Amazon-owned game streaming giant Twitch is looking to broaden its appeal with the launch of a new non-gaming category: IRL.
Acquired by Amazon in a £780 million deal back in 2014
following Google withdrawing its rival bid
, Twitch is the most successful game streaming platform around. With native clients now available for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, the software allows anyone to begin showing off their skills - or lack thereof - on games, with the most popular streamers making extremely comfortable livings through advertising and promotional activities.
Now, though, even non-gamers are going to be able to get in on the Twitch fun: The company has announced the launch of a new category, dubbed IRL for 'In Real Life', which will allow people to live-stream or upload recorded video logs on any topic about which they can muster up enthusiasm. 'Like a vlog, you can now interact with your audience in a one-to-many style, live or recorded, even when not playing a game,
Twitch's Annie Berrones explained in the company's announcement
. 'This includes sharing experiences and events with viewers live or with pre-recorded videos. Anything and everything you’re interested in can potentially become a topic of a stream.
To further extend IRL's popularity, Twitch has also confirmed plans to allow its smartphone application to live-stream video from the onboard cameras. Currently in a closed beta, applications for which are open to applicants
, the mobile live-streaming functionality won't be going live until some time next year, Berrones has advised.
While IRL marks Twitch's most dramatic divergence from its core gaming market since launch, it follows a thread of diversification which has seen categories including Music, Creative, and even 'Social Eating' added to the site in recent years.