People like watching others play games. Twitch’s business model works on the addictive appeal and strong network of gamers and viewers and makes money out of it. The company is designed to be a platform for content, including eSports sports tournaments, personal streams of individual players, and gaming-related talk shows.
Almost any video game of any genre can be broadcast and viewed on Twitch. The platform regularly hosts E-tournaments where various players fight it out for millions of other viewers to watch with live commentary and news. Or you can watch your favorite team.
No registration is required if you are going to view a game. However, broadcasting and chatting require free-of-cost registration. All the content is accessible through multiple devices and mediums including PCs, gaming consoles, and mobile devices.
What is a Twitch Squad Streaming?
The Amazon-owned video platform announced the launch of a new feature called “Squad Stream”. The release date was March 27, 2019. The new product might become a leader in multiplayer entertainment, providing viewers, streamers, and communities more ways to play, collaborate and watch together.
This new multistream option offers a way for up to four creators to go live and stream together within one window. Viewers can then open up a single Twitch page and easily swap between all those streams at their leisure. Stream Squad encourages creators to collaborate actively rather than just passively promote. The feature also benefits viewers by giving them additional glimpses into the action and a chance to chat with communities of creators they might not necessarily follow. The feature will allow creators to grow their communities by teaming up with others, as it gives gamers increased exposure by playing to a wider range of fans.
The company is advertising the feature as useful for everything from tabletop streams to speed running sessions. But it’s going to be most useful to the more mainstream sections of the Twitch audience that watch team-based battle arena and battle games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and League of Legends.
Twitch created this new feature for the top creators who play competitive shooters and titles with large e-sports fan bases as well as for smaller creators with more niche interests.
Because Squad Streams feature four windowed streams simultaneously, the company needs to adjust the video quality of various streams on the fly, a transcoding feature only available to Twitch Partners at the moment.
How to Set Up Squad Stream on Twitch?
To participate in Squad Streams, creators can join up with one another from their dashboard with the help of a new Squad Stream widget. They can then start their own group game by inviting others to join in, or they can accept an invitation to join another team. You can manage your permissions settings from your channel settings page. By default, anyone who is your friend, teammate, or a channel you follow will be able to invite you to a group.
During streams, viewers get to watch all creators in one window, which gives them different views and angles on the action. Meantime, fans can chat or cheer whoever is in the primary slot — an option they get to choose by clicking on any of the channels’ video player to make in the larger screen. Ads will play only in the primary slot, and viewership also only gets counted when a channel is in the primary slot.
Unfortunately, the feature is launching first to Partners — the top-level streamers who are less in need of growing their community than smaller participants. The company explains this decision as a strategy due to the need for video quality options (transcodes) on the Squad Streams — an option Partners have on their streams by default. (Affiliates only receive them as they’re available, with priority access.).
When a streamer leaves a team, their viewers will remain in squad mode. If you plan on leaving during a live stream, make sure to let your viewers know. If you are the squad leader, the first member you invited will become the new leader.
The video quality options allow the Squad Stream feature to display the video in the non-primary slots in a lower-quality mode, like 480p. Most gamers stream in 720p or above, so without video quality options, the squad viewing experience can be taxing since it would display up to four 720p+ streams at once.
The company says its plan is to roll out Squad Stream to Affiliates and all other gamers in time, as it expands its transcodes capacity.
To start or accept an invite to a group follow these simple steps:
- Find the “Squad Stream” widget on your Dashboard.
- Click on the “Add a Channel” button and type the channel you’d like to invite to your team (remember that you can invite up to 3 other channels.) By default, you can invite any live channel that is on your friend list, is a teammate, or is a channel that follows you.
- After the other channels have accepted your invites, click “Start Squad Stream.”
- A game ends when all members have left the team.
How to Watch Squad Stream on Twitch?
Viewers will be able to jump in from a creator’s page on desktop and mobile, enlarge the broadcast they want to focus on while keeping an eye on the others, and chat to each creator’s community at the same time. Not only does that equal more angles to watch the action from, but will also offer more exposure to fledgling creators.
As a viewer, you can chat or Cheer with Bits in whichever channel that is in the primary slot. Options for following or subscribing appear by either hovering over the team member’s avatar at the top of the screen or over the video player for that member.
If you tune into an individual streamer who’s broadcasting with a squad, you can hit a button to switch to a view that shows the whole team – or you can search for squads directly in the browse view. Once there, you can click any member of the team to switch focus to them while each of the others plays in a smaller window down below. You’ll see chat for whichever stream you’re currently focused on.
If you use the Twitch mobile app, you are able to watch in squad mode as well. Viewers are able to watch up to 3 channels at once. For squads with 4 channels, viewers will be able to select which 3 of the 4 are displayed. Squad viewing is limited to 3 on the mobile app because of the need to be able to provide a consistent, optimal experience for all audiences.
For viewers looking specifically for Squad Streams, Twitch created a dedicated tag that only lists those streams.
Pros and Cons of Twitch Squad Feature
- Let’s up to four folks band together and have their streams all appear on the same page.
- You can manage your permissions from your channel settings.
- Viewers are able to watch in squad mode via the Twitch mobile app.
- Only available to Twitch Partners, the elite of their vetted and vaunted members. However, the company plans to make it available to affiliates and all other participants as they continue expanding their transcodes capacity.
- There are ads while watching a stream. However, ads will only play on the channel that is in the primary slot. Viewers will be unable to switch views while an ad is playing.
- Past Broadcasts will not display multiple streams.
- Extensions will be disabled for viewers who watch in squad mode. However, Extensions will continue to function for those viewers who watch in non-squad mode.
With Squad Stream, Twitch has solved the technical problem of combining streams and presenting them as a single screen to players without running into bandwidth problems. Creators can squad up via the Twitch dashboard, offer additional angles on the action, and offer their viewers a way to chat with all four stream stars at once.
It could also be used outside of games. You could see four chefs do a cook-off with cameras focused on each chef. Or you could see a racing game from multiple perspectives.