Amazon has announced a new “Watch Party” experience on its video streaming platform Prime Video, for some quarantine time socialising. The feature, that will roll out gradually in the U.S. over the next few days, allows upto 100 participants to watch shows and movies together, so the bitter loneliness of quarantine doesn’t feel that sad anymore.
A “Host” can set up a watch party, which can constitute of upto 100 others users, all of which need to have a Prime Video membership, and are watching from the U.S. . This host can choose to pause, resume or stop a video, among other controls, which will be reflected by every other device in the watch party.
To get started, a host will click on the new Watch Party icon on the movie or show’s page on Prime Video desktop website. Upon this, a link pops up, which can be shared to your friends and acquaintances, just like a Zoom meeting, but something you actually want to be in (and don’t have to frantically dress up for). After a party has started, users will be on the mercy of the mighty overlord ‘Host’, who can choose to do whatever he/she wants with the stream.
The only thing that’s in control of the participants is what they say, as the feature also allows for ‘Watch Party wide’ discussions, through the inbuilt chat function and emojis. So users can actually have discussions about the content in the background, and/or make requests to the host.
The catalog of watch party compatible videos includes thousands of titles in the Prime Video SVOD (subscription video on demand) catalog. Many of these titles are original Amazon Prime Video productions, while some like, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” and my personal favourite, “The Boys”, belong to third parties. However, titles available only for rent or purchase are not available within Watch Party at this time, Amazon says.
Thus, Amazon is coalescing the best of the two worlds from its Prime Video and Twitch streaming platforms, and launching a feature that amalgamates the best parts of these platforms.