Skip to main content

New Twitch-Centric Games Turn Watching Into Playing

SAN FRANCISCO In the near future, watching video games on Twitch won't be much different from playing them. The live-streaming giant has unveiled a handful of "Stream First" games, which are built from the ground up with live streaming in mind. When you're watching these titles on Twitch, you won't just be an idle spectator; you'll be able to influence the in-game action by doing what you probably already do: talking smack in the chat room.

Among the first Stream First games is Superfight, a digital version of the popular card game in which players draw the names of fictional characters and argue over who would win in a fight between them. While those playing Superfight will make a case for their character, it's Twitch viewers who will ultimately vote on the winner of each made-up bout.

Wastelanders takes the relationship between players and viewers to even greater heights. In this turn-based strategy game, broadcasters head to battle with a team of viewers, who can control characters and set traps by using simple chat room commands. You might just be a fan of your favorite streamer now, but once Wastelanders eventually arrives, you could become their most valued teammate.

Rounding out the initial lineup of Stream First games is Streamline, a multiplayer arena experience in which streamers can play with up to 15 of their viewers at once. In this cat-and-mouse competition, a broadcaster can chase after his or her viewers, or can opt to form a team with their fans to take on another streamer. Even if you're not on your favorite streamer's team, you can vote on rules or play mini-games on your mobile device.

MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Twitch Streaming

With Stream First, Twitch is evolving beyond a place to just watch games — it's also a place you can play them, too. This is big for broadcasters and fans alike: popular streamers can build a bigger following by letting fans play with them, and viewers can have even more fun on Twitch by actually interacting with the games they watch.

Stream First titles might consist of simple card and board games now, but they could become so much more in the future. Imagine, for example, shooting away at the Empire in Star Wars Battlefront, while your Twitch viewers attempt to hack into the Death Star from the chat room. We can't wait to see what comes next.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored and was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.