Squad Streams officially launches on Twitch

TL;DR - With the rollout of this new feature, partnered streamers can link up with up to three other partners in a four-person milti-stream.  Streamers can enable and invite others to a Squad Stream from their dashboard. Viewers can only see a single chat at one time, but can swap the featured stream to move between the different chats.  Twitch plans to roll the feature out to all streamers eventually, as it indicated when it was first announced at TwitchCon last year.

Full story - https://www.shacknews.com/article/110856/twitch-rolls-out-squad-stream-multistream-system-to-partners

Twitch drops crypto options for subscription payments

TL;DR - Twitch was using BitPay for processing crypto payments for subscriptions until very recently.  An intrepid Reddit user noted that BTC and others forms of crypto were no longer options when purchasing or renewing subscriptions on the platform.  It was later discovered that Streamlabs had dropped support for crypto donations as well. The crypto community wasn’t pleased with the change, and Twitch’s lack of communication on the matter only frustrated them further, with some threatening to stop supporting their favorite channels as a result.

Full story - https://coingeek.com/twitch-ditches-btc-bchabc-crypto-payment-options/

Twitch announces the latest additions to its Ambassador program

TL;DR - Originally unveiled at TwitchCon last year, Twitch Ambassadors are chosen based on the “positive impact” they’ve made in the greater Twitch community.  This can range from being a content pioneer, to simply setting a good example for others to follow. Twitch will be featuring one of the fifteen appointed streamers weekly, giving them homepage placement and allowing a quick takeover of Twitch’s Instagram account.  Ambassadors were also announced for TwitchCon Europe which will take place in mid-April in Berlin.

Full story - https://www.influencerupdate.biz/news/67984/twitch-ambassador-program-aims-to-spotlight-a-different-streamer-every-week/

Full year of Nintendo Switch Online now included with Twitch Prime

TL;DR - Twitch Prime members can first claim 30 days on Nintendo’s online service, and then return after 60 days to claim the remaining free months.  Those with an existing Switch Online account will have the free months added on top of their current plan, but they’ll need to go through the same process as everyone else.

Full story - https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/28/nintendo-switch-online-prime/

350 employees receive pink slips from EA

TL;DR - The employees affected by the layoffs came from EA’s marketing and publishing departments, as well as other areas within the company.  EA is reportedly providing severance and assistance finding other positions at EA. In total, EA has about 9,000 employees globally, so this is a very small portion of its overall workforce.  Offices in Japan and Russia will be closed as a result. A release from EA didn’t shed any light on why the layoffs were happening, aside from an assortment of corporate gibberish about across the board improvements.

Full story - https://www.shacknews.com/article/110824/ea-lays-off-about-350-employees-across-various-departments

Hearthstone Grandmasters to feature $500k prize pool

TL;DR - Following up on the announcement of the new competitive structure for Hearthstone, Blizzard shared several missing details this week in the latest update.  The new Grandmasters series will be comprised of 48 players from Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America - 16 players per region. Within each region there will be two divisions, and those will be revealed on April 28th at the HCT World Championship.  Blizzard will select participants based on their career earnings, points accumulated during the 2018 season, and other factors. Those selected will of course be eligible for prize money, and also a seat at Hearthstone Masters events. Everything will eventually roll up to the Global Finals, which will include two players from China.  The prize pool for this event will be $500k. Blizzard is introducing a relegation system into the new format so the lowest ranking players will be out, and aspiring performers will have a shot at inclusion. The first matches are set to start on May 17th on Hearthstone’s official Twitch channel.

Full story - https://dotesports.com/hearthstone/news/more-details-revealed-about-hearthstone-grandmasters-including-a-500k-prize-pool

Twitch strikes deal with MVPindex for better insight into sponsorships

TL;DR - This new deal is meant to give Twitch better vision into the performance and value its sponsorship deals will offer clients.  MVPindex, a Dallas-based company, will use speech processing tech and AI to provide near real-time stream and audience engagement data back to Twitch.  As Twitch looks to sign more deals like the one it did earlier this year with Team Liquid, this data will be crucial to measuring its success.

Full story - https://esportsobserver.com/twitch-mvpindex-deal/

In case you missed it…

As we fire up our browsers and apps to catch some quality entertainment from our favorite streamers it’s easy to ignore or forget the effort that goes into producing a consistent flow of content.  There’s the set-up, pre-planning, off-stream interactions that are crucial for building communities that enhance content, and the drain that spending hours in front of a computer entertaining people can have on someone.  For many it comes naturally, but for many it does not.

Among the unseen aspects of producing a consistent live-stream channel, there are those that are even less visible yet no less important.  Many streamers on Twitch and other platforms stream and produce content for a living. The “side hustle” has become the “main hustle” and the pursuit of streaming leaves little time for new side ventures.  Once they’ve reached this point they’re operating a business, and that brings with it a whole new set of responsibilities and obligations people often fail to anticipate. It’s not just sitting in a chair and streaming video games all day anymore - there are legal and financial obligations which cannot be ignored.

If you’ve followed StreamKick for any amount of time you’ll know that we’re big fans of the folks over at TRUgaming.  In fact, we did an entire episode with them on their Stream Key podcast covering all things StreamKick, discovery, and a bit on TwitchCon as well.  

On one of their latest episodes, they sit down with Zac Rich of Press Start Legal and cover many of the basic, and not so basic elements of establishing and protecting your business as a streamer.  Much of this stuff seems like common sense but it isn’t that way for all. If you’re considering streaming as a full time endeavor, you’d be well served to give the show a listen to ensure you have a better, more complete understanding of what you’re undertaking.  As always, Ben and the TRU squad deliver another solid episode that’s genuinely useful for the community.

And even if you don’t stream, this episode may provide you with the context to give you a newfound appreciation for how much work and dedication goes into producing top tier live content.  Enjoy!