Twitch, in an effort to become how you stream, not just where, today announced Twitch Studio, its own proprietary streaming software. Twitch is positioning its streaming solution as an option for “new streamers,” according to a post on its official blog, where it also announced a closed beta.
“Today we’ve opened up beta testing for Twitch Studio: an all-in-one streaming app for new streamers that cuts down on the guesswork to setup a quality stream and makes it easier to engage with your community,” the blog reads. “We’re releasing a beta with limited features to a group of streamers to give it a spin, report any bugs, and share their feedback.” Sign-ups for the closed beta can be found here, and are as easy as logging into your Twitch account and clicking a button.
Speaking of those limited features, there seem to be only three: A guided setup that helps optimize webcam and microphone settings; customizable, built-in templates; and an activity feed that shows alerts and notifications as they happen. That’s it! It doesn’t sound like Twitch Studio even supports capture cards in its current form, given that the FAQ lists “support for capture cards” among features planned for the future, along with “an in-game overlay that makes it easier to chat and engage with your viewers” and “additional integration with Twitch functionality.”
Sounds more like an alpha test to me, but words don’t mean anything anymore so here we are. Twitch is aware of how barren its software is at least, and even recommends that existing streamers don’t switch to Twitch Studio. “Twitch Studio helps new streamers with the setup and customization of their stream,” says the FAQ. “If you are an existing streamer, you are likely satisfied with your current stream and equipment setup so there’s no need to switch.” That’s some bizarrely helpful advice from an enormous company trying to launch a new piece of software, but thanks? Thanks Twitch??
The need to simplify streaming applications is a real one, as anyone that has faced the blank, unyielding stare of a fresh Open Broadcast Software (OBS) or XSplit installation will gladly tell you. Streamlabs OBS — a rogue splinter faction of the OBS project — has already made enormous headway in this regard, by including hundreds of built-in, free templates and a setup wizard that automatically calibrates everything from microphone sensitivity, to the stream’s bitrate.
Twitch has a lot of catching up to do, but it does have the advantage of being the name that people recognize. If someone is brand-new to the world of live videos on the internet, they’re probably gonna download the thing made by the service they’re watching. Additionally, since Twitch has better access to its own technology than anybody else, it can theoretically optimize Twitch Studio in such a way as to outperform OBS or XSplit, at least in terms of latency and/or stability.
It doesn’t sound like Twitch Studio actually does that yet, but it’s certainly feasible. Microsoft’s Mixer, for instance, achieved something similar back when it was still the independent streaming website Beam, by maintaining its own branch of OBS that was specially calibrated for talking to Beam’s servers. Nowadays, Mixer support is built into Windows 10 and Xbox, so the Beam fork of OBS has been abandoned. Twitch probably isn’t going to get OS-level integration in anything anytime soon (save for maybe like, an Amazon Fire dongle I guess?), so Twitch Studio will have to make a strong case on its own.