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TwitchCon Recap: Twitch Muscles Up Its Live Streaming For 2019

Costume at TwitchCon2018. Photo: ESPAT Media / Contributor (Getty Images)

At this year’s TwitchCon, Twitch representatives had plenty to talk about regarding the site’s future. Owned by Amazon, Twitch is the one stop shop for Internet live streams in 2018, and that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon. Among the new features announced at TwitchCon’s keynote address are Squad Stream and improvements to the site’s highlight editor.

Squad Stream is the fanciest of the announced additions. Plenty of streamers already play multiplayer games across multiple streams. Now Twitch wants to bring those sessions together into one place. With a Squad Stream, up to four different streamers can play a game together on a single channel. Users will be able to zoom in on a specific perspective during the game.

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While this will work particularly well for multiplayer games like Fortnite or Team Fortress 2, we’ve also seen that the Twitch community are a creative bunch. Who knows what the people that made Twitch Plays Pokemon (TPP) into a phenomenon will be able to do with something like this. Squad Streams will become available to channels starting sometime in 2019.

Also announced during the show is Twitch Sings. Created with the help of Harmonix, the team behind Rock BandTwitch Sings is karaoke for millennials. Streamers can choose from a wide variety of cover songs. The game scores your singing in a similar way to Rock Band, measuring your tone and pitch along with the song. Artists included range from Three Doors Down to Johnny Cash.

The developer tested the game from the show floor during the convention, which showed off some of the more unique aspects of the product. Emotes spammed during the chat show up as images hurled into the air by the digital audience. The chat can also vote on certain challenges for the singer to perform. If the streamer can pull off singing “Never Gonna Give You Up” like a vampire, the chat can vote to grant them extra XP. Of course, it’s not clear what the XP does as of yet. We’ll have to see when the full game rolls out, or when we get into the closed beta.

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Squad Streams and Twitch Sings were the big news, but there are plenty of smaller improvements that hardcore Twitch users will appreciate. The highlights editor will now allow end users to string together various clips into one video. It will be easier than ever to craft that open world blooper reel! On the moderation front, you’ll now be able to see a user’s complete history on any given channel, letting you make easier decisions when it comes to banning troublesome chatters. The improved highlights editor is coming soon, while the moderation tools and a new VIP badge system will deploy in January.