Twitch has launched its new Communities feature, an open beta directory that allows creators and viewers to discover and share content based on their interests more easily.
The service, which starts today, will supplement Twitch's existing directory, but will also allow users to organise their profiles into interest or activity-based spaces, helping streamers connect with their most relevant audiences and viewers to find the content they're most interested in.
To create and manage Communities, users will have a suite of tools at their disposal. Community leaders will be able to customise the landing page, appoint moderators, establish Community rules and feature current broadcasts to help aid discoverability.
Communities are all public, too, so viewers and streamers will be able to see a list of channels that are currently broadcasting to that Community. This will be known as the Stream Wall, with more features added over time.
At launch, Twitch says there will be hundreds of categories already in place based on top games and popular activities on Twitch Creative, such as cosplay, drawing, painting, comedy, food and music, but all users are free to establish their own Communities as well.
"We’ve heard from our streamers and viewers that they want the freedom to form specific groups, organizing around topics such as speedrunning, esports, cosplay, and painting,” said Sheila Raju, product marketing manager at Twitch.
"With Communities, we are giving our users the power to create groups of their choosing, while providing creators with another tool to expand their audiences. If you have an interest that's shared among others, Communities is where that collective can live."
Twitch recently loosened its strict content creation guidelines when it launched its brand new content category, IRL, at the end of last year, allowing Twitch users to share content from their everyday lives in addition to traditional gameplay videos. The aim was to help create more tightly-knit communities among viewers and broadcasters, but it looks like Community creators will still have plenty of guidelines to follow should they wish to create their own.