YouTube launches subscriber-only chat & teases more on the way to rival Twitch

YouTube chat graphicYouTube

YouTube just launched a subscriber-only chat feature for livestreams on the platform, with Global Head of Gaming Ryan ‘Fwiz’ Wyatt teasing more highly-requested features on the way to rival Twitch.

Streaming on YouTube continues to evolve as the platform has now launched a sub-only mode feature. No different from how it works on Twitch, this allows the biggest personalities to keep their chat exclusive for subscribers.

Casual viewers won’t be able to hop in and type away while this new function is enabled. Instead, everyone will need to be an active subscriber in order to communicate. It can be switched on and off throughout a broadcast and YouTube even allows creators to set how long viewers need to be subscribed for.

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Theoretically, only hardcore fans could engage in a live YouTube chat if the featured streamer locked sub-only mode to those that have been around for a year or two. 

YouTube launches sub-only mode in Beta

The feature went live on May 6 with a few caveats. Sub-only mode is currently only its Beta form, meaning there could be some bugs along the way. Moreover, the feature is purely an “experiment” for the time being.

As a result, a limited number of streamers have access to the feature. While YouTube hopes to let more creators engage down the line, there’s no indication of how far off we are from a global roll-out.

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If you’re one of the lucky few with early access, however, enabling the feature couldn’t be easier. You can switch it on before going live, or even swap over midway through a broadcast. 

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to enable sub-only chat for YouTube livestreams.

How to enable sub-only chat on YouTube

  1. Go to your Live Control Room tab.
  2. Once you’re here, click on the Edit option.
  3. Click Live chat and look for the ‘who can send a message’ setting.
  4. Click on ‘subscribers’ to enable sub-only mode.
  5. As an optional choice, you can also set how long viewers must be subscribed.
  6. Hit Save.

More YouTube features on the way to rival Twitch

Gifted subs on TwitchTwitch
Gifted subs have long been a popular feature on Twitch and they could soon be coming to YouTube.

On top of the sub-only announcement, a few more highly-requested features were discussed. When questioned on the likes of ‘raiding’ and gifted subs, Fwiz simply replied saying there’s “more to come.”

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“We can’t share anything at this time, but just know we hear our Creator community on their Live streaming feature requests and we’re listening!”

So while there’s no timeline mapped out for these additional features, it’s evident they’re a priority for the YouTube team. We’ll be sure to keep you up to date as YouTube Live continues its expansion over the coming months.

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