Is Twitch Accessible?

 [Image Description: Purple background. "Twitch" is written in a white outline.]

[Image Description: Purple background. "Twitch" is written in a white outline.]

Twitch is a new thing that I’ve been enjoying lately. If you don’t know what Twitch is, it’s a streaming website that primarily focuses on gaming, but many do use it to simply talk about their lives or host their own talk show.

After almost eight years of being on YouTube with little income to come out of it, I started streaming on Twitch (after I was told to do it multiple times for months) to try to make more income. It wasn’t a horrible idea since I already do content creation online and this was just another version of that. Plus, I got to go back to my childhood a little bit playing video games.

So with a nice sponsorship check, I invested in a desktop computer that would work for both gaming and content creating. (And, yes, it has been doing a lot better than YouTube has.)

So since I’m someone who talks about accessibility a lot, I’m going to do it again in this post. More specifically, I’m going to talk about whether or not Twitch is accessible, mostly for those who are deaf/have hearing loss like me. Before we get started, I do have a video on this topic already if you would like to watch that here.

Now let’s get back to reading.

One of the main  things we look for in accessibility on livestream websites is captions. Unfortunately, this is something that is lacking on most platforms. The only other livestream platform I can think of that currently has working captions is Facebook Live and even that requires a third party to enable them. YouTube is currently launching auto live captions on their livestream services (more on that to come in the future, hopefully). As far as I know, Twitch has zero captions whatsoever and no real plans to implement that any time soon.

At the moment, the only thing I can think of to be the most accessible is by turning the subtitles on whenever one is playing a game that has that option. To me, personally, it is crucial to have subtitles on a story based game like The Walking Dead and The Last Of Us. So if you are playing a game like that, be sure to turn the subtitles on as game mouths don’t move the same as human mouths.

What I personally do to try to be accessible is to, of course, have the game subtitles on. I try my best to SimCom (something I don’t like to do unless there is a live deaf-hearing audience in person or on live stream) when possible. This isn’t something easy to do in games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Overwatch, but I am more able to do it when I play Life Is Strange or The Walking Dead.

Of course, I cannot speak about accessibility for my blind or autistic friends, or any other disabled person. Everyone has different needs when it comes to accessibility. What are yours? I’d love to know.

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