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Twitch is streaming the Republican and Democratic conventions as a 'public service'

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Looks like 360-degree video won't be the only new way to watch the two US conventions on Monday. Twitch announced yesterday that it would be streaming both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions live on its platform, a first for a company that — until a recent diversification effort — has focused primarily on video games. In addition to the streams, the company is also introducing a new of new voting-themed emotes for viewers to use in chat channels, including a cracked blue Liberty Bell, a prancing red Republican elephant, and site mascot Kappa in a boater hat.

Twitch says it sees the streams as "a public service," providing "an opportunity for you to engage in the political process, and with each other, during this election year without leaving your native habitat, using the social and communication tools you know and love." Twitch says that for millions of potential voters, the streaming service is their internet home, "a primary source of community and entertainment" that replaces Facebook, Reddit, and traditional TV, insulating them from the political maelstrom currently swirling in the United States. Twitch also notes that US policies and politics play a major role in global politics, suggesting that a worldwide stream gives non-US citizens a chance to get their voices heard.

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Personally, I'm not sure I want to spend much time in Twitch chat channels during the events, but if Hillary Clinton's already namedropping Pokémon Go, she might also want her aides to give her a rundown on the complex history of Kappa.