A lot of video game streaming's appeal comes from the interaction between the streamer and their audience. Sometimes it can be fun to watch someone play without even glancing at their chat, sure, but most of the time it's the give-and-take that keeps people coming back for more. That's why Streamlabs and Twitch announced a partnership today to make augmented reality (AR) face masks easier for streamers to implement and viewers to activate.
Streamlabs added face masksin December 2018 as part of its own app store. It allowed streamers using the Streamlabs platform and Streamlabs OBS broadcasting software to use AR face masks on their channels. (An aside: please branch out from the stream-based naming system. It's losing all meaning.) Plus, people who donated to the channel could pick a face mask that would show up on the stream.
Today's partnership between Streamlabs and Twitch makes face masks an official Twitch extension, the Face Masks Twitch Extension. In addition to giving the tool Twitch's stamp of approval, becoming a Twitch extension will also offer new ways for viewers to interact with face masks. Streamlabs said the feature can now be activated when someone signs up for a tier two or three subscription--which cost more than the tier one option--or when they donate Bits.
Both of those options should make face masks far more popular among streamers and their viewers. Some people don't like to donate to a streamer directly and feel more comfortable signing up for a monthly subscription. For streamers, accepting financial donations can be a double-edged sword because of the way different payment processors work. Twitch's proprietary Bits currency helps solve that problem.
Not that streamers were struggling to monetize with face masks before. Streamlabs said in its announcement that it "saw 30 percent of streamers doubling their donation revenue" after the feature debuted last December. There's no denying that the feature is silly, but honestly, most streams are pretty silly as well. (And here all the fuddy-duddies were complaining about millennials buying avocado toast; little did they know.)
The Face Masks Twitch Extension is currently available in a beta. Streamlabs said it currently offers 26 face masks that can be unlocked by signing up for tier two or three subscriptions and sending Bits. Another 70 face masks are unlockable by donating Bits through a channel's dedicated face masks page. The feature is limited to Twitch partners and affiliates; it also requires both the Twitch Extension and Streamlabs OBS to function.