Amazon Shows Their Big Plans for Twitch

Back in 2014 Amazon spent almost $1 billion to swoop in out of nowhere and buy Twitch (at a time when everyone thought Google/YouTube was about to close the deal). We knew this could lead to some really good things, it just depended on what Amazon decided to do to make the platform better.

They've been slowing building up something called Twitch Prime. It is part of Amazon Prime and gives some interesting perks. Special free in-game items for featured games every month. Some free games. Commercial-Free viewing on Twitch. The ability to subscribe to one channel a month on Twitch to help support your favorite streamers. But Amazon and Twitch just made a big announcement that just might impact the way a lot of people buy games.

Coming later this year, you are going to be able to buy the game you are watching directly from Twitch (which will be handled by Amazon's distribution chain). This may not seem like a bit deal at first glance, but the goal of any business is to eliminate as much friction as possible between the consumer and the purchase. Right now, if you're watching Twitch and decide you like a game and want to buy the game to play it for yourself, you have a number of steps ahead of you:

  1. Leave Twitch (something Twitch doesn't want you to do)
  2. Open up/log in to your game sale platform of choice (Steam, GoG, Humble, XBox Marketplace, PSN, etc)
  3. Search for the game you were watching.
  4. Complete multi-step purchase process. (Which sometimes involves signing into yet ANOTHER service like Paypal.)

So what if you could just click a button in Twitch, type in a password to confirm, and boom you own the game? That could definitely impact how some people buy games. 

But what if Twitch sweetens the pot a little too? If the person you're watching is a Partner with Twitch, they will get 5% of the purchase price. It may not seem like a lot ($3 for a $60 game / $1 for a $20 game), but it will definitely add up. People have proven that they love being able to help support their favorite streamers, so they might jump on this opportunity to support them through purchasing games as well. Though it does make me wonder if that will impact how some streamers approach their channels. Will they only play full-price games to maximize their income from sales?

They also announced a perk program called Twitch Crates. If you buy a game that's more than $4.99, you will receive a Twitch Crate with the purchase. So what the hell is a Twitch Crate? According to Twitch, "a digital loot box with a special reward like a game-specific emote, a chat badge, or some Bits. The contents of each Crate are randomly generated so you never know what surprise will be inside." So it sounds like Twitch-specific rewards that may or may not be related to the game you purchase.

Games will be downloadable and playable through a "Twitch Launcher" which doesn't seem to have been released yet... but it will be interesting to see what it has to offer. Amazon is in the process of branding all of their gaming stuff with the Twitch name, so if it's anything close to the Amazon Cloud Player for their music purchases it should be a great piece of software. I guess we will have to wait and see.

The only gripe I have with this thusfar is this statement:

Q. If I’m a non partnered streamer, can viewers buy games from my channel page?

A. 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.

Twitch is going to put the sale buttons on every page on their server (which makes sense), but the streamer only gets a cut if they're a partner. And the only way to become a partner is to have hundreds of people watching you concurrently multiple times a week. So if you're a small channel with an audience of 20-30 people every stream, you will not see a penny if one of your fans buys a game through Twitch. Which screws people with smaller audiences, who would probably benefit the most from the income.

What do you think? Would you be inclined to purchase a game through Twitch if it's easier? Or are you too locked in Steam or another digital distribution company?

**Chop's LCS Games of the Week**

After a break for IEM Katowice, the LCS comes roaring back this weekend with two HUGE rivalry games:

Saturday March 4th, 2017 @ 6pm - Team SoloMid vs Counter Logic Gaming - El Classico! Still the biggest rivalry in eSports. TSM sits on the top of the mountain going into the weekend. CLG is clawing their way back to the top after a rocky start. Expect fireworks.

Sunday March 5th, 2017 @ 6pm - Cloud9 vs FlyQuest - El Noobico! If the last time these two teams met is any indication, this should be an incredibly close series and sport some really, really good games. I'm super looking forward to this one too. More fireworks.

You can tune in on Twitch (They have 2 channels: NALCS1 & NALCS2) or Riot's eSports YouTube Channel.