In March, video game streaming site Twitch introduced a new way for its streamers to make money: by selling games directly to their fans. Initially, however, that feature was only available to Twitch’s Partners – that is, the site’s top-tier streamers with large audiences. Today, Twitch is adding game sales to its newly launched Twitch Affiliate program, as well.
The affiliate program was introduced last month as a means of giving streamers who weren’t large enough to gain “Partner” status a way to make money from their efforts. At launch, Twitch Affiliates could generate revenue through Twitch’s virtual “tipping” option, Cheering with Bits. But the company promised that more tools would become available to Affiliates in time.
Selling video games to fans will essentially work the same for Twitch Affiliates as it does for Twitch Partners. The idea is that streamers can showcase the titles they’re playing, giving fans the opportunity to purchase the games in question right from the site. That turns streamers into a crowdsourced advertising team of sorts for game publishers, while shifting Amazon-owned Twitch into more of an online retailer and game distributor, as well.
Affiliates, like Partners, will display the titles and other in-game content for sale, on their Channel pages on the site. They’ll also earn 5 percent on game purchases. (Another 70 percent goes to game publishers, and Twitch keeps the rest.)
Games are also available from the game’s detail page at any time. The games are downloaded via Twitch’s desktop app.
At launch, Twitch was offering around 50 titles available for sale from game publishers large and small.
This included titles like Ubisoft’s For Honor and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands; Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead and Minecraft: Story Mode; Hi-Rez Studios’ SMITE and Paladins; Paradox Interactive’s Tyranny; Trion Worlds’ Atlas Reactor; Double Fine Productions’ Broken Age and Psychonauts; Campo Santo’s Firewatch; Jackbox Games’ Jackbox Party Pack 3; and Digital Extremes’ Warframe, and others.
Today, Twitch tells us it has nearly doubled its lineup to include close to a hundred titles. Some of the newer additions include a Twitch exclusive Warframe Prominence bundle and Bob Ross skins for SMITE.
The company is also kicking off the expansion of game sales by giving out double the Twitch Crates for the week ahead. Crates are an incentive Twitch uses to encourage game sales on its site, by offering other content along with the game itself, like its emotes, chat badges, and Bits.
Twitch declined to say how popular game sales have been on its site since their debut, given how early the company is into this new area of its business.
The move into game sales gives streamers another way to make money – something that’s needed to grow a strong creator community. However, the changes could also have an impact on the type of content featured on Twitch – subtly shifting streamers to favor those games from publishers working with Twitch over the ones they would have otherwise chosen.
Twitch Affiliates will be a much larger group than Partners, which greatly expands Twitch’s ability to sell games. While there are only 17,000 Partners out of a total of 2.2 million unique streamers per month, Twitch invited “tens of thousands” of non-Partnered channels to its Affiliate program.
Twitch Affiliates will have the ability to sell games on the site, starting today.
Below is Twitch’s original announcement about game sales: