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Twitch’s latest test lets you preview channels without watching ads

Twitch has begun testing a new feature that could introduce you to great streamers you haven’t seen before. Channel Switcher shows random channels as a carousel at the bottom of the screen. When you click on any of them, you’ll be able to watch a one-minute preview of the streamer’s content, enough to give you an idea of what they offer. The previews have no ads either, so you can channel surf undisturbed until you find something to watch. As Twitch explains, the feature will make it easier to figure out if you like a specific channel before committing.

A Twitch spokesperson told The Verge that “only a small percentage of [randomly selected] users who are logged in” will get the chance to test out the feature. The company plans to end the test in July and then analyze its results. While it’s unclear if Channel Switcher will get a wide release at this point, the spokesperson told the publication that Twitch intends to roll out future iterations and is thinking of offering it as an opt-in discovery solution. 

Alongside Channel Switcher, Twitch also launched Guest Star, which allows up to five guests to join a host in a stream. It works similar to Clubhouse in that streamers can include other streamers and viewers in their broadcast, but it of course supports video and not just audio conversations. 

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Engadget Podcast: Diving into the Apple Watch Series 7 and Twitch’s big hack

This week, Cherlynn and Devindra chat about what to expect from Apple’s upcoming event (new MacBooks, baby!), as well as all of the other launch shindigs from Google, Samsung and Sony. Cherlynn also tells all about her Apple Watch Series 7 review, and why she hates testing sleep tracking gadgets. And to catch up on some big news from last week, Manda Farough from the Virtual Economy Podcast joins to dive into the massive Twitch hack.

Listen below, or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you’ve got suggestions or topics you’d like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!

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Credits
Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar
Guests: Manda Farough
Producer: Ben Ellman
Livestream producers: Julio Barrientos, Luke Brooks
Graphics artists: Luke Brooks, Kyle Maack
Music: Dale North and Terrence O’Brien

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Twitch’s source code and streamer payment figures have been leaked in apparent hack

Hackers have accessed Twitch and leaked a vast amount of company data, including proprietary code, creator payouts and the “entirety of Twitch.tv.” Twitch confirmed the breach in a tweet Wednesday morning, but did not provide further details. 

On top of of the Twitch.tv code, the attackers said they stole the the site’s mobile, desktop and console Twitch clients. It also accessed “proprietary SDKs and internal AWS services used by Twitch,” other properties like IGDB and CurseForge, an unreleased Steam competitor from Amazon Game Studios (code-named Vapour) and Twitch SOC internal red-teaming tools. It also shows creator payouts from 2019 until now, including top streamers like Nickmercs, TimTheTatMan and xQc . 

Although we haven’t verified the claim that “the entirety” of Twitch’s source code has been leaked, the files in the 126GB repository do appear to be genuine, and the payout figures for almost 2.4 million streamers seem to be present. The hackers said that the leak, which includes source code from almost 6,000 internal Github repositories, is also just “part one” of a larger release.

It doesn’t appear that information like user passwords, addresses and banking information were revealed, but that can’t be ruled out in a future drop. If you have a Twitch account, you should activate two-factor authentication so that bad actors can’t log into your account if your password has been stolen.

The group also stated that Twitch’s community is a “disgusting toxic cesspool,” so the action may be related to recent hate raids that prompted streamers to take a day off in protest. Twitch has previously said that it’s trying to stop the hate raid problem but that it wasn’t a “simple fix.” 

It’s not clear yet how attackers could have stolen such a large amount of data, especially considering that Twitch is owned by Amazon, which operates one of the largest web-hosting companies in the world.

Update (10/6/21, 11:33am ET): This post has been updated to reflect that Twitch confirmed on Wednesday that the breach took place.

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