Back at the beginning of April, when we hadn’t even begun to reckon with the harsh realities of 2020, Amazon began rolling out a trial program called “Watch Party” where specific high-tier video game streamers on Twitch could hold… well, watch parties with their subscribers. Everyone involved had to have an Amazon Prime subscription, and there was only a limited selection of available content, but the idea was that you could get a more communal streaming experience by watching something at the same time as other people and talking in chat or laughing at the host’s funny comments—very nouveau quarantine, in other words.
The trial was evidently a success, because Amazon is now expanding the program significantly. As reported by Variety, Amazon is gradually rolling out Watch Party to more users beyond Twitch, with anybody who has an Amazon Prime subscription and a PC now able (or at least soon able) to set up virtual rooms for up to 100 people where they can all watch anything in Amazon’s VOD library together. Everyone needs a Prime subscription—Jeff Bezos can’t give this stuff away for free—but it doesn’t sound like you need any other kind of subscription or special sign-up to access this stuff now. (This is only available to U.S. users at the moment, though.)
The Variety story points out that a company called Scener is now offering “co-viewing” options for HBO and Netflix, while Hulu also has a similar feature built-in, but the Hulu one at least is limited to only eight other people. That may be a little more manageable than getting 100 friends who all have Prime accounts, but good for you if you can pull that off.