We all know Twitch as a place for gamers to stream content for the wider community, and it has been very successful at that. However, it would seem Amazon, the owner of Twitch, wants to branch out into something different, and it makes perfect sense to do so.
Here's the thing: we have Google competing with Twitch on its own turf by allowing its users to live stream video gaming content on YouTube. Seeing as YouTube is the largest and the most notable video website on the web, this is a big deal and one that doesn't do Twitch any favors.
Competing Directly With YouTube
With the latest announcement, Twitch will compete directly with YouTube, but not outside of streaming. Outside of the two entities, YouTube was the only one to allow anyone to live stream. Whether it be gamers or a regular joe living in the Arctic, anyone can fire up their computer and webcam and have a blast.
Twitch, just recently, decided to make it possible for users to live stream content that has nothing to do with gaming, and it's called IRL (In Real Life). It simply means a person who is popular on the platform no longer needs to venture to YouTube to live stream anything outside of the realm of gaming. From our point of view, this move could take away content creators from YouTube, especially those who bounces between the two.
"Anything and everything you're interested in can potentially become a topic of a stream," according to Twitch blog.
Return To The Days Of Justin.tv
Many might have not known that the company behind Twitch is the same company behind the now-defunct Justin.tv, which is originally created as a companion to Twitch. Justin.tv was a non-gaming platform that allowed users to stream whatever they wanted as long as the content is not video game related.
Unfortunately, many folks used Justin.tv to live stream TV shows and other contents that are deemed illegal. The service was shuttered in 2014, not too long after Amazon announced it would acquire Twitch.
For those who used Justin.tv, Twitch's IRL category is a stern reminder of the old platform due to its resemblance. However, folks should not expect to get away with the live streaming of illegal content, as Twitch and Amazon are prepared for such things.
So far, there are quite a lot of Twitch users taking advantage of IRL. We can see some folks talking about the Christmas season, while others are having discussions about Star Wars: Rogue One.
Time will tell if IRL will take off in a huge way. We see no reason why it wouldn't, but stranger things have happened in the past before.
On the other hand, we have Microsoft pushing its Beam live stream service, and no doubt it will adopt similar non-gaming options in the future.