It's been happening in subtle increments, but the transformation is nearly complete. After launching private messaging, Party Chat and profile updates to Twitch, Amazon's livestreaming service will finally become a niche social network with today's announcement: Friends. Twitch users can add up to 500 friends to a list that shows who's online and allows them to send Whispers (private messages) with a click.
The Friends beta kicks off today, April 22nd, for select community members, including those who witness the announcement first-hand at PAX East's Twitch Town Hall. Anyone else at PAX East can sign up for the beta starting on Saturday, April 23rd at the Twitch booth (#9044). The company wants its users to view their profile pages as ways to connect with fellow viewers and streamers, and the Friends addition is a big part of that goal.
"Friends is the latest social feature in Twitch's ongoing effort to help gamers connect with one another," Twitch director of programming Marcus Graham says. "While Twitch has always been a great platform for broadcasters to connect with viewers, now viewers will be able to connect with each other, too."