Image via Twitch
Have you ever, while watching a Twitch stream, been so overcome by a desire to own the broadcasted game that the prospect of lumbering over to Steam or Origin seemed like a Herculean task? Well, you’re in luck—soon, you’ll be able to purchase games directly from the streaming website, thanks to Twitch’s latest feature.
“There are two places you can buy a game on Twitch. One is on the games detail page, which is pretty straightforward,” said Matt McCloskey, Twitch’s VP of commerce. “The other, more interesting place is on the channel page, where you can buy it directly underneath the stream of the person playing the game.” When viewers buy a game that way, the streamer gets five percent of the revenue, while the developer gets 70%. Twitch, presumably, takes the rest off the top.
As part of the announcement, Twitch released a video where developers from a variety of popular studios, like Ubisoft and Telltale, discuss why this is a natural fit for both sides of the equation. They’ve finally figured out how to cash in on the streaming phenomenon in a more direct way than free publicity, and streamers get a little extra on the side as well. Twitch, of course, will rake in their fair share as well. A few dozen games will be on offer when this feature launches, with more to follow.
The developers absolutely deserve a share of the huge piles of dough being generated by Twitch streams, and this will also make it a little more financially viable to be a full-time streamer. It’s not difficult to see this as an all-around win. Offering financial incentives for streamers to play games does make me wonder, though, if we’ll see a decrease in game diversity. Five percent of a AAA title, like Ubisoft’s medieval MMA sim For Honor, is a lot more than five percent of an indie game like Dead by Daylight. It would be hard to blame streamers for choosing games with higher price tags.
And will streamers who specialize in free games, like Dota 2 or League of Legends, be incentivized to switch what they play? Viewers will apparently be able to buy in-game content for Smite and WarFrame; it remains to be seen whether that will eventually translate to other titles.
You’ll be able to start buying games via Twitch in spring of this year.