Twitch is going to take on Steam. Ever since the streaming service was purchased by Amazon in 2014, people have been waiting for the big business strategy to appear. With Amazon’s successful forays into original television content, it was easy to guess that they wanted to get in on game streaming early. While the majority of Twitch’s revenue comes from partnerships with big-name streamers and publishers’ marketing arms, the “Why Amazon?” question has been looming throughout. We got a partial answer in September of last year when Amazon announced that their Prime subscription service would bundle a premium Twitch membership, but would that be it? Amazon was just going to use Twitch as a value-add for their service offer?
Thanks to the Twitch Launcher currently in beta, Twitch will soon be selling games directly. When the program launches, viewers will be able to purchase the games they watch on Twitch through the launcher. The streamer will get a 5% cut of the sale, and the purchaser will get a Twitch Crate for every $5 they spend containing game-specific emotes, chat badges, or Bits, the Twitch currency used to “tip” streamers. According to Twitch, they’ve already signed on Ubisoft, Telltale Games, Digital Extremes, Hi Rez Studios, Double Fine Games, and a host of others. Twitch Partner streamers can check out how to get in on the money here. Non-partner streamers will get to participate too! They just won’t get any money.
An offer to buy a game or in game content will appear on all streamer channel pages when a game is being played that is offered for sale by Twitch. Only partnered streamers will be eligible to earn revenue through this program.
Buying games on Twitch will begin this spring.