How viewers can be actors in streams on Twitch

I have been streaming and viewing on Twitch for several years but I haven’t discovered new innovations in a long time.
When I don’t stream, I try to find new streamers with new ideas in any kind of categories. Sadly, they use the same services, overlays, alerts, sounds and even scenes.
Therefore if i have to sum up the life of a streamer to someone I would say: “Launch stream, switch scenes, read messages, do stuff and disconnect”
Streaming is new in the life of the Internet, we have more to discover and to innovate. With this in mind I try to search something new.
So I looked at how social networks came up in the last years and I came to this conclusion: the next step of streaming will be having streamers and viewers becoming both actors of the stream.

In other words I mean for the streamer it’s not only reading the chat and interacting with viewers, but they will have a real involvement on the stream by acting inside it.

What tools does Twitch give to viewers?

Before creating something, I always searched what are the tools we already have on the platform. So I try to list on Twitch how a viewer can interact with the streamer using free access or with some money.

Chatting

It’s free and it’s the first thing for interacting between viewers and streaming

Subscriptions and Cheers

It’s a paid option and not all channels can enable it.
Viewers in chat will be displayed differently from others with a badge, special emotes.

Extensions

There are 3 types of extensions which are showing additional content below, above or inside the stream.
All those extensions had to be added by the streamers, it’s free (sometimes you have to link your account). But some overlays are limited to be used only on desktop. Also it fit only for specific situations and games.

Channel Points

Viewers earn channel points by being faithful to streamers (by watching streams) and with these points they can buy a reward.
By default there is five rewards (which can be disabled):

  • viewer send message on sub chat
  • highlight viewer message
  • select one emotes to unlock
  • customize one emote
  • random emote to unlock

Streamers can customize them by adding rewards and change how much it costs, how many times viewers can use them during one stream, etc…

How channels points are used

I listen to a lot of streamers and viewers complaining about how channel points are useless for them.
A big part of streamers don’t care about it and leave the default settings and rewards. For the others I made a list (non exhaustive) about how they use them:

  • lose channel points
  • add specific rule in a game
  • claim ingame money
  • claim vip
  • claim a sub
  • claim versus on a game
  • unban someone
  • timeout random viewer
  • chat switch to emote only
  • chat switch to sub only
  • offer an item from shop

Channel points API

Because there is no alert after claiming a reward, if there are a lot of viewers some of them can not be seen by the streamer.
So Twitch gave us a page called reward queue.

There is no API for channel points.
But you can have the information on each message sent by a user in your chat if a reward is associated, and what its ID is.

Channel points versus Chat commands

Some people will say: “Reward can be a simple chat command” or “channel points can be made with a bot”.
I agree but I also know by experience, viewers can spam the same command just for annoying you, they can spell wrong a command and retry a lot of time, type some commands to see if you have enabled them…
Even if you give a list of commands below the stream, a lot of users don’t look at it.
For counting channel points by yourself, you will have to find a bot and do some code about, not easy for everyone.
Some of them can detect if a command is usable by regular or admin viewers, but you have to configure them.

There is also a big difference in the cost.
When you set a high price on reward, using them is not a joke anymore. Because viewers have to spend time on your streams, some of these users won’t lose time for fun.
With this purpose in mind a reward with the right price will have a value for viewers and also for streamers. For example I have a reward that costs 100,000 channel points, it’s a lot. When users claim it, I have to make a presidential speech during 30 minutes minimum, dressed as a president and inside the official office.

Example: Viewers control streamers with channel points

As I have said in the introduction, viewers are not part of the journey in the stream.
However rewards from channel points are here to engage viewers by using them wisely if they cost a lot.

I made a little proof of concept on my channel about how viewers can control my OBS with a reward.

For example, viewers can claim a reward for asking medical advice.
It costs 1,000 points and they have to add some text.
When the reward appear on my chat my OBS react like that:

  1. Scene switch automatically
  2. Play a video
  3. At the end of the video I display my webcam on a background picture

In this case my stream journey is completely changed.
Consequently I have to improvise, change my clothes, search for some accessories and think how I can respond when the video is finished.

Because rewards cost channel points, viewers need to feel that acting inside the stream is important and have to act wisely at the good timing.

The downside is when streamers are not comfortable with the improvisation and or letting viewers control stream.

How to do it?

I will post later how you can do it.