In 2020, during the opening days of the COVID-19 pandemic, pretty much every city around the country went into lockdown to try and contain the virus. Quarantine wasn’t kind to everyone: people started missing the outdoors, their morning commutes, family reunions, and nights out with friends. For many, it was a strange and sad time that brought loneliness and social isolation.
For gamers streaming on their Nightbot app, however, it was just the usual day.
Almost immediately after lockdowns were implemented, videogame streamers on Twitch saw a massive uptick in traffic. Makes sense: people needed a distraction from whatever was going on outside, and if they weren’t playing games, they were watching other people play videogames.
Prior to the lockdown, Twitch streamers relied on chatbots to manage interactions with their viewers without interrupting their gaming. Post-lockdown, and with Twitch becoming the largest video distribution system on the entire internet (save, of course, for adult sites) chatbots became crucial to ensuring every viewer is given their 2-3 seconds of fame. Never underestimate the power of a shout-out and how special it makes some stream watcher feel.
Sure, Facebook released Facebook Gaming a couple of months back, and there are various other streaming apps around the world, but Twitch is not only the biggest, it’s also the one with the most incentives for monetization, not to mention pretty cool features and graphics.
In the span of just a couple of months, chatbots became this cute, little add-on that you set to greet viewers entering your stream, to a complex AI that can be preset with a whole bunch of replies depending on context, amongst its simplest features.
What Exactly are Twitch Chatbots?
At its most basic, Twitch chatbots are just like your regular, run-of-the-mill chatbot: they provide automated responses to certain actions that a user takes when they’re interacting with your stream. With Twitch, however, the platform’s chatbots also allow the streamer to moderate the entire chatroom, setting rules and bringing down ban-hammers to the unworthy.
There are also several, customizable commands that the streamer can set and that users can access, and is a crucial weapon against troll armies and dA hAteRZ (you know who you are). Aside from that, Twitch chatbots can also be used to:
- Auto-kick users who use offensive words in the chat (by using preset filters and parameters)
- Customizing chat commands for your users
- Provide content request commands that allow your users to display certain types of content (i.e. backgrounds, music, etc.)
- Posting automated responses to certain types of questions
- Creating raffles and other games
From Nightbot to Phantombot, we list down some of the best Twitch Chatbots out there so you can find one that fits your stream’s content.
Arguably one of the best and most popular chatbots on Twitch, Nightbot is also one of the first: it’s been around for as long as Twitch has, so it’s been able to keep up with every update and adjust its moderation powers accordingly since Day 1. The Nightbot app allows Twitch streamers to moderate their chat section in real-time and is designed to make that whole ‘community building’ and ‘interactive entertainment’ aspect of Twitch much easier.
It also helps that setting up your Nightbot involves very easy steps that the developers publish on their site. It’s fairly idiot-proof, so even people like me could set it up.
Nightbot’s custom dashboard also has the option of providing streamers with basic analytics about their chats, not to mention admin options for maintaining chat logs. It’s completely cloud-hosted so there are no downloads or servers to worry about. Best part? It’s completely free.
Trailing not too far behind from Nightbot in terms of wide-spread usage is StreamElements. Just like the Nightbot app, StreamElements allows streamers to moderate their chats and set dynamic answers to recurring questions, just to keep the chat section clean and troll-free. It’s pretty much set-and-forget, so you can focus on what actually matters: engaging and quality videogame content.
Just like Nightbot, setting up StreamElements is fairly easy and includes various kinds of modules and shout-commands, with the app coming with 30 preset commands so you don’t have to worry about spending more than 10 minutes setting it up. StreamElements can be used to stream on both Twitch and YouTube, maximizing your viewership.
Slightly different from Nightbot is Moobot, a stripped-down, more utilitarian chatbot that’s focused more on automated moderation. Moobot is more for the ‘serious’ gamers out there who are on Twitch to stream games and not participate in any of that “fun community” stuff everyone seems so obsessed with.
Unlike the Nightbot app, which allows more interactions between streamer and user, Moobot is focused more on set-and-forget commands and functionalities so that streamers can focus on gaming. There are auto commands that allow streamers to organize games and song requests, but really, Moobot is more about basic functionalities and spam protection.
One of the more secure chatbots, Wizebot is another free bot service offered by Twitch and is popular with the more ‘cyber security’ conscious streamers out there by providing them with streaming monitoring and management options. This includes tools and commands that scan chats for banned keywords, viewership monitoring, display notifications for new follows and subscriptions, and a host of other monitoring features. It also allows streamers to overlay files in real-time.
Just like Nightbot, Wizebot has been around for quite a while, so it’s updated just as regularly as Twitch. It’s currently being used by over 300,000 channels and around 30,000+ users.
Ankhbot/Streamlabs Chat Bot
Developed with widening a streamers viewership, Streamlabs (formerly known as Ankhbot) allows for streaming to multiple platforms other than Twitch, like YouTube, Spotify, virtual Mixers, and many more. Just like Nightbot, it’s built to not just moderate chats but to make it more fun and entertaining. One of its most popular features is a currency system, which allows streamers to award points to visitors for whatever it is you want to reward them for.
Outside of its entertainment factor, Streamlabs also offers chatbot regulars like chat management, moderation, and preset commands.
A Word of Warning About the “Ankhbot Virus”
First off: no, Ankhbot is NOT a virus, but more than a handful of ankhbot and streamlabs users have had issues with the chatbot since 2017, when a Windows virus definitions update caused their anti-virus programs to delete the app’s .exe files. If you’re using Windows 10 and above, you might have noticed that Windows Defender identifies Ankhbot as a virus, and will then proceed to delete the entire directory.
Windows has since tried to fix the Ankhbot virus issue, issuing various updates to whitelist Ankhbot, but just to be safe:
- Manually whitelist Ankhbot to avoid it being flagged as a virus
- Create a backup of the Ankhbot directory regularly, just to minimize the chances of all your Streamlabs data being wiped.
- Keep Windows Defender as updated as possible, and report any anomalous flags to the devs.
Again, Ankhbot is NOT a virus and should not be treated as such. No one’s exactly sure why, out of all the chatbots, Ankhbot is flagged as a virus, but rest assured, it’s a perfectly safe and effective chatbot for live streamers to use.
Dark mode anyone? Yes that’s right! Our next panel update will have a dark mode! pic.twitter.com/94suANpFhF
— PhantomBot (@PhantomBot) April 7, 2018
Created to compete directly with Nightbot, Phantombot is an actively developed open-source chatbot powered by Java. Just like its rival, Phantombot balances chat moderation and entertainment. Armed with a host of modern features, Phantombot has many features that Nightbot has, and in terms of usage and capabilities, the two are pretty much on even footing (although Nightbot does have more regular updates).
Phantombot’s interface is slicker than Nightbot’s, IMHO, but that’s pretty much based on personal preference. It’s completely free.
A popular chatbot for newbie streamers, Xanbot is akin to Moobot, in that they’re stripped-down versions of other chatbots like Nightbot and is focused primarily on allowing streamers to focus on their games without having to check their chatbox every time someone chimes in. It doesn’t have a lot of fancy bells, whistles, or a dashboard, but it’s quite popular as a starter bot and gives newbies a feel of what it’s like to be so popular that you’d actually need a chatbot.
Xanbot excels at auto-moderation and can be preset to delete spam messages and filter out banned keywords. Template replies can also be preset as well as maintaining a ban list for abusive users (and there’s a LOT of that on the internet). Xanbot is light on entertainment features, but again, this is for newer streamers who have to focus on engaging content before they start trying to build a community around their brand.
Being a streamer – and a videogame streamer in the world’s biggest game streaming platform where you can actually earn money –is more than just playing at pro levels: you need to make your stream fun, interactive, and geared towards building a community around your channel. Remember this whenever streaming on your Nightbot app or any other chatbots you prefer.