For Codices, the future of television is Twitch

Penryn startup’s Quiz Kit tool lets broadcasters run interactive gameshows on the wildly popular livestreaming platform

If you’re not into video games, you might not have heard of Twitch. But you may do soon, as the Amazon-owned online livestreaming platform has seen astronomical growth during lockdown.

With much of the world stuck indoors, millions have been logging into Twitch to watch celebrity streamers like Pokimane and Rubius play games like Fortnite and Minecraft.

Twitch almost doubled its audience during lockdown. Image credit:

Twitch is attracting non-gaming brands and broadcasters

While Twitch is mostly known for gaming content, its ballooning viewer figures are attracting the attention of brands and broadcasters, too. Part of the attraction lies in something Twitch can offer but traditional TV can’t: real-time audience interaction.

“If you look at TV, it’s a bit archaic,” says Tim Edwards, CEO of Penryn-based startup Codices. “With things like The X Factor, people have to phone up at the end of the show. We think the future is in live entertainment where people can vote in real time.”

“If you look at TV, it’s a bit archaic. We think the future is in live entertainment where people can vote in real time.”

Tim Edwards, CEO, Codices

With backgrounds in TV, apps, livestreaming and VR gaming, Edwards and his team felt Twitch was ideal for truly interactive versions of shows like Would I Lie To You and The Million Pound Drop.

“The one thing everyone wants to do when they’re watching a gameshow is play along,” Edwards says. “So we wanted to help broadcasters create their own interactive shows on Twitch.”

Quiz Kit brings interactive TV gameshow formats to Twitch

He and the Codices team have done just that, using Falmouth University’s Launchpad incubator to develop a free software tool called Quiz Kit. It allows Twitch streamers to incorporate audience quizzes and other interactive games into their shows.

Bateson, Pieface, and their viewers go head to head in a Premier League-themed quiz made with Quiz Kit

Launched in 2018, Quiz Kit is now used by 4,400 brands and 80,000 Twitch channels worldwide, with 1.2 million monthly players. Codices has worked with Amazon Prime and the Premier League on a football-themed quiz, and hosted a show in South Korea for 18,000 players.

COVID-19 has spurred further interest, as companies look for new ways to entertain locked-down audiences.

“We’re starting to see non-gamers look at livestreaming a lot more closely,” says Edwards, citing Capital Radio and “biggish music companies” as the types of company Codices is talking to. “We’ve actually never been busier.”

A £500k funding injection and new formats to come

It’s an impressive track record for a seven-person team, but Edwards says Codices is only getting started. “We’re working on developing our own formats,” he says. “Hopefully by the end of this year we’ll have one or two successful shows that we can export all over the world.”

Codices sees its lean operating model (Quiz Kit runs on Amazon’s cloud services, which can scale up and down with demand) and close relationship with Twitch as advantages. Investors seem to agree: the company has just closed a £500k funding round and hopes to raise £15-20m next year to help it develop and export new formats.

Finding a winning format may not be too hard. “We have so many users, we can put a new idea into Quiz Kit and see if people play it,” says Edwards. “Working with Twitch has given us a very big advantage in terms of cost and scale.”

NOTE: Post updated on 6th July 2020 replacing ‘Ninja’ with ‘Pokimane’, and updating the number of channels that currently use Quiz Kit.

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