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Eight years after the launch, Twitch gets a slightly new look

Twitch has begun testing a new feature called "Watch Parties," which gives streamers the ability to stream content from Amazon Prime to their viewers (who also have Amazon Prime), according to a chatter posted Friday evening. "Watch Parties brings Prime Video to Twitch," the announcement said. "You can watch a selection of Prime video films and TV shows on your channel with all your viewers who have Prime, including the new season of Tom Clancy & # 39; s Jack Ryan, Mission: Impossible РFalloutand Pokémon. "

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A Twitch spokesperson confirmed that the email is being sent to a mix of partners and partners for the first test group.

There is certainly interest. As Travis Shreffler, the streamer who placed the tweets in the first place, remarked: a few springs ago, Twitch had a Power Rangers marathon of every episode, and let streamers stream it along with their & # 39; s community for a cool social viewing experience. "You have seen many streamers, including myself, comment on episodes in MST3K style," Shreffler writes in an email The edge. "I have had several people say that they want to do" The Boys with The Boys ". When season 2 of Amazon & # 39; s The Boys comes out, they come together and binge it with their friends. "

Allowing streamers to show shows also promises to bring new channels to Twitch. Watch-alongs are likely to become a more regular feature of the site as digital rights and permissions are discovered. The move is likely to be a reaction to the pressure from Twitch's competitors – namely Caffeine, the live streaming platform currently in beta and that is attracted an investment of $ 100 million from 21st Century Fox. (It seems likely that Caffeine plans to give their streamers at least some access to some of the 21st Century Fox catalog.)

Although Twitch hosts many different types of streamers on its platform – and has recently strengthened its investment in sports and music content – the service is best known for its core focus on video games.

Giving Streamers access to the Amazon Content Library is a smart move and appears to be a new front in the ongoing streaming wars; the battle for content libraries must now necessarily include digital streaming rights. Twitch has Amazon & # 39; s deep pockets and attractive original movies and television; Caffeine has Fox, who has exclusive sports and music rights that other services do not have; YouTube has billions of hours of video. Although Twitch also has a first-mover advantage as the most popular streaming site in the world, it must also convince consumers that it is more than games.

Streamers have already discovered that. People stream things illegally on Twitch for a while – if you visit the Just Chatting category and scroll for a while, you'll find people who stream anime dubbed in Russian, for example among ubiquitous vloggers.

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Some of these people are just piracy video, but enough are trying to make a transformational comment that it seems clear that streamers want a legal way to comment on live TV or watch events. Earlier this year, some well-known streamers earned copyright attacks on their accounts because they streamed a political debate; they called reasonable use, but the company that organized the event thought differently.