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article imageTwitch unveils Pulse, a new social network built for gamers

By James Walker     Mar 7, 2017 in Technology
Amazon-owned Twitch has replaced its homepage with a Twitter clone for the gaming community. Adding a centralised hub for the popular livestreaming service, it lets you share updates, screenshots and stream highlights directly to followers.
Called Twitch Pulse, you'll see the new feed automatically when you next visit Twitch's website as a logged-in user. It acts as an activity notice board for every gamer on the network, adding a sense of community to a service previously focused entirely on the video viewing experience.
Whereas before the fun was over when the stream ended, you can now keep connecting with your favourite creators by following them on Pulse. The service is visually styled like a clone of Twitter, featuring "likes," replies and the ability to post text, images and videos. Twitter's mentions and hashtags haven't been implemented though, potentially reducing the volume of spam posts made to the new service.
Posts made using Pulse will appear on the Channel Feed of the streamer who created them. They'll also show up on the main Pulse homepage, assuming you're a friend or a follower of the creator. It's focused on short-form content derived from Twitter but the main activity pane more closely resembles Facebook's News Feed.
Twitch was bought by Amazon back in 2014. Amid increasing competition in the game livestreaming space from Google's YouTube and Microsoft's Beam, Pulse helps to differentiate Twitch by adding a community element. Until now, the service has been reluctant to put social features at the forefront of its product, instead pushing its core streaming capabilities to creators and viewers.
From today, Twitch is no longer a place to visit, watch other people play games and then depart.  Although Twitch has a "friends" system and a popular private messaging component, it's still predominantly based on the streamer and follower model, deemphasising the importance of permanent connections with users.
Previously, Twitch's most significant social feature was its Channel Feed message boards, now part of Pulse and officially leaving beta with the launch of the new service. Pulse evolves Twitch into a fully-fledged social network, giving gamers a place to share content and find new friends.
"[Pulse is] a place where streamers can post and engage with all of their followers and the greater Twitch community right from the Twitch front page," said Twitch. "It’s an always-on way to share clips, stream highlights, schedules, photos, and more so followers are more informed, engaged, and connected."
Pulse is available now on Twitch's desktop interface. The company confirmed it will roll out to the mobile app in due course, letting you post an update about your gaming progress or stream schedule while you're away from your PC.
Pulse will be a core component of the Twitch viewing experience and there's no way to turn it off. Streamers can disable their individual Channel Feed though, preventing it appearing on the far left of the page during streams.
More about twitch, Twitter, Gaming, Streaming, livestreaming
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