Last weekend was TwitchCon 2017 in San Francisco, USA. I was excited to hear about upcoming features and developments. Twitch is a platform with very innovative streamers, creating new forms of entertainment and interactivity. In my opinion, the company behind the platform struggles to keep up with what is happening.
Taking a step back, let's start with Thursday. One day before the big keynote and opening of the TwitchCon, there was the first ever Developer Day at TwitchCon. I expected it to be directed at ... well ... developers. People that design experiences and/or write code.
Sadly, only one track (of three) was broadcasted and it was aimed at executives. People that Twitch wants to convince, that building games for twitch is a good idea. For that, they threw around numbers about platform growth again and again. Even using the same charts in multiple presentations. They reiterated all of the existing features like drops, commerce (both introduced in February) and extensions (introduced in September).
I wish they would have selected a different track or at least would make it available online.
One day later, press releases with all details of the keynote were going live right at 12pm, the scheduled start of the keynote (see ), but the keynote itself was delayed by almost 30 minutes. By the time it finally started, many people - me included - already had read the anouncements.
The anouncements themselves felt without a lot of substance. Maybe it was the missing details, but adding scheduling to vodcasts (Premieres), adding better stats for streamers (Stream Summary), integrating support for community invented procedures (Raids and Rituals) and Achievements for non-partnered streamers to guide the way to partnership feels like very small improvements with very big labels.
Three features stand out:
Rooms: adding chatrooms also sounds like a no-brainer and I hope it will be possible to view the main chat and other chats simultaneously. Otherwise I think it will be largly ignored, because Discord is currently filling that gap.
Subscription Gifting: Being able to gift virtual goods did wonders for League of Legends and I think it will spice up the twitch world as well. Again there are a lot of missing details yet, but this has a lot of potential.
In-Extension Purchases: This will be the most controversial one once it launches. Nevertheless I suppose that clever developers will make a ton of money through this new option to offer digital goods.
TwitchCon itself was mostly directed at streamers and fanboys, but I found some panels with interesting facts - mostly from the twitch science team :
In the panel "Highly Engaged Viewers: Who they are and why they're on Twitch"  the panelists talked about the motivations and needs of highly engaged viewers with the final revelation - spoiler - that they want to "feel close to other people". It was a good panel, but I have the feeling, that the science team mixes up cause and effect sometimes.
In "A Chat with the Chat Team About Chat" , the chat team chatted about the chat. Most interesting here was the different types or personas of chatters and seeing twitch gobal emotes as twitchs own language.
The panel "How to Have More Fun with Bits"  gave super interesting insight on different approaches to provide novel ways of interactivity. If you're interested in interactivity and had to chose only one panel to watch, choose this one!
One last thing: Shortly before the keynote started, viewers could play "Galactic Disagreements". A game played through an extension, an overlay on top of the screen, where players could click buttons to spawn spaceships. Thousands of small and large spaceships fought on screen on the main stage. It was a nice demonstration of what is possible with extensions, but for me it also showed that a delay of 10 seconds is still the most limiting factor for interactivity.
Interactivity is at the heart of twitch's identity and looking into my magical crystal ball I predict there will be much more of it in the future. Playing games with extensions on top of the stream, in the panels below the stream, in chat (maybe in special rooms?), streamer vs viewers, viewers vs viewers, channel vs channel and combinations of all of it. Have fun playing!
 Twitch Science Team
 Panel: Highly Engaged Viewers: Who they are and why they're on Twitch
 A Chat with the Chat Team About Chat
 How to Have More Fun with Bits