A Guide to Understanding Twitch Emotes
With over 2.2 million broadcasters, and a staggering average 15 million daily active users, Twitch’s astronomical rise to streaming dominance shows no signs of slowing down in the immediate future.
The platform's ascension has been so rapid that it’s even managed to spawn a brand new picture-based language, one that’s so complex it might appear to be from an entirely different planet.
Fear not though, to become fluent in the use of Twitch emotes you don’t need to seek the aid of a translator, the following guide is all you’re going to need to get right up to speed with this latest gaming phenomenon!
What exactly are emotes anyways?
The easiest way to wrap your head around Twitch emotes is to think of them as the streaming service’s equivalent of the emoji, only dialed up to the extreme.
Much like the funny little blobs that litter your text conversation with friends, emotes are essentially tiny picture based graphics designed to add flavor and expression to your otherwise drab looking words.
Unlike emojis, or their emoticon predecessors, Twitch emotes are wildly more detailed and come in a staggering array of shapes and sizes.
What types of emotes are there?
Twitch Emotes can be broken down and put into four main categories:
- The Robot emotes: These little robotic fellas essentially act as Twitch’s substitutes for the conventional emojis. Crucially, everyone on Twitch is free to use their adorable faces as much as they want.
- The Global emotes: This group of emotes is where you’ll find the real starts of the Twitch chat experience, and are subsequently the ones you’ll likely see used most often. Each one of them either hilariously references a certain aspect of internet or meme culture, or alternatively a specific Twitch streamer. Like their robotic siblings, these emotes are free to be unleashed by all Twitch viewers as well.
- The Partner/Affiliate emotes: This exclusive group of emotes are only available to users who are subscribed to a Twitch partner or affiliate, who has created their own unique set of symbols. Because of this, the emotes themselves tend to directly reference the streamer or an aspect of their channel. Each affiliate or partner, depending on the number of subscribers they have, can create upto 50 of these unique emotes.
- The Subscription service emotes: Rounding out the categories, users who subscribe to the Twitch Turbo, or Twitch Prime subscription services can get access to multiple sets of alternative emoji-esque icons.
Where did they come from?
You might be surprised to learn that, despite becoming so integral to the Twitch experience, emotes were not always a part of the platforms unique culture. Even though Twitch was unleashed upon the internet on June 6, 2011, it would take 4 whole years for the meme-filled pictographic symbols to take over in 2015.
Since then, they’ve won affection from both streamers and viewers alike, and are an essential part of the Twitch community.
How do I get in on the action and use them?
Understanding the deeper meaning behind some of Twitch’s more obscure
self-referential emotes, can sometimes feel like you need to have taken a College class dedicated to each of them. Thankfully, actively using them in your conversations is a much more straightforward process.
Emotes can be deployed primarily to the Twitch chat feed of a streamer; the constantly scrolling wall of messages that’s become such an iconic part of the entire experience.
Users simply click on the beaming smiley face located within the top right hand corner of their chat box, and then select the emotes they wish to insert into their messages.
Alternatively, bonus points to those of you who do happen to have an encyclopedic knowledge of emotes, as typing out the name of the code for the icon you want - in the message box - will do the trick as well.
Why should I use them?
As we’ve said, since their implementation Twitch emotes have become synonymous with the steaming service’s brand. That’s in no small part down to the fact they perfectly embody the relaxed and inclusive vibe that runs throughout the heart of the platform.
In short, they’re mainly just fun to use!
Taking a step back to think about the topic more broadly, just like their pictorial cousin the emojis, emotes derive their name from the word emotion. Using emotes in your messages basically allows a user to communicate their feelings in a more obvious, and often humorous manner.
In the age of the Internet, a time when simple words can often lose the subtle way in which they were intended, emotes allow you to infuse tone and enthusiasm back into what you’re saying.
When should I use emotes?
Twitch implemented the emotes system as a way of ensuring viewers felt connected to the action that they were watching.
Emotes are the perfect way to express your thoughts and feelings, especially since the breakneck speed in which many Twitch chats move can make it feel like your voice is getting lost in an ocean of sound.
Quickly dropping in a few emotes allows a viewer to always ensure they are able to adequately express themselves, while also remaining a part of a fast flowing conversation.
How many emotes are there?
It’s nearly impossible to put an exact figure on how many emotes Twitch has in its repertoire, mainly because streamers have the opportunity to release their own creations into the global population, and the number is therefore always on the rise.
The figure is easily within the tens of thousands at this point however. What we do know for certain is that the number of emotes dwarfs the number of emojis, which as of right now, boasts a rather poultry 2,823 characters.