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Twitch users can now live-stream Android games from their PC

TechCrunch TechCrunch 7/04/2016 Jon Russell

Twitch is making its easier for its community of gamers to stream mobile games today, after it linked up with BlueStacks, a company that emulates Android games on desktops.

Streaming is a serious business — Amazon paid close to $1 billion to acquire Twitch, and the service’s users watch more than 20 billion minutes of video each month. But, when it comes to mobile, it gets tricky.

Currently, Twitch users have to jump through a lot of hoops to stream mobile games. The setup requirements include wires and a webcam which can distract from actually playing. Now Twitch users can use BlueStacks to play mobile games on their desktop and then stream the footage with a click. That lets them keepl the same setup that they have for their PC streaming sessions, not smartphone needed.

Five-year-old BlueStacks, which has raised $27 million from investors and claims 130 million users, believes there’s plenty of synergy between its service and Twitch.

“BlueStacks users are already playing mobile games like Hearthstone, Castle Clash, Vainglory and others, we just built a bridge between our platforms,” CEO Rosen Sharma said in a statement. “This combines the power of two huge user bases.”

Beyond users, the setup could be a useful option for developers, since it prevents them needed to drop an SDK into their apps, but it is Android-only so any iOS exclusives aren’t covered. The alternative for hardcore mobile game streamers is to jump ship from Twitch altogether. That’s what some top streamers have done for mobile games, with Y Combinator-backed startup Kamcord netting gains here.

Kamcord is dedicated entirely to mobile. For iOS users the setup requires cables and dedicated software, but Kamcord’s Android app got an update last year that enables users to stream right from their device. That ease of use has helped the company lure big streaming names, Clash Of Clans specialist Chief Pat is one such example. He has 1.7 million subscribers to his YouTube channel and uses Kamcord for mobile. He’s one of the platform’s biggest names, with more than 47,000 followers, but that in itself demonstrates the challenge that Kamcord and others face — Twitch and YouTube are just so much bigger.

Those wanting to actually play on their phone may pick Kamcord over Twitch, even with this BlueStacks integration in place, particular now that it is exploring ways to help its broadcasters make money. There’s also an argument that Twitch’s community slants towards console and PC games, with mobile and casual games not taken as seriously.

Either way, today’s news is another way Twitch is working to close that mobile gap, and help encourage its current users — and prospective ones — to pick its platform ahead of others. No doubt it has further plans in the not too distant future.

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