Twitch has announced a new feature for creators who want to include other streamers and even viewers on their broadcasts. Up to five guests can join a stream through Guest Star, which works on both desktop and mobile. If a viewer wants to take part in the discussion or ask a question, they can raise a virtual hand and the creator or a moderator may invite them on. This seems to work in a similar fashion to Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces.
While the feature is akin to Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Spotify Live, Discord Stage Channels et al, Twitch can set itself apart from those services. Guest Star supports live video as well as audio — this is Twitch, after all.
The platform says Guest Star is easy for both newcomers and experienced streamers to use and it works with software like OBS and Twitch Studio. However, streamers won't need to use a third-party app to host a broadcast with other participants.
Until now, bringing guests on to a broadcast has required a bit of a workaround if creators don't want to simply stream a Zoom, Skype or Discord call. If they prefer to use custom layouts, overlays and branding, it's possible to include remote video feeds from Skype or a web app. Guest Star should streamline things.
Streamers and their moderators can swiftly remove guests at any time and for any reason. Guests will need a Twitch account, which means they can be reported for violating the platform's rules. There are some measures in place to help weed out bad actors before they become a guest. Creators and moderators will be able to look at factors like the age of an account, if it's in good standing and if the user has verified it with a phone number.
Guest Star seems to build on features like Squad Stream, which allows viewers to watch four livestreams simultaneously on the Twitch app or website and jump between those creators' chats. The new feature is about bringing people together on the same channel. Creators might use Guest Star for podcasts, call-in advice streams and even game shows.
While Twitch is most commonly associated with gaming, talk-style content has long been on the rise on the platform. Just Chatting has been the most popular category since the third quarter of 2020, according to data from Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet.
Twitch says that, in the first five months of 2022 (compared with the same period in 2020), hours watched in the Just Chatting category grew 151 percent, while revenue for streamers who create that type of content rose by 169 percent. It suggested Guest Star may encourage more creators to try their hand at talk-focused content.
At first, Guest Star will only be available to a small number of hand-picked streamers who already create talk content so that Twitch can get some feedback before a broader rollout. Twitch plans to make the feature available to all creators this fall.