Twitch Con is an event held by the website Twitch.TV every year to celebrate its community of live streamers and fans. Twitch Con 2016 is interesting because it is the first time since Twitch was purchased by retail/tech giant Amazon.  Amazon is taking aim at Google and Youtube, through Twitch, and the shot hits their mark.

Amazon has been heavily investing in the gaming market lately with bonuses to it’s Amazon Prime membership for gamers, and the purchase of Killer Instinct devs Double Helix. With Amazon developing it a few micro console games before for it’s Amazon Fire TV box, they look to step up their game and take aim at a few of their biggest competitors, like Steam and Gamestop. Offering competing games with a competing service, at competitive prices is the goal.

Twitch users who have an Amazon Prime membership will also be in for a surprise, as they will have a free upgrade to Twitch Prime. Twitch Prime is everything that Amazon prime is, plus all the benefits of Twitch’s Turbo Service. Subscribers will get, free in game items, like Hearthstone cards, in game character skins, and even a free game or two each month. Twitch Prime members also will get one free channel subscription per month to help out their favorite streamers.

Twitch has also expanded its video on demand offering.  Twitch would allow users to keep past streams on their channel. After seeing the numerous fumbles of Youtube in 2016, Twitch now allows users to directly upload their own edited videos to their channel in the same way Youtube does. The Twitch player is not as advanced as Youtube’s, (lacking features as annotations, and subtitles) it is offering some healthy competition to the world’s largest video site, something that is desperately needed.

Amazon rounded off their convention with the announcement of 3 games in development. The games are designed to be played on Twitch and have audience interaction.  Breakaway from Double Helix, is a mix of Overwatch heroes, League of Legends style, and American Football. New World is an open world pseudo mmo, in which the Twitch chat can help or hinder the streamer. Crucible, a 6vs6vs1 3rd person shooter, where the 1 is the game master, and the chat can join in the fun. All these games are using a new api, that Twitch has developed to allow people to mess with streamers in fun and interesting ways.  For example streamer Vinesause was playing ClusterTruck when the devs assumed control via Twitch and made many many explosions.

Twitch is maturing into a very comprehensive site, that is becoming a great alternative to the more and more corporately driven Youtube. While I don’t think that Twitch will ever see the same success as Youtube, it looks like it will be able to stand on its own and grow to offer a gut check to the big boys.

Nice job Amazon/Twitch!

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