Twitch is introducing a new IRL category today, and as the name suggests, it has little to do with gaming. Inspired by vlog-style videos that seem to be so popular on YouTube, Twitch IRL allows streamers to interact with their audience directly without playing a game. Topics can vary greatly depending on what broadcasters want to discuss (within Twitch’s Community Guidelines, of course), but one rule persists regardless of the topic: audience interaction is key.
Twitch IRL isn’t just limited to livestreams, as creators can choose to use Twitch’s new video upload feature to post pre-recorded vlogs too. Twitch IRL is officially launching today, and at the time of this writing, there are about 50 different channels already streaming IRL content. With a few thousand viewers watching those channels, it seems that the IRL category is off to a good start.
This isn’t the first time Twitch has launched categories that don’t focus on streaming gameplay. Twitch Creative is probably the most well-known example of this, which rose to prominence thanks to – of all things – streaming old episodes of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. There’s also a gaming talk shows category, along with a social eating category. With all of those categories already available, it comes as no surprise to see IRL launch with a focus on vlogging content.
Twitch IRL will likely get a significant boost next year, when Twitch updates its Android and iOS apps to allow for native mobile streaming. That’s a pretty big move that should allow the IRL category to grow larger since broadcasters will no longer be limited to their desktops and laptops. If you’re a Twitch streamer and you want to participate in the closed beta for mobile broadcasting, you can apply by filling out and submitting this form.
Finally, Twitch has updated its Community Guidelines in light of the launch of IRL. From here on out, there are no longer any restrictions on what kind of content you can stream. As long as you’re not doing anything illegal or against the Twitch Terms of Service, you’re good to go. That’s a massive step for Twitch that should see it transition from a purely gaming-focused platform to a true YouTube competitor.