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Destler Dodge

Twitch.tv is a live-streaming website with a focus on video games. Recently, the growth of both Twitch and the live-streaming platform in general has been staggering. With over 100 million unique viewers per month, Twitch has attracted a wide variety of audiences – from the traditional e-sports communities, to relaxing creative streams and even celebrity appearances according to its website.

Since its founding in 2011, Twitch has experienced some important milestones that contributed to its growth. Starting as a side project of Justin.tv, Twitch’s initial purpose was to provide easy broadcasting services for pro gamers. Tricia Duryee reported that World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, Call of Duty and League of Legends were all pioneer games for Twitch’s platform, drawing in surprising numbers for a fairly new form of entertainment. Along with professionals, anyone with a Twitch account and a broadcasting setup could start streaming on the site. For free.

Even though there will always be a draw for e-sports and professional gaming, Twitch has found a unique charm in smaller variety streams. The ability for a streamer to interact live with the chat room, to answer questions and joke around with a community that they can cultivate and grow is something that most actual subscribers and supporters of the site enjoy more than anything, Twitch's website reports. The generosity and charity of millions of viewers are what give the 10 thousand partnered streamers their livelihood – the audience is their income.

Speaking of charity, Twitch has made a name for themselves as an effective platform for raising money. Most popular would be the Awesome Games Done Quick, or AGDQ events. For three consecutive years, AGDQ has raised more than $1 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation and their summer counterpart SGDQ has nearly matched those numbers, according to their official blog. There’s also the Extra Life Game Day, which in 2014 raised over $4 million for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. There are no shortage of charity streams at Twitch. In fact, most channels participate in charity events at least once a year, ranging from sending support to troops overseas to donating to animal hospitals. If you need a feel-good atmosphere you won’t have to look hard at Twitch.

Recently Twitch has upgraded its range of topics to include a “creative” section. What defines “creative” is solely up to the streamer, which provides a bit of wiggle room to the strict gaming-only policy that Twitch used to enforce. Painting, crocheting and making music are all examples of supported activities with this new possibility, which widens both the audience and the broadcaster demographic.

Being a spectator is great, but the draw of Twitch is that anyone can become successful. There’s a healthy balance of moderately-sized but dedicated streamers and overnight successes, but hard work is what maintains a channel. If you enjoy entertaining, Twitch might just be the platform for you.