Jeremy Forrester at TwitchCon 2024: “The state of mobile gaming is fantastic”

We find out what the Twitch App's new features entail

Jeremy Forrester at TwitchCon 2024: “The state of mobile gaming is fantastic”
  • TwitchCon 2024 has just wrapped up, and we were on the ground at the convention!
  • We got to chat with numerous key people managing Twitch behind the scenes
  • The subject of this interview is VP of community products Jeremy Forrester

As we've said before, TwitchCon 2024 just wrapped up this weekend. And while you might not think it, we were actually on the ground covering it! So, what does one of the world's biggest streaming platforms have to do with mobile? Quite a lot actually.

That's why we got the chance to chat with a few key figures from Twitch while we were there. Including some pretty intriguing people all of their own. These aren't streamers themselves, but a large number of the behind-the-scenes folk that help the platform run and (hopefully) grow.

Today's subject is Jeremy Forrester, the vice president of community products. He works on many of the features that help Twitch streamers and viewers out, and most importantly he and his team had a big hand in the development of the newly revamped Twitch App.

A picture of Jeremy Forrester, one of the managers at Twitch

So let's dig in and find out what he thinks about mobile gaming on Twitch, and a little more about the new app that made its public debut at TwitchCon 2024.

Can you tell us a little more about what you do, Jeremy? Jeremy Forrester: As the VP of Community Products here at Twitch, my team is responsible for all the consumer-facing features.

I would bucket our work into three major areas. So a bunch of streamer-facing functionality like content management, created dashboards, and analytics. As well as interaction features; things like chat and channel points. And then features that allow streamers and viewers to interact. 

And then finally, discovery and how viewers find content, how they find new streamers to watch. The experience of when they watch it and how they discover new streamers. 

What's your favourite mobile game if you have one? 

My favourite mobile game right now is Marvel Snap, which you probably hear a lot. I think they've done a really good job, and I like mobile games where you can jump in and play a complete session very quickly. That's the sweet spot for me when I have a couple of minutes to spare; being able to kind of jump in, play a game and be done. 

What do you think of the current state of mobile gaming and given the success of gaming on Twitch? Is there any interest in facilitating streaming this further?

The state of mobile gaming is fantastic. I've been a mobile gamer for a long time, and I think we've seen natural evolutions of really basic games to more games which are a little bit more involved, and a little bit more developed.

And there were a lot of games where over time they got boring or you played them through once and that was it. And now I think we're truly seeing games which have the level of complexity and investment as more traditional games do, especially those which have multiplayer aspects and online aspects. I think they're in a really good spot. I continue to be amazed by just how good some of the games are these days. 

And they have massive player bases. So going to your second question, we continue to look at ways in which we can grow mobile gaming on the platform. I think the games which are most successful on Twitch to play are predominantly online multiplayer games; because one of the things which is important for streamers is being able to play a game over, and over again without it being boring. 

Unveiling of new awards at Twitchcon 2024

And I think for people that play single-player games and they generally either do something like speed running in which they play in the game over and over again to see how quickly they can complete it. Or they just keep playing new games, and that's what keeps their content fresh. 

But for a lot of people who care about games like League of Legends or Valorant, what makes it unique and interesting to watch is that every match is going to be different. 

And I think historically, as you think about mobile games they haven't been great streamable games because they haven't had a lot of those online aspects to kind of keep every game fresh. But now we see games like Marvel Snap that I mentioned, which have a large follower base on Twitch. 

And I watch a lot of Marvel Snap Streamers and their content. And part of the appeal is because they are such rich games which are so replayable and every match is new, with something unique happening.

So it’s not just card games like Marvel Snap, but also mobile FPS games and battle royale games which have those benefits. So I do think we're getting to the point in which mobile games can be content which is really successful on Twitch. 

And we're starting to see some streamers are growing large viewer bases who want to consume that sort of content. So we'll continue to find ways to make it easier to stream mobile games and continue to work with mobile game developers to do things like drops to make it more rewarding for the viewers who want to watch that content on Twitch as well as play the games.
Is there any interest from Twitch in pursuing stuff like Playables, that we’ve seen companies such as TikTok and Youtube add to their mobile apps?

I think we're definitely always looking to make our mobile application more engaging. For example, on the monetization front, we just announced power-ups. And we think there's a lot of value in there and making that kind of like a fun and engaging experience for viewers to kind of interact with streamers on mobile. And we're also kind of really interested in finding ways to kind of help streamers kind of collaborate with one another and bring and give them things to do. So give them activities to do and streamers are collaborating with one another. 

The opening ceremony at Twitchcon 2024

Those are like the biggest areas of focus. I think we also have interesting overlaps with games with products like Drops where you can earn in-game items or earn in-game rewards for watching content on Twitch. Like that's been a really successful product for many years now. And I think that's one area where we kind of have a tight overlap with kind of games and mobile games in particular as well. 

Feature-wise with the new look of the Twitch mobile app, what's important for viewers who are mobile-first in terms of features, do you think? 

The biggest change is we're moving really towards what we call kind of like a feed-first experience. So really making the feeds kind of front and centre for the mobile application. 

I think historically the mobile application has been really great for existing viewers who've watched Twitch for a long time and potentially started watching Twitch on their desktop and have a long list of followers. 

Like it's been a really great experience just to get people back into the channels they already follow. But I think with the new mobile application, we really want to make it, especially for new viewers, really easy to find something to watch. 

So with the feed you're going to be landed straight into live streams and be able to navigate them really quickly and through our recommendations really narrow down and hopefully find you something that you really want to watch. 

What's a little bit different from other feed-like products is our goal at the feed is really to get you to a channel. We don't want to just keep you on the feed. Our goal is really very much getting you into a streamer's channel that we think is right for you, that hopefully you want to join and be part of that community, you want to engage with the creator and co-create with them and hopefully come back and watch them frequently.

Because that's really what is at the heart of Twitch; viewers getting invested into streamers communities. 

That giant inflatable duck at Twitchcon 2024 Why is it only recently that the Twitch Mobile app has had an overhaul? Is there a sense of increased competition for mobile streaming or is it to kind of facilitate more viewers more easily engaging no matter where they are?

Yeah, I think the focus came recently because what we've actually started to see (and Dan mentioned this at the keynote) is we're starting to see more of a shift in our viewership than we have done historically. The majority of our viewers are still from people on PCs and desktops, but particularly as we look at new users, we see a lot of them are coming to Twitch for the first time on mobile. 

And as Dan mentioned earlier, our data is now at a point where 50% of our users are primarily using mobile.

They may use a TV application or the website, but they spend more time on the mobile phone and 40% of them are exclusively mobile only.

Our old application was actually really good, particularly for people who use Twitch both on the desktop and mobile. But this new experience, we're really trying to design it to make it great for not just existing viewers, but really a good experience to discover content, even if you're coming to Twitch for the first time. 

We see mobile being a more and more important part of our user base and actually a key part of streamers communities. And therefore we wanted to make sure we really kind of build a great experience for them. 

Why is it that TwitchCon 2024 attendees are your target for the first public beta of the app? 

I think there's a couple of different reasons. One is to reward people for being here, especially the people that turned up early, came to the keynote and really want to be engaged with the community. We wanted to give them something that they could try that they could play around with. So rewarding them for being here, for being leaned in and being part of the Twitch community is a major element. I think outside of that, it's also just a really great opportunity for us to get feedback. 

So obviously, we usually put things like this out to experiments as well. And we look at feedback through our user voice and through public places like Reddit and Twitter. But there's something really magical about being able to chat with someone in person and ask them if they tried the new mobile app, help them get it set up and then see what they think and listen to their feedback; hear what they like, what they didn’t like and keep that all in mind. 

Because I think one of the things that's really important at Twitch is we're really trying to build with the community in mind and with our streamers in mind.  So getting the opportunity to actually talk about people with it as they use it for the first time is really invaluable for us.

Iwan Morris
Iwan Morris
Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.