quarantines and lockdown have turned to co-watching to stay connected with family and friends. The browser extension Netflix Party went viral in the early days of the pandemic in the U.S., and since then major streaming services including Prime Video and Hulu have rolled out their own co-watching features, too.
Twitch has also found traction amid the pandemic as a home to more nongaming content. Musicians, for example, have turned to Twitch to stream to fans. Other areas of its site, like “Just Chatting,” have boomed as well.
Twitch says it’s now working to make Watch Parties available on mobile devices — a feature it expects to launch in the next several months.