Twitch.tv is a streaming service that allows users to watch other people play video games or broadcast their own playing sessions. It is extremely popular, having just become the fourth largest user of bandwidth during peak hours in the United States.
Users can chat to each other and even the broadcaster as he or she plays the game. It has turned previously solitary games into social gathering points, and have even contributed greatly to the rise of “professional” gaming, as the best in the world compete against each other in front of tens of thousands of viewers.
And it is exactly that, tens of thousands (even hundreds of thousands as was the case during the Twitch Plays Pokemon event) of users in one stream, that likely inspired Twitch to implement its new Group chat feature, now in beta. Talking to tens of thousands of people at once can make it hard to get a word in edgewise. The group chat feature will allow users to gather in groups within a stream and talk privately, without all the noise of everyone watching a particular stream.
As mentioned, the program is only in beta at the moment, so only a small number of Twitch users have access to it currently. However, any user who has access can invite any user to a group chat, regardless if that user is a beta participant or not.
No word yet on when the feature will be rolling out to the rest of the Twitch population.