Twitch’s New Guest Star Mode Lets Anyone Turn Their Stream Into a Talk Show

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Twitch wants to make it easy for creators to get guests on their talk show-style live streams — and anyone can become a creator.

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The company is announcing a new Guest Star feature that will tie into existing streaming software, allowing streaming hosts to attract up to five guests per stream and seamlessly switch between them.

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Through Guest Star, streamers will be able to invite anyone who has twitch account to stream from the desktop or Twitch mobile app. Creators can host and manage their guests right in Twitch studio or OBSthe tool of choice for many of the app’s more advanced streamers.

The feature will be rolled out first to a small cluster of invite-only Twitch users who are already active on Just a chat scene is a booming category on Twitch where streamers subtly hang out rather than focus on gaming. By fall, streamers who want to try out Guest Star will be able to sign up for the beta and have permanent access. Later this year, Guest Star will open to all Twitch users.

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The company envisions its community using Guest Star for formats such as game shows, advice columns, and radio-style sports chat shows. Unlike Twitch Squad Stream feature, which allows up to four creators to live stream together but requires them to be Twitch partners, Guest Star will eventually be available to all users, no matter how visible they are on the platform. The decision to bring all users together suggests that Twitch expands its focus away from its highest earning creators, the elite portion of its user who bring more than half of the platform’s revenue.

Only voice or video chat

Creators who want to invite guests live can either invite them directly or enable a mode that allows requests, such as raising a hand in Clubhouse or Zoom. Guests who receive a nod receive a toast notification that they can click to join to start a live broadcast.

Guest Star supports video but also allows creators to host only voice streams. Even if hosts themselves want to stream live video, they can toggle the setting to make guests audio-only before they join by turning off their cameras.

Chat apps have skyrocketed during the pandemic, and Twitch is likely realizing that its community needs more tools to create the laid-back, fluid social spaces that have made the voice-controlled Clubhouse app a hit. At the end of 2020, Twitch introduced a feature called Watch parties which allow creators to stream Amazon Prime videos together.

The Just Chat category on Twitch has also skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. Compared to the first five months of 2022 and the first half of 2020, the number of hours watched in this category has increased by 151%, while the income of Just Chatting creators has grown by 169%. Hours of live streaming from Twitch accounts, which were primarily streamed in this category, grew by 68%.

The company expects streamers to use the new feature for content like AMAs, coaching sessions, and even political gatherings.

“From Creator to Creator [view] this is a great opportunity for creators to collaborate,” Christopher Miles, senior product manager at Twitch, told TechCrunch.

He noted that Guest Star would be a big step forward for streamers who are used to digging through Reddit threads and managing unreliable connections with third-party software to make their streams more collaborative.

Guest star and security

Considering how “interactive” the product is, even by Twitch standards, Guest Star weaves in some of the platform’s latest security tools to make the experience as smooth as possible. While Guest Star is designed to attract subscribers and subscribers, not just other authors, the host and any mods they work with have full control. This includes deciding who is invited to join the stream, whether they are allowed to use their camera or only their microphone, whether they can share their screen, right down to controlling their audio levels. Guests breaking the rules can be quickly kicked out at any time.

By deciding who to look out for with Guest Star, creators and moderators can see who on the channel is a possible ban evader, a known stalker, or some other suspicious user who might be prone to bad behavior. Twitch has launched a new security feature for automatically detect and flag suspicious users in November, and now this technology is woven into a new streaming format.

In the Guest Star tool, moderators and creators can see a bird’s eye view of a user’s behavior right from the invite window, including how long the user has been a subscriber and past messages they’ve shared in chat. Creators working with more moderators can determine which mods are eligible to manage a guest star and promote guests live.

Guest Star also has its own virtual green room where any guest can check audio and video and chat until it goes live. Modifiers and hosts can easily send guests back to this waiting area at any time, as well as whisper them during the broadcast to facilitate backstage communication and coordination.

Because Guest Star is directly linked to Twitch, guests who violate the platform’s rules or break the rules can be reported as what Twitch considers Guest Star to be an advantage over third-party workarounds.

“Creators are already doing all these cool things today,” Miles said. “Twitch wants to make it easier and safer.”

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