I am often thinking about the Mr. Show sketch positing that 24 is the highest number. While that may not be true in a strictly “literal” or “true” sense, it feels like a good limit for “close friends you’d want to watch a television show or film with in a closed circuit,” right? And frankly, I’d be looking at more like 5-8 for maximum “close friends watch party” enjoyment; 24 is the absolute highest I’d be willing to go. But Amazon Prime Video, in their infinite — sorry, 24th wisdom, looked at all of this anecdotal data and said: “We’ll do you 100 better.” That’s right: Amazon Prime Video is establishing a Watch Party feature, with up to 100 participants allowed. That’s, like, at least three 24s!
This move makes sense in the wake of the popular Netflix Watch Party Chrome extension and the official Hulu Watch Party service. In our quarantined entertainment era, we’re still craving that communal “hang out with friends and chat while watching something” experience, and these services scratch that itch as best as it can be scratched. Amazon’s offering feels similar to the other streaming services’ offerings: It’s in a limited rollout beta at the moment, you can only use the service on a desktop browser, every member has to have Amazon Prime, every Amazon Prime title is available, one host controls playback, and everyone can chat in a sidebar including fun stickers.
But that up to 100 participants part really sticks with me. Typically, I’ve been using Netflix Watch Party as band-aids for the aforementioned “5-8 close friends movie night” itch I’ve been craving. Could a 100-person Amazon Prime Watch Party scratch that “movie theater” itch? Do I want to sit through 99 other people’s hackneyed bits about Jack Ryan? How long will it take for folks to figure out how to troll the most effectively? All of these things and more shall be answered as the service is spread out and used more.
Check out how to start a Watch Party on Amazon Prime Video here. For more Amazon goodies, check out the best movies on the service.