If watching someone play video games is too intense, Twitch now introduces a new section featuring broadcasts of ordinary people eating things live on camera.
Since the site was established in June 2011, Twitch has become the biggest destination on the internet for live streaming video games. Comfortably ahead of competitors like Hitbox.tv and YouTube Gaming, the Twitch service is now branching out into a more diverse slate of programming.
Social eating is apparently already a hit in South Korea, where it’s colloquially referred to as “muk-bang,” which literally translates to “eating broadcast.” The array of edibles consumed on camera so far has been about what one would expect from a service like Twitch.
Candy and fast food have proven to be early favorites for the social eating section, although some broadcasters have been eating home-cooked fare. However, other users have already resorted to forcing down strange and stomach-churning items in order to raise their all-important viewer count.
An Austrian streamer known as GerstlTV went as far as to eat a cat’s vomit. There’s no sign of him making PewDiePie money just yet, but such an audacious stunt should up his online notoriety — whether or not the vomit in question was legitimate.
Outside of Let’s Play content and tournament streams, Twitch has found its greatest success with interactive broadcasts like Twitch Plays Pokemon. Social eating is similar in the sense that it’s a complete oddity, but gross-out tactics won’t be enough to keep viewers coming back long-term.
Of course, the benefit for Twitch is that it’s not paying for the food (or the ensuing hospital bill for a pumped stomach) — the service can open up as many themed sections as it likes without overstepping its budget. However, there’s a case to be made that Twitch is watering down the gaming content that it’s best known for.