Twitch is now offering loot boxes with temporary emotes as prizes. Every time you spend 250 Bits on a Cheer, you will unlock a Halloween crate with one of six zombie emotes that can be used through the rest of the year. Collect all six, and you’ll unlock a permanent Zombie Lord Kappa emote, but you’ll probably need to wade through more than six crates since repeats aren’t worth anything. It’s time-limited crate availability coupled to the variant chase mechanic. Imagine it. You could spend Bits on Cheers to get Twitch loot boxes while watching your favorite streamer spectate in Call of Duty: World War 2 viewing other people opening their in-game loot boxes. If infinite regress is real, the cosmic voyager might say “It’s loot boxes all the way down!”
Twitch’s Halloween Crates will be available until November 3rd.
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.
YouTube Gaming has launched. Google’s streaming video service competes directly with established services like Twitch by concentrating on gaming. It offers most of the features that Twitch does, but adds the financial clout and technical knowhow of Google. YouTube Gaming does some things Twitch doesn’t, like automatically archiving videos and a DVR mode that allows viewers to rewind a current stream. Tech-heads applaud the service’s use of HTML5 instead of Flash, which Twitch currently still uses to power their videos.
Some of the biggest YouTube gaming channels like jackfrags and Machinima have seamlessly become YouTube Gaming channels, which means Google’s infant service already has a sizeable audience. Google has also smartly bundled up existing YouTube videos on games and placed them into the channels for whatever game the video covers into the new service.
Will Google’s foray into gaming dethrone the current king? YouTube Gaming is off to a good start, but the key will be swiping the big official tournaments from Twitch. If Google can woo the heavy-hitters like Valve, Blizzard, Riot, and others away from Twitch, and if they can overcome the reservations some established star streamers have, YouTube Gaming may become as ubiquitous as VEVO is for music videos.
If you’re interested in becoming a YouTube streamer you can start the process here.
Amazon has purchased Twitch. The deal ends weeks of speculation that the streaming service was being heavily courted by Google, with many media outlets incorrectly reporting that the deal was finalized. Fans of the video streaming service were stunned earlier in the month when new rules regarding copyrighted material appeared to mimic the heavy-handed ContentID system employed by YouTube. It was speculated by many that Twitch was cleaning up their copyright dispute issues to demonstrate to potential buyers that they had systems in place to deal with potential lawsuits. Emmett Shear, CEO of Twitch, believes the partnership will benefit gamers.
“Amazon and Twitch optimize for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming. Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world.”
The price tag for Twitch was $970 million in cash. Amazon probably should’ve waited for Twitch to show up in a Lightning Deal.