Twitch has an audience of millions of gamers, and now developers can sell games to those people right through the livestreaming video site.
Amazon’s Twitch is getting ecommerce features that will enable developers and publishers to sell games and in-game content alongside live video of community broadcasters livestreaming the same game. This feature is rolling out this spring, and it will include revenue sharing for any channel that is a Twitch partner. Developers get 70 percent of the revenues, streamers get 5 percent, and Twitch pockets the rest. This could lubricate sales for developers who want to turn excitement and huge audiences on Twitch into paying customers.
In addition to the revenues for developers, Twitch, and broadcasters, people who make purchases through Amazon’s livestreaming platform will get Twitch Crates that feature randomized digital goodies like exclusive emotes and more.
“We want to empower publishers and developers to offer great value at the exact time and place their communities are gathered to celebrate the games they love,” Twitch vice president of commerce Matt McCloskey said in a statement. “By letting streamers earn money from games sold on their channels and Twitch rewarding fans with Twitch Crates, everyone is pitching in and it’s a win-win-win for the Twitch community.”
You will not have the option to buy every game through Twitch. When the program officially kicks off, only a small list of publishers and developers will participate. Those include the following:
- Telltale Games
- Digital Extremes
- Hi-Rez Studios
- Paradox Interactive
- Trion Worlds
Twitch will also look to add more companies’ games in the future. For now, this could help certain studios reach a customer base without having to convince them to go to Steam or Amazon.com.
“The Twitch community is a key part of everything we do, from getting the word out about a game we’re launching to maintaining an ongoing dialog with our fans,” Telltale publishing boss Steve Allison said in a statement. “By allowing viewers to help support their favorite streamer just by buying a game on Twitch, we’re able to help strengthen the community that has done so much for us.”
Hi-Rez cofounder and chief operating officer Todd Harris echoed that sentiment.
“Next to the perks for our community, what attracted us to making in-game content from Smite and Paladins available on Twitch is how the opportunity to buy appears right where a streamer is playing and viewers are engaged in watching and learning about the game,” said Harris. “Since the streamer gets a revenue share of purchases made, this is a great way to further support streamers who educate and entertain viewers.”
And that new revenue stream for the broadcaster is likely one of the biggest developments here. Twitch is drifting away from relying exclusively on advertising to generate cash from its content. It has direct tipping from viewer through its Bits system, and now it is selling games. This could create some awkward situations in the future, however, where broadcasters might hold back from heavily criticizing a game if it means more of their viewers will purchase it and help them get money. And that’s something that could have a subtle but noticeable impact on the tone of the content you find on Twitch in the future.
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