TwitchCon 2016 crowd

Photo by Robert Paul via Twitch (CC-BY)

The new features are part of Twitch's aim to keep its audience on the platform.

Twitch is rolling out a number of new features, including a full HTML5 player, uploads, loyalty badges, and integrated Amazon Prime benefits, as announced by CEO Emmett Shear during the TwitchCon keynote speech on Friday.

The announcements are a move by Twitch to consolidate all of its features, with the goal of keeping its audience on the platform rather than clicking over to other sites. Uploads, which is now available, allows any user to upload videos to Twitch for anyone to watch, essentially cutting the need for YouTube out of the equation. Broadcasters can also now download their past stream videos to make editing and uploading shorter videos easier.

One of the biggest announcements to come out of the keynote, besides the HTML5 player finally rolling out site-wide, is Twitch Prime. In 2011, Twitch was acquired by Amazon, leading many to speculate about what this could mean for Twitch. Amazon Prime members will now have integrated benefits on Twitch, including a new badge, game loot every month—everything from boosts, to skins for their favorite games—discounts on new release games on Amazon, and a free Twitch channel subscription every month, with the streamers still getting paid for the cost of the sub.

This month’s free content is a new Hearthstone Priest hero, Tyrande. Twitch users can link their existing account, or purchase a new one for $10.99 a month or $99 a year at the Twitch Prime website. The first 30 days of Twitch Prime are free. The announcement was a surprise for some Turbo members, who likened many of the features to those of Turbo, which is $8.99 a month, leading them to wonder what will happen to the Turbo service.

Video quality options have been a big issue for many Twitch streamers and viewers, particularly on mobile where an internet connection might not be the best, or on non-partnered channels where viewers can only stream in the high-quality source mode. To address this, Twitch announced that it will roll out options to more streamers so viewers can have a more seamless experience.

With the introduction of Clips in May, Twitch essentially cut out the need for third-party video capture software like Oddshot. The feature was previously only available on desktop but it has now rolled out to mobile, along with the ability to trim clips to the exact moment that you want to share.

Badges are a huge part of the Twitch community, with viewers able to display that they are subbed to a channel, or Turbo users—the premium ad-free experience—showing off a shiny purple Turbo badge. Twitch partners now also have the ability to create their own loyalty badges to reward viewers that have subscribed to them for a certain milestone from one, three, six, 12, or 24 months. This feature will roll out in three weeks, giving partners time to design their new badges.

An example of what the new loyalty badges can look like.

An example of what the new loyalty badges can look like. Image via Twitch

In addition to the new feature announcements, Twitch also revealed some new stats. The most-watched new release game of 2016 was Overwatch. There are 17,208 partnered streamers as of this year, with over 2.25 million people streaming in 2016.

Twitch also revealed that over 166 million bits (the “currency” used to cheer) have been used via its donation system, Cheers, on 2,479 partnered channels. Cheers debuted on Jun. 27 on limited beta. The service cuts out the need for broadcasters to use a PayPal donation button in the hopes of stopping chargebacks.

Shear also pointed out that one member of the Twitch community has cheered over 6,000 times. Cheers, along with new features like uploads, is part of Twitch’s continuing trend in trying to make all the features that broadcasters and viewers want available on the platform directly.

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