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Twitch launches Clips so gamers can quickly share short videos of their favorite moments

TechCrunch TechCrunch 26/05/2016 Sarah Perez

Live streaming platform and gamer community Twitch is today launching a new feature that it hopes will help spread its content further afield. The company has now debuted Clips, a feature that lets website viewers quickly and easily clip a 30-second portion video from others’ live streams. These clips automatically include links back to the original live broadcaster, which eliminates concerns about someone appropriating another’s content as their own, while also sending traffic back to the site when the Clip is shared more broadly.

The company tells us that the clip-sharing feature has built-in sharing for Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. These are available as small sharing buttons at the top right of the Clip, alongside a button for the Clip’s link.

Saved Clips, when shared, are links that will connect viewers directly the broadcast. If the broadcast is already offline when a viewer clicks through, they can watch the recording right where the Clip left off.

The new feature isn’t widely available as of today’s launch, but is instead rolling out to viewers over the course of the “coming weeks,” says Twitch, without giving a specific completion date. It was previously tested in an internal beta before being rolled out on the site, however.

The slow rollout strategy is much in line with the pattern Twitch has followed with its other social feature launches in recent days, including the debut of Friends just last month. In that case, the company sent out beta invites, and, as the early adopters added friends by sending them requests, access to the new friend list feature was gradually expanded.

Along with support for friend lists and easier private messaging, Twitch has been steadily growing its set of social networking features on the site in the past several months. It also added a Channel feed to let broadcasters more easily distribute their content to their audience, and introduced other social features like Party Chat, for example.

There have also been hints that Twitch may want to expand beyond the gamer crowd, as it has experimented with non-gaming content including a “Creative” channel focused on arts, crafts, and music; plus streams of classic TV shows like Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting” and Julia Child’s “The French Chef.”

If you gain access to the new Clips option, using the feature is fairly simple. You just hit the Clip Button in the video player when you see a moment you want to save and share. The video will then capture 25 seconds back and 5 seconds forward to create the resulting Clip.

This isn’t the only social sharing option that Twitch has in place, of course – viewers could already click “Share” buttons under a broadcast to share the Channel Link, or even embed the player or chat elsewhere on the web. But short video clips – a sort of bite-sized highlight of a favorite moment, perhaps – are a popular format on today’s web…and one Twitch hopes that will help it to increase traffic to its site.

For the time being, Clips are only saved as the URLs that are generated, but it seems that the new feature should also make its way to user profiles in the future as another section that sits alongside Past Broadcasts, Highlights, and Followers/Following. Asked if that was in the works, a rep for Twitch declined to comment.

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