It’s awesome to have 100,000 people watching an event on Twitch. It’s less awesome to have 100,000 all jabbering in the chat at the same time, but the livestreaming platform is working on a solution to this problem.

Twitch will begin rolling out a beta test of its new group chat today. This feature will enable the people using Twitch to stream video of their gameplay to nest a smaller band of friends in a private, invite-only room. The standard lobby, which everyone sees, will still continue uninterrupted. Twitch is treating this as its foray into social networking. It wants broadcasters to use group chat to stay in touch with their best gamer buds. This represents Twitch’s next step in upping its social game after getting its platform integrated on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

“There’s no question Twitch chat is the social glue that brings the community together,” Twitch vice president of marketing Matthew DiPietro said. “You have Facebook for your life, LinkedIn for your job, and Twitch for your gaming. Because of our prominent presence in the social arena, introducing group chat offers a compelling new way for the community to interact.”

The group chat test will start with Twitch partners only. That means only the people running big channels will have the power to start these private rooms, but they can invite anyone they want into them. The feature also only works on the Web version of Twitch, so you won’t have access to them from the mobile or console apps.

As in the standard chat on Twitch, broadcasters will have the capability to ban or suspend people. They can also set moderators.

Twitch says it will examine opening up the feature to everyone eventually depending on how the beta test goes.

This is just the latest addition Twitch has made to its services. The company has grown into an industry giant over the last year. It now has 45 million monthly viewers, and — during peak hours — it is the fourth most-trafficked Internet network behind only Google, Apple, and Netflix. Over the last few months, it has worked with Microsoft and Sony to add integrated video-streaming capabilities into each of their new consoles. That has seen hundreds of thousands of new broadcasters joining the site.

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Founded in June 2011 and acquired by Amazon in 2014, Twitch is the world’s leading social video platform and community for gamers. Each month, more than 100 million gather to watch and talk about video games with more than 1.5 millio... read more »

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