What if instead of watching your favorite TikTok star stream on Twitch, you could watch them play video games live on TikTok? For the last few days, according to the platform, TikTok has been testing a Windows program called TikTok Live Studio.
Once downloaded to your desktop, the program allows users to log in with their TikTok account and stream directly to TikTok Live. Within the program, you can communicate with viewers through the chat feature, and you can stream content from your computer, your phone or a gaming console. TikTok told TechCrunch that this program is currently available only in a handful of Western markets for a few thousand users.
An obvious benefit for TikTok in testing this feature is that creators might be motivated to stay within their app, instead of asking their audience to watch them stream on Twitch or YouTube Gaming. From the look of TikTok’s promotional images, it seems that the company is catering toward people looking to stream video games. But in its nascent form, TikTok Live Studio lacks the features that seasoned streamers can find on broadcast software like OBS or Streamlabs — which makes sense, as the product is still in testing. For example, even though you can hook up a video game console to TikTok Live Studio, you can’t use browser windows as a source, and you can’t set up in-stream alerts for tips or new follows.
But a goal of this feature test is to see how creators use the software. TikTok Live Studio isn’t guaranteed to roll out, the company told TechCrunch — whenever TikTok tests a feature, that doesn’t mean it’s here to stay forever. But if we do see a true launch of TikTok Live Studio, the platform will study what creators are using the software for, then tailor it to better suit those use cases.
Already, creators are using TikTok’s live streaming tools to monetize and expand their followings. Creators can accept tips, schedule events, use live Q&A tools, go live with other users, filter certain keywords and assign moderators. Right now, TikTok Live Studio allows users to choose whether they want to enable gifting and comments, and they can set up keyword filters. But other existing live streaming features like assigning moderators and scheduling streams could potentially be incorporated into a future, more robust product.
This streaming software could also mark an opportunity for TikTok to reach more desktop users. For creators, a desktop streaming software is essential, since a smartphone simply isn’t built to connect to your gaming console and stream at the same time. Though people do watch video game streams on their phones, the user experience is generally better on desktop, which could help users create the habit of using TikTok on their computer.