Twitch is getting more social with the new “Friends” feature

Ever since Amazon bought Twitch, streaming site is getting more and more social. After they launched Channel Feed, a feature allowing broadcasters a new, easier way of posting their content directly to their viewers, and Whispers, that allowed users to send direct messages to other users, Twitch released another social feature dubbed simply Friends.

The new feature was hinted during April and now it entered beta stage. In other words, you have to get either a beta invitation from Twitch or a friend request from another user to gain access to the new feature. Clever move that will prevent server overload and that’ll allow Twitch to thoroughly test the new feature before it goes live for all.

Twitch

It allows users to chat, see who of their friends is online, send invitations, find new friends, and more. Simply put, it allows you to make friends on another platform, slowly pushing Twitch into social networking waters. You can see a list of recommended friends, so it won’t be hard to find people you already know, or have conversed with in the past. Once you become friend with someone, you can send her private messages, named “whispers”.

Users can have up to 500 friends, and all of them are available within a single click. You can see who’s online, who sent you a friend request, and the search button is neatly integrated into friends tab allowing you to quickly add more people to your friend circle.

This move was somewhat expected. Amazon surely wants to find a way for users to spend more time on Twitch, and having friends you can communicate with directly on the site is one way to do it. This will also ease up broadcasters in their effort to gain new viewers, and their reach could widen, with people telling friends when they find some new, interesting stream channel. It will also become easier to gain new users, because when you have Friends option, there will be more people coming to the site because they can feel more inclined to join Twitch if they can watch streams with their friends.

Twitch now also has a big messaging potential, and could become another big player in this highly competitive market. Chat already has options for showing online status, an option of going offline or just having “do not disturb” status, and with some more features (support for GIF’s, images, videos, more emoticons) Twitch can become a new type of social network, something YouTube never achieved.

It will be interesting to see if Twitch will grab this new opportunity and became something of a social network for gamers, a place where they can gather, watch, and discuss about games. Twitch already has apps for most systems (Android, iOS, Windows, PS4, Xbox One) meaning that potential user base is huge, they now just need to secure users, and with the new features many new users will surely join this, now, almost social network.

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