Twitch Debuts Deep Metadata API For 'Hearthstone,' 'Overwatch'

Remember when Twitch added the ability to find streamers based on their Hearthstone rank or which hero they were playing in Overwatch? Well, soon you might see a bunch of developers build tools on top of those capabilities, thanks to the new Deep Metadata API that debuted today.

This feature is based on machine learning and computer vision that analyzes what's on screen (a rank or hero portrait, for example) and turning it into actionable data. That way you can make sure you find a stream featuring your favorite game type or character instead of clicking through a dozen videos hoping to find the right one. In an era where all content is personalized, this new feature allows Twitch to cater to individual users.

"Whether you are building a video player overlay to add interactivity or an analytics app," Twitch said in its announcement, "game metadata can help you create rich and more engaging experiences for your users, the same way it helps us." The company used two popular types of tools—overlays and analytics apps—as examples of what the Deep Metadata API can enable for games like Hearthstone and Overwatch.

The API's limited scope might hinder its ability to attract a bunch of developers right out the gate. This metadata collection is currently restricted to Blizzard's titles, and even then Twitch isn't able to collect all the information you might want. You might have no desire to watch Quick Play games in Overwatch, for example, but right now you can't find streams playing the new deathmatch modes or the game's ranked play.

But that's going to change in the future. Twitch said it "started with support for live broadcasts and two games" but it plans to add "more games, more metadata types, and support for other content types" going forward. The Deep Metadata API debuting today is just a taste of what Twitch hopes to cook up in the future. Considering the popularity of Blizzard's titles, this probably won't be a bad start for the company's newest toy.

The Deep Metadata API is just the latest change Twitch has made to its service in recent weeks. The company also introduced new Extensions to let streamers customize their pages with outside tools and overhauled its API to make it easier for developers to make those utilities. Together, all of these updates suggest that Twitch wants to give streamers and their viewers more control over how videos are shown on its service.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • datgrl
    The implications of this bother me. It's much like Google's scanning of your email to determine what ads to send to you. If they build this capability to determine what you are watching, hypothetically, they can bot followers to your page as well. Twitch doesn't give you the ability to block followers.