Microsoft’s Xbox department announced on Wednesday that Xbox users can once again stream their gameplay directly from their consoles to Twitch.
While a Twitch app was available for the Xbox before now, this is the first time since the closure of Microsoft’s Mixer platform that Xbox users have had any direct live-streaming options. If you’ve seen any recent broadcasts on Twitch or elsewhere that were on Xbox hardware, it was likely done through an indirect third-party gadget like an Elgato Stream Deck.
The new Twitch integration is available on the Xbox One and Series X|S consoles, although setting it up will also require you to scan a QR code with an iOS or Android mobile device. It’s been made available directly through the Xbox’s in-game menus, under the Capture and Share tab as an option for “Live streaming.”
Interested Xbox owners will still have to link a Twitch account to their Xbox before they can start broadcasting. Headsets and webcams can be plugged directly into the Xbox and managed from its options panel.
This can be hard for older players and consumers (i.e. me) to grasp, but livestreaming has grown to become a major part of the modern video game industry, with “influencers” and broadcasters routinely showing they’re capable of changing the landscape. The most obvious example here is, of course, Innersloth’s social deduction game Among Us, which went from a footnote in 2018 to a phenomenon in 2020 almost entirely due to sudden interest from livestreamers.
The ability to configure Twitch and related peripherals from within the Xbox UI makes it a surprisingly easy all-in-one solution for breaking into the livestreaming game, albeit one that brings the Xbox up to rough parity with the services available on the PlayStation 5.
While I stand by what I said a few weeks ago, that the Xbox and PlayStation aren’t competitors in the traditional sense, the lack of built-in broadcasting on the Xbox Series X|S was a weak spot in the platform’s armor. Now that’s been fixed.
As for the decision to integrate Twitch, as opposed to any other platform, there’s a similar lack of realistic options. While Facebook Gaming continues its slow month-to-month growth, as per the latest reports from StreamElements, Twitch still commands over three times its overall audience.
Livestreaming is a busier field than a lot of consumers realize, with a couple of dozen platforms to choose from, but in the video game world, Twitch has a virtually insurmountable lead. There was no reason for Microsoft to go with any other options here.
[Errata, 2/28/22: The article has been revised to note that you could download a Twitch app onto an Xbox from the Microsoft Store well before this point.]