Twitch updates security for its TwitchCon event following the Jacksonville esports shooting

Twitch is today announcing changes to its security procedures for its TwitchCon event taking place in San Jose, California on October 26-28. The update follows news of the tragic shooting at an esports event in Jacksonville, Florida last month where three people died, including the shooter, and 11 were injured. Twitch said it would review its procedures as a result, and would soon have more information about what it’s doing to keep attendees safe. Today, the company shared those plans.

According to Twitch, it’s working with San Jose’s local law enforcement, convention staff and additional security services on the event.

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Twitch hires head of diversity and inclusion

Twitch, the Amazon-owned streaming platform, has brought on its first head of diversity and inclusion, as well as a new chief financial officer and chief human resources officer. Katrina Jones, who will start next month as Twitch’s head of diversity and inclusion, is the former head of diversity at Vimeo. At Vimeo, Jones created the company’s diversity strategy, and worked on disrupting bias and fostering inclusion. Meanwhile, Michelle Weaver and Sudarshana Rangachary are coming on board as CFO and CHRO, respectively. From the diversity and inclusion front, Twitch has a history of struggling. The platform itself, for example, was called out in 2015 for being mostly white and male. Fast-forward to 2016, and Twitch hosted a panel at its annual convention dubbed “Diversify Twitch.” That didn’t turn out very well for Twitch, as its African-American panelists were subjected to racism, insults and slurs. Just last year, Twitch hosted
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No one should be surprised that pirates hijacked the Logan Paul/KSI boxing match on Twitch

Over the weekend, pirates made off with millions in potential YouTube revenues by hijacking the live-streams of its pay-per-view “boxing” match between YouTube celebrities Logan Paul and KSI and broadcasting them on the rival streaming platform Twitch. The theft represents a pretty bold move in the continuing cat-and-mouse game between rival entertainment platforms Twitch (for live streaming) and YouTube (for pretty much everything else in the world of user-generated video). It also shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

For Twitch, the case of the pirated content is less a mystery worthy of the Hardy Boys and more a simple case of history repeating. Back in the halcyon days of live-streaming, when Twitch was a young upstart service known as Justin.tv (and well before it was bought by Amazon), the service had already had several run-ins with the law over pirated

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Mass shooting at Madden Championship Series event in Florida leaves several dead

At least eleven people have been shot and four people were killed in a mass shooting attack at a livestream event debuting the new “Madden NFL 19” game at an arcade in Jacksonville, Fla., according to local news reports. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s office confirmed on Twitter that one suspect was dead at the scene and the police were still investigating. “We just finished clearing The Landing of potential witnesses and victims there,” said Sheriff Mike Williams in a statement broadcast on Facebook Live. “We have no outstanding suspects,” Williams said. “We have one suspect in this case. He is deceased at the scene.” According to a report in The Los Angeles Timesthe shooter was a player who had lost during the competition and then shot other attendees at the event before killing himself. The event was live-streamed on Twitch and there are multiple audio
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Pirated Twitch streams hijack YouTube’s pay-per-view Logan Paul/KSI boxing match

Today, there was a little bit of a skirmish between two professional YouTubers. Our dear old friend Logan Paul and KSI had an actual boxing match at the Manchester Arena where 15,000 tickets were sold (!!!!!!!!) for an event that ultimately ended in a draw and vows for a rematch. The action onstage wasn’t the only place where viewers could get a look into the action, there was a $10 pay-per-view stream on YouTube, but more people seemed to end up watching pirated streams on Twitch with boxing fight streams reaching over a million concurrent users at one point. Streams also popped up on Twitter-owned Periscope and there were a few unofficial streams popping up on YouTube as well.

Twitch will livestream Pokémon TV series and movies, while viewers ‘catch’ badges

Twitch has teamed up with The Pokémon Company to allow viewers to binge watch the Pokémon: The Series TV show and related movies on its site, and “catch” Pokémon badges along the way. While the former is one of Twitch’s many retro binge watch fests – it’s previously streamed old shows like Bob Ross, Julia Child, Mister Rogers, SNL, and most recently, Knight Rider – the interactive feature it’s debuting is something new. According to the company, Twitch will launch its own Pokémon extension to accompany the broadcast. This overlay, called “Twitch Presents: Pokémon Badge Collector,” will encourage viewers to collect Pokémon badges that appear on the screen for points, which places them on a leaderboard. This is only the second time Twitch has added an interactive element like this to one of its viewing events, and its addition could see users watching for longer periods of time,
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Twitch Prime ditches ad-free viewing as one of its perks

Twitch Prime, the perks program for Amazon Prime members offering free loot, games and other benefits is ditching one of its best features: ad-free viewing. According to an email sent out to Amazon Prime members today, ad-free viewing will no longer be included as a part of Twitch Prime for new members, beginning on September 14. However, members with existing annual subscriptions will be able to continue to enjoy ad-free viewing until their subscription comes up for renewal. And those with monthly subscriptions will have access to ad-free viewing until October 15. Twitch’s email offered a simple explanation as to why ad-free viewing was no longer going to be a part of the benefit program, saying that: “advertising is an important source of support for the creators who make Twitch possible.” The company also stressed that this change would “strengthen and expand that advertising opportunity for creators so they can
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It’s Friday so relax and watch a hard drive defrag forever on Twitch

It’s been a while since I defragged — years, probably, because these days for a number of reasons computers don’t really need to. But perhaps it is we who need to defrag. And what better way to defrag your brain after a long week than by watching the strangely satisfying defragmentation process taking place on a simulated DOS machine, complete with fan and HDD noise? That’s what you can do with this Twitch stream, which has defrag.exe running 24/7 for your enjoyment. I didn’t realize how much I missed the sights and sounds of this particular process. I’ve always found ASCII visuals soothing, and there was something satisfying about watching all those little blocks get moved around to form a uniform whole. What were they doing down there on the lower right hand side of the hard drive anyway? That’s what I’d like to know. Afterwards I’d launch
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Gaming star Ninja sparks outrage by refusing to stream with women

At a Samsung event last week, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins explained why he doesn’t stream with female gamers. “If I have one conversation with one female streamer where we’re playing with one another, and even if there’s a hint of flirting, that is going to be taken and going to be put on every single video and be clickbait forever,” said Ninja, who is married, in an interview with Polygon. As you might expect, this stance was met with plenty of backlash.

Ninja then doubled down on his stance, clarifying that it comes down to an issue of online harassment.

First and foremost, everyone has the
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Twitch is closing its Communities

Say goodbye to Twitch’s Communities. The game streaming service says it’s soon killing off this still relatively new addition to its site in favor of implementing a tagging system instead. With the changes, users will be able to filter streams by tags within a directory or across different games on the Browse page, in order to better find the sort of streams they want to watch. The closure of Communities and addition of tags is being planned for mid-September, says Twitch. Twitch launched Communities just last year, with the goal of better catering to users’ unique interests. For example, different types of gaming, like retro, or different activities, like speedrunning, could then have their own community. There are also communities centered around titles like Fortnite Battle Royale, PUBG, League of Legends, and others, as well as those focused on creative endeavours like music, drawing, cooking, cosplay, and more. But
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Twitch launches a ‘how-to’ site for streamers, Twitch Creator Camp

Twitch wants more people to stream, so it’s going to begin teaching them how. The video game streaming site today announced the launch of Twitch Creator Camp, a new educational resource that helps newcomers learn the basics of streaming, as well as how to build up a channel, connect with fans, and earn rewards. The launch of the how-to site comes about a week after an article by The Verge detailed the long tail of Twitch streamers, with a focus on those who spend years broadcasting to no one in the hopes of one day gaining a following. The article raised the question that, in the age of live streaming, where every major social company – including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube – today offers easy streaming tools, there many not be enough of an audience for all the content creators are producing. Twitch, apparently, believes the issue is one
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Twitch streamers can now let viewers react with GIFs

Giphy is coming to Twitch . For the first time, Giphy is bringing its library of animated GIFs to the Amazon-owned game streaming service. The company today is launching a Giphy extension for Twitch streamers that will allow viewers to react in real-time using GIFs during a broadcast. The idea is that GIFs could make streams more engaging and entertaining, which would, in turn, attract retain viewers for longer periods of time. Twitch extensions were first introduced last year, but only recently did Twitch add support for running multiple extensions at once. That could encourage more developers to try out the Giphy extension, without having to give up their other favorite overlays. To use the new extension, the streamer will first configure which part of the screen area will be used to display the GIFs viewers post. Once the extension is activated, viewers will be able to access it during a
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Facebook launches Brand Collabs search engine for sponsoring creators

Facebook wants to help connect brands to creators so they can work out sponsored content and product placement deals, even if it won’t be taking a cut. Confirming our scoop from May, Facebook today launched its Brand Collabs Manager. It’s a search engine that brands can use to browse different web celebrities based on the demographics of their audience and porfolios of their past sponsored content. Creators hoping to score sponsorship deals will be able to compile a portfolio connected to their Facebook Page that shows off how they can seamlessly work brands into their content. Brands will also be able to find them based on the Top countries where they’re popular, and audience characteristics like interests, gender, education, relationship status, life events, or home ownership. Facebook also made a wide range of other creator monetization announcements today

Facebook launches Brand Collabs search engine for sponsoring creators

Facebook wants to help connect brands to creators so they can work out sponsored content and product placement deals, even if it won’t be taking a cut. Confirming our scoop from May, Facebook today launched its Brand Collabs Manager. It’s a search engine that brands can use to browse different web celebrities based on the demographics of their audience and porfolios of their past sponsored content. Creators hoping to score sponsorship deals will be able to compile a portfolio connected to their Facebook Page that shows off how they can seamlessly work brands into their content. Brands will also be able to find them based on the Top countries where they’re popular, and audience characteristics like interests, gender, education, relationship status, life events, or home ownership. Facebook also made a wide range of other creator monetization announcements today

Twitch now lets streamers use multiple Extensions at once

Last year, Twitch announced a suite of tools called Extensions, that allow streamers to customize their channel pages with interactive features, including polls, leaderboards, schedules and more. Today, Twitch is making Extensions even more useful by allowing streamers to run up to three of these overlays at the same time on their video, plus three more below the video player, for a total of six that can be active on their channel at any time. This update, Twitch says, will allow streamers to better customize their channels in unique ways, while engaging and retaining their fans. To enable multiple Extensions, streamers will visit their channel dashboard’s redesigned Extensions Manager, where Extensions can now be sorted by category, like Extensions for Games, Music, Streamer Tools, and others. There’s also a “Partner Picks” section here which is where top creators are sharing their favorites. Alongside the launch, a number of developers have
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Playmaji is looking to bring its retro-gaming, modular console to market

Tucked away in a far corner of the West Pavilion of the Los Angeles Convention center among the independent game developers showcased by IndieCade  during E3, is a small booth demonstrating the latest Polymega hardware, a device that’s billing itself as the NES Classic for every old school game released on every old school gaming platform. The company that’s making the device first debuted last year as Retroblox, and while its name has changed (it’s now called Playmaji) and its hardware has gotten more refined, the vision remains very much the same. Playmaji debuted the new system and its user interface last year at E3 and it’s back again this year to tout its new pricing, and drum up support for pre-order campaign even as it tries to raise money to license games from publishers. Last year, Playmaji eschewed going down the crowdfunding route and instead raised $500,000
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Quarterback lets top eSports gamers and streamers create their own fan-based leagues

In an effort to tie the top gamers and streamers more directly with their fans, a new company called Quarterback has just raised $2.5 million to create and manage fan-based leagues for the superstars of the esports and streaming world.

The company raked in its seed round from investors led by Bitkraft Esports, which is quickly building one of the most complete portfolio of gaming related startups in the industry. Additional investors include Crest Capital Ventures, Deep Space Ventures, UpWest Labs and angel investors.

Essentially, it’s a platform for creating gaming leagues and content driven not by game publishers, leagues, or existing streaming sites like Twitch, but by the gamers themselves. It gives streamers and players a new way to reach their audience, the company claims.

Founded by serial entrepreneur, Jonathan Weinberg, who acted as the chief executive for Round Robin and held a leadership role in the mobile

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Twitch lays off some employees as part of ‘team adjustments’

Twitch, the Amazon-owned live-streaming platform for gaming, laid off “several” people yesterday, Polygon first reported. It’s not clear how many people were let go, but according to Polygon, probably no more than 30 people were let go. Twitch has since confirmed the layoffs to TechCrunch.
“Coming off the record-setting numbers shared in our 2017 Retrospective, Twitch is continuing to grow and advance with success stories from Overwatch League to Fortnite’s milestone-setting streams,” a Twitch spokesperson told TC. “In order to maintain this momentum, we have an aggressive growth strategy for 2018 with plans to increase our headcount by approximately 30%. While we’ve conducted team adjustments in some departments, our focus is on prioritizing areas most important for the community.”

Mobile gaming is having a moment, and Apple has the reins

It’s moved beyond tradition and into the realm of meme that Apple manages to dominate the news cycle around major industry events all while not actually participating in said events. CES rolls around and every story is about HomeKit or its competitors, another tech giant has a conference and the news is that Apple updated some random subsystem of its ever-larger ecosystem of devices and software .

This is, undoubtedly planned by Apple in many instances. And why not? Why shouldn’t it own the cycle when it can, it’s only strategically sound.

This week, the 2018 Game Developer’s Conference is going on and there’s a bunch of news coverage about various aspects of the show. There are all of the pre-written embargo bits about big titles and high-profile indies, there are the trend pieces and, of course, there’s the traditional ennui-laden ‘who is this event even for’ post that accompanies any

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Facebook lets all PC games Live stream and reward viewers

Facebook is challenging Twitch and YouTube for video game live streaming supremacy with the release of its new Games SDK for PC. After testing Live streaming from games like Overwatch from developers like Blizzard since 2016, today Live broadcasting from PC games to the News Feed opens to all developers. And Facebook will let them reward fans who watch by providing in-game items or bonuses. For example, beneath the comments reel, users might see a promotion like “Watch Paladins streams for a chance to earn random loot to use in-game.” The potential for viral growth and sales could convince tons of game developers to bake in Facebook’s new SDK, while players could use the simple broadcasting feature to reach a big audience — though one not as dedicated to gaming as on other platforms. Viewers might choose to watch on Facebook because they get rewarded there. Facebook meanwhile
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