Monday, February 27, 2017

Twitch Streamers to Sell Games

Twitch is taking the next big step in the game market by turning itself into a retailer. Since the purchase of Twitch by Amazon, it was just a matter of time until the streaming service began to peddle gaming wares. Starting this spring, Twitch will begin selling games and in-game content through streamers, allowing viewers to buy from predominant retailers as well as independents. Partners will get 5% of sales, and 70% to the content creator.

People who buy through Twitch can also, potentially, get exclusive in-game items (because we need more exclusion in gaming) as well as Twitch-related items. A "Twitch Crate" if you will, that includes badges, emoticons, and Bits. Games will be available in English first before localization.

A number of publishers have already signed up, but you may see a few of the bigger names absent for a while. Notably EA Games, which has their own service, Origin, that is a direct rival to this type of program, Square Enix, and Activision/Blizzard. But Ubisoft and Telltale Games are on board, so that's a start. The current most popular games to stream, such as Counterstrike, DOTA 2, and League of Legends are absent as well. Hopefully deals can be worked out to make these games more easily accessible to the Twitch audience.

It could upset the balance with other platforms like Steam, that offer a direct conduit to gamers. Twitch is a bit of a different market. While wildly popular, you have to go through streamers to get your products sold. This could prompt developers to pander more to streamers to ensure their products have greater visibility on Twitch. It's not exactly the healthiest mindset for marketing. Twitch will have to be very careful about this if they don't want to hit legalities. Their rules need to make it clear that streamers playing games for money, paid by developers, need to be open and honest about it. They can't talk about how much they love a game and get paid under the table, less they want to run into another Shadow of Mordor incident.

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