The other day, Twitch announced that the Host Mode feature is getting removed on October 3rd. In their FAQ, they give reasons for that but the wording is a little bit off, so I wanted to discuss why I can understand their reasoning behind this and why I think that their approach is good to a degree.
- What is “Host Mode”?
- Why is Twitch removing the Host Feature?
- “Auto-Host” is now named “Suggested Channels”
- The In-Built Shoutout Command with Follow Button in Chat
What is “Host Mode”?
On Twitch, you can host a channel on your channel via the stream manager or by entering “/host [channel name]” into your chat.
This basically displays the hosted channel on your page, giving people the option to watch their stream or go directly to their stream when they access your page.
In contrast to “/raid”, this feature, however, doesn’t follow the hosted channel along on a “raid train”. Raids will take your viewers over to the other channel and if they raid someone, your channel will host that channel, too. The “/host” feature stops hosting once the hosted channel is offline.
Why is Twitch removing the Host Feature?
The reason why Twitch is removing the Host feature is that it is a confusing experience for anyone new to Twitch.
If I were to host a channel right now, people visiting my channel would see the person in question playing a game or doing other things. If they were then trying to chat with the hosted streamer, those messages would never get noticed.
Yes, Twitch added pointers that say “check out [channel name]” near the title but not everyone checks this out right away – and on mobile, the UI can be confusing as well, possibly even hiding these entirely.
Hence, Twitch is removing the /host feature entirely to get rid of said confusion or even frustration. Or rather, the feature is moved to the channel banner, similarly to the “auto host” feature.
On Twitch’s Browser version, you have the option to click on “nicronomicon” below my name or onto “Check out nicronomicon” but if you were to subscribe or gift a sub, it would be to my channel. Similarly, there is no follow button for Nic. That can be confusing for new people.
“Auto-Host” is now named “Suggested Channels”
To stop the entry barrier for new Twitch users, this feature is also getting a new name. You can still raid people. You can still set up a list of suggested channels. Nothing changes in that regard – but the /host feature is gone, for now.
When a channel is hosted, they are displayed at the channel banner behind the channel trailer, a past VOD, and all of that. This is a better way to do it as you can clearly see a suggestion to people visiting my channel here, telling people to check out (in this example) PositronixCM who is playing “Xenoblade Chronicles” while I’m offline.
And this has been the way things have been for ages. This way of hosting is also more effective in not confusing new Twitch users while also giving discoverability to other streamers, according to a post that Twitch made quite a while ago (no source here, sorry, couldn’t find it).
On top of that, you can scroll down on people’s pages to find a list of suggested streamers that are automatically hosted when they’re live while you’re offline.
This used to be called the “auto-host” feature and it’s now called “suggested streamers”. Nothing changes here – at least not for the worse. “Suggested streamers” is less technical than “Auto-Host”, so it also helps new streamers understand what Twitch means by this.
The In-Built Shoutout Command with Follow Button in Chat
This is something that I’m quite excited about.
Most streamers will have a “!shoutout” command that will show a message in the chat with a link to other streamers’ channels. This will now be something that is built-in for Twitch. When Twitch adds it, there will also be a follow button in chat that your viewers can use to give the person in question a follow… and if you already followed them, the follow button doesn’t appear at all.
This… is… amazing. I’m looking forward to it. Until now, you could either follow people by clicking on their emotes or names – or you visited the link in question.
The follow button in the chat window is gonna help a lot with adding discoverability to other streamers and supporting each other!
Overall, there aren’t really many changes happening.
The “Auto-Host” feature gets a new name and works like it did before. Meanwhile, the hosting feature won’t anymore show up on the “Chat” section of one’s channel starting October 3rd. Instead, you’ll see past VODs there that you can watch or the offline screen that streamers have set up.
This should lead to less confusion for new people on Twitch.
Personally, it took me a while to realise that the “host” wasn’t referring to the streamer in question but someone that they hosted back in 2019 when I first stumbled across Twitch. Back then, I wanted to check out Chestnut from GamerGirlConfessions on Twitch since she mentioned that she’s a streamer as well. But on her Twitch channel, someone named Aeyvi was hosted.
But while others may not necessarily find new streamers to watch through the “/host” feature, I at the time followed Aeyvi and got to know other people through her who then introduced me to many other streamers… and because of that I’m a little sad to see the feature go but I’m glad that it’s not completely “removed” and that it rather is just moving locations to where the channel banner is.