One of the most popular apps for Xbox One is Twitch, a multi-platform app that allows gamers to either broadcast their game play to the world or to watch other game broadcasts. Twitch is so popular that over 45 million gamers a month use Twitch and there are tens of thousands of broadcast channels available to watch.
Before you will be able to use Twitch, you need an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Currently, an Xbox Live Gold subscription costs $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year. Both subscription plans are re-billed automatically, but can be canceled at any time.
You will also need Internet connectivity. Twitch provides live feeds from the Internet, so constant and reliable connectivity is an absolute requirement.
Another thing that you need to know about Twitch is that it is multi-platform. As such, the broadcast content is not Xbox One specific. In fact, you aren’t likely to see any Xbox One broadcasts for a while (more on that later). The broadcasts currently come from sources such as Xbox 360, Play Station, PCs, and other gaming consoles.
How is Twitch Useful?
Twitch is probably most useful as a tool for learning more about specific games. For example, suppose that you are stuck in a game and are having trouble making it to the next level. There is probably a video on Twitch that shows you what you need to do. Similarly, Twitch videos might show you game features that you didn’t know existed, such as hidden levels or cheat codes.
The really cool thing about using Twitch on Xbox One is that Xbox One supports Snap, which lets you do two things at once on the same screen. As such, it is theoretically possible to watch a Twitch video pertaining to a particular game, while you are actually playing the game yourself.
Installing and Launching Twitch
To install the Twitch app, you must begin by signing in to your Xbox Live Gold account. After doing so, go to the Xbox home screen. Next, click the My Games and Apps tile and then click on the Store tile, followed by the Apps tile.
Once the Twitch app is installed, it is simple to launch the app. Begin by making sure that you are signed into your Xbox Live Gold account. Next, go to the Xbox home screen and click on the Your Games and Apps tile, followed by the Twitch tile.
As an alternative, you can use Kinect to verbally launch Twitch simply by saying “Xbox, go to Twitch.”
Using the Twitch Interface
The Twitch interface is relatively simple. The main screen features three primary options including:
- Games – This is the place that you go to locate videos related to a particular game. You can either browse a series of titles corresponding to various games, or you can search for a specific game. When you click on a game you can see the channels related to that game. Clicking on a channel allows you to view the channel.
- Featured Channels – As the name implies, Featured Channels are channels that are being promoted by Twitch.
- Top Channels – Clicking on Top Channels allows you to see a list of the most popular Twitch channels. You can click on any of these channels to view them.
Xbox has long given gamers the ability to earn achievements that they can use to gain a bit of status in the gaming community. Believe it or not however, you can also earn achievements through Twitch for watching videos. Think of it as a couch potato achievement.
Some of the achievements that you can earn through Twitch include:
- Night Owl Achievement – For those who stayed up all night watching Twitch
- Standing Room Only Achievement – You can get this achievement by watching a stream that attracts 100,000 or more people.
- The Hipster Achievement – You can get this one by watching a stream where less than ten people are tuned in.
In case you are wondering, the ability to earn achievements is unique to the Xbox One edition of Twitch (at least for now anyway). There are a total of ten different achievements that can currently be earned through Twitch, but that number will likely increase as the Twitch app for Xbox One matures.
So What’s Missing?
There is one big thing that is currently missing from the Xbox One version of Twitch. Currently the Twitch app is view only. In other words, Xbox Live Gold members can watch Twitch videos to their heart’s content and can earn achievements for watching those videos. However, the app does not currently support broadcasting your own game play. This functionality is expected to be added at some point in 2014.
In the meantime, all is not lost. Some of the games that are available for Xbox One have been released on alternative platforms, such as PS4 or even Xbox 360. As such, you will probably be able to find videos for the game that you are interested in, even if the content isn’t Xbox One specific.
For now, the Xbox One edition of the Twitch app is probably most useful for gaining insight into how to play various games. As time goes on however, Xbox One gamers will gain the ability to broadcast their own Twitch streams. That’s when the fun really starts!