Major streaming website Twitch has announced that the company will start selling games and DLC, turning the streaming website into an online storefront third-party developers and publishers. This news was posted on the streaming giant's official blog.
Ever since our first baby steps onto the internet, our goal has been to make Twitch the ultimate hub for gaming on the web. What started as a simple streaming platform has become a living, breathing social community.
Soon we’ll be taking another step to further strengthen the community and benefit streamers and viewers alike. Twitch has always been the best place to watch, share, and play games. Soon, it will be the best place to buy games as well.
Twitch has managed to sign deals with some slightly big and really big names from the games industry, making sure there is a wealth of content available when the feature gets released. This list of names consists of Telltale Games, Ubisoft. Indie game devs and publishers Raw Fury and tinyBuild, Unreal developer Digital Extremes, Paradox interactive, Vlambeer, Hi-Rez Studios Trion Worlds, Firewatch developer Campo Santo, iNK Stories, Versus Evil, Proletariat, Double Fine Games, Fred Wood, 11Bit, Jackbox Games and Devolver Digital. Twitch has gone on record saying that they are in talks with many more companies since Twitch wants to be able to sell every game streamers use on their platform.
Coming this Spring, you will find a new purchase option below streams of partnered streamers, allowing you to instantly buy the game the streamer is playing on his or her stream. If and when you decide to buy the game, the streamer receives a 5% share of the revenue provided the streamer has opted into the program. Developers get a 70% cut of the revenue, with the remaining 25% of the profits going to Twitch. Because Twitch is owned by Amazon, you will need to have an Amazon account in order to purchase games and DLC from Twitch. While all prices will be in American dollars, you will be able to purchase a game from anywhere in the world.
When you buy any game over $4.99 you will receive a Twitch Crate containing randomized cosmetic items like emotes you can use in chat, a chat badge and a digital currency called Bits which you can use to buy Bit emotes.
While the company will be providing a service similar to other online storefronts, there are some familiar features missing from their shop at launch: preorders and an actual browsable storefront. For starters, you won't be able to freely browse the available games like you can with Steam or Origin. Instead, you will only be able to buy games from a streamer's web page and not from a dedicated store page.
When preorders do become available is unknown at this point in time, but the company's product marketing manager for E-commerce Robin Fontaine had the following to say about preorders in an interview with Gamesindustry.biz:
At launch pre-ordering won't be available," Fontaine says. "We know this is an important element of game distribution and we will be working with our developers and publishers to create compelling pre-order programs in the future.
Fontaine goes on to say that many people already use Twitch as a way to demo games they're interested in. Twitch wants to give developers and publishers the opportunity to profit from the traffic on Twitch by allowing them to sell their games through Twitch. Furthermore, games you buy via Twitch can be downloaded through the Twitch desktop app, or you can add them to other apps like Steam or Origin.
Fontaine doesn't seem worried about the potential prospect of streamers changing their style to incentivize an audience to buy a game via their profile, saying that there already exists a support culture on the platform, with viewers often donating to their favorite streamers in the form of Cheering.
Twitch already has a robust economy where viewers support streamers by subscribing and Cheering with Bits.
This is only one more tool that allows viewers to help support streamers just by getting great games and content on Twitch.
Whether that optimism is misplaced or not remains to be seen. The service is scheduled to release in Spring of 2017. The coming few weeks should also give us some more details on which games, specifically, will be made available at launch.
What do you think of this announcement? Will you buy games through your favorite streamers on Twitch, or continue using sites like Green Man Gaming or Direct 2 Drive?