Twitch, the popular online game livestreaming company, today announced plans to offer games for sale through their ever expanding platform. Twitch says that its viewers already use the platform as an opportunity to “demo” games, getting an initial impression by seeing a streamer play the game. It’s only a natural step from there to allow viewers to then purchase the game they’re watching through a purchase button below the stream.
After Twitch enables the service every single game that’s livestreamed, so long as it’s available for sale through Twitch, will feature an advertisement to purchase the game below the stream. Those games will be available to play through the Twitch platform, though it appears Ubisoft games will continue to be supported through Uplay. Otherwise, Twitch will not be providing Steam keys or support other platforms for the time being.
Obviously Twitch putting a brand new monetization on a large number of livestreams wouldn’t sit well with everyone, especially streamers who are partnered with Twitch. But Twitch is willing to meet halfway with partnered streamers, offering them 5% of revenue for each sale. Not that it’s revenue and not profit, which could prove a substantial sum for popular streamers playing new $60 games. Unfortunately non-partnered streamers won’t receive any sort of recompense for the new ads, but perhaps game sales can lead to an increase in partnered streamers in total.
Twitch viewers are likely asking themselves why they’d purchase a game through Twitch rather than other popular (and likely cheaper) platforms by now. The answer is that Twitch plans to reward those who buy games through Twitch. Introducing the Twitch Crate, a”loot box” that’s given to any Twitch user spending more than $4.99 on a game. Twitch Crates contain exclusive game-specific emotes, badges, and bits, but note that every Crate’s contents are randomly generated. Don’t expect to get the emote you want without getting extremely lucky.
As for what publishers have partnered with Twitch for the initial launch, Twitch provided the following list: Ubisoft, Telltale Games, Digital Extremes, Hi Rez Studios, Double Fine Games, Fred Wood, 11Bit, Jackbox Games, tinyBuild, Raw Fury, Devolver Digital, Gambitious, Trion Worlds, Blue Mammoth Games, iNK Stories, Versus Evil, Proletariat, Paradox Interactive, Vlambeer and Campo Santo. Obviously there’s a lot of big publishers not on that list, but Twitch is certainly working to add more supported publishers down the line. Amazon’s got plenty of connections.
While the launch of the Twitch platform for selling games currently has no firm release date, it’s expected to launch “soon” – spring 2017.