PAX Prime 2013 – “Twitch: Then. Now. FOR-EV-ER.”

The past, present and future of the video game broadcasting giant.
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For those of you unaware to the awesomeness of, sit back and be amazed. Twitch has completely revolutionized live gameplay and the entire gaming community. Thanks to their own servers I was able to watch their panel at PAX Prime live from the comfort of my home (thanks good guy Twitch). 

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Humble Beginnings

Twitch began as a gaming sub-section of back in 2007. Unbeknownst to Twitch founder Emmett Shear and COO Kevin Lynn, their sub-section was going to grow into a gaming community with the capabilities of connecting online and console gamers with each other to watch, play, and enjoy the thrill of video games.

This open platform for gamers to broadcast live feed of gameplay would hit 30 million views by January of 2010. By this time, there was a social cam on Facebook and the ever popular Kappa emote graced chatrooms and “changed the internet forever”… kinda. 

Wanting to enhance their platform to the broadcasters’ liking, in February 2011, JustinTV reached out to other platforms with a simple question; what did they have to do to make other broadcasters switch to JustinTV. Working with their collected feedback, they eventually had a wave of broadcasters like Day [9] make the switch.

And in June of 2011, Shear and Lynn decided to make the monumental move of separating from JustinTV to a site that could focus solely on gaming; Twitch was born. After making their début at E3, Twitch reached 8 million unique viewers within its first month. With such growth, the Twitch offices were able to expand without any resentment. Lynn’s response towards their big move? “I wouldn’t have to spend another 3 hours for a meeting in a tight closet with 5 other guys.”

The Big Move

The move of offices was a sign of rapid expansion for the company as they reached milestone after milestone. The very new and highly succesful Twitch launched its first mobile app in October, sponsored its first major tournament via with 18-19,000 uCurrents in November and closed the year with 12 million unique viewers with the promising drive of continual growth through new users like Siglemic that helped expose Twitch’s community.

Twitch was skyrocketing through their first year and everyone wanted to take part of their endeavors. After a few changes to their logo, a Webby People’s Voice Award for Best Game-Related Website, and another 5 million unique viewers, Twitch started receiving the much wanted attention from other colleagues in the field.

In September of 2012, Twitch announced a $15 million Series B investment. With this major investment, Twitch was able to enhance the transcript program as well as build a European point of presence network and not to mention scale their network. By doing so, this allowed for faster and easier broadcasting on an international level.

Twitch also decided to give back to the community by partnering up with Alienware for $50k in scholarships for pro-gaming students. Lynn argued that “if you could get a scholarship for throwing a ball into a basket then you should get one for playing video games.” They also got the Twitch community to raise more than $1 million for charity. And almost as great karma, they closed out yet another succesful year with Planet Side 2 being the first game released to feature Twitch.


This current year, Twitch was already announced a must-have app for consoles when integrated with Call of Duty: Black Ops II following its console début with Xbox 360. They also announced the exciting integration with Xbox One and the PS4.

2013 has been another great year for Twitch with their partnership with ReedPOP that allows them to have access to show floors and offer live stream of these events. And in August, the biggest event in Twitch’s history took place: International 3 weekend. This weekend full of tournaments brought 4.5 million viewers in a single day. And to top it all off, Twitch is currently reaching 40 million unique viewers per month.

The Future of Twitch

Having started off as sub-section to a now multi-million viewer platform, Twitch has come a long way and will continue to venture and strengthen its community. Looking into its not so distant future, Shear and Lynn have confirmed many exciting new movements for the company. For example, transitioning video services to HLS. By doing so, there will be an unlimited amount of permitted streams everywhere, ability to rewind live streams and an open edge capacity will become available to scale up to multi-media concurrent users.

The other major thing to look out for on Twitch’s home front is its first big community broadcast, “Twitch Friends Forever.” TFF will essentially invite different broadcasters to learn more about them and promote each within the community. This broadcast would allow users to learn about popular or new broadcasters to keep an eye out for. And finally as mentioned earlier the next generation console integrations which will open up a whole new community of console gamers to bond with PC gamers over their different broadcasts. 

All in all, Twitch’s increasing community and interactive management team have created the go-to place for live streaming gameplay content. Whether a user is there to compete with other users, broadcast their own skills and techniques, or take notes from other gamers, Twitch has what they’re looking for. 

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