Twitch users who have grown accustomed to jumping onto the platform and watching videos like they usually do every day were surprised this week when they were greeted with an updated layout. This new layout is visible whenever you select a category you want to watch, be it Just Chatting or a specific game. It shows a different way of viewing the various streamers participating in this category, but the part that people really took issue with is the new autoplay video that now takes up the majority of your screen.
To better see this new layout in action, head over to Twitch and select a category. Take fall guys, for example, a game that’s enjoying a resurgence in popularity on Twitch now that it’s gone free-to-play and has come to other platforms. Selecting this category presented me with the screen shown in the image below which had xqc’s stream first and autoplay while a line of other streams filled the bottom row.
Towards the top of the layout, there is an option to move forward or backward along the flowline. There is also an option to turn off the stream seeing how the autoplay feature applies to both the video itself and the audio, but everything is on by default. If you sit on a feed for a while, it will stop and present you with two options: “Continue to feed” which will take you to that person’s feed or “Go to next” which will skip to the next one. You can also expand the list of other streams shown at the bottom of the video, but only by one line.
Opponents who don’t like this new layout criticized Twitch for creating the first video autoplay, a system that seems to be universally loathed, regardless of platform. Some have also suggested that this is an ad put out by Twitch to entice people to see more ads, but after bouncing around multiple categories and never coming across an ad from this stream preview, it looks like the ads aren’t showing there, or at least they aren’t working enough to be a problem.
others who are more optimistic like Lowco suggested that this new layout could be a positive change for smaller content creators who might be more exposed. While that may end up being the case, my experience browsing the new category layouts showed the streamers with the best views in the preview window, even though each category was sorted by “Recommended for you” (Lowco also later said that “sound is off by default”, but mine was automatically on every time, so who knows?).
Twitch hasn’t done much about this layout change yet, but we’ll likely see something about it in the coming weeks to explain the change and whether or not it’s sticking.