Amazon.com Inc. today announced that Twitch users will soon be able to buy games directly through the popular livestreaming service, and the best part is that streamers can get a cut of the profits.
A new program called Get it on Twitch will give users a purchase link for the game they are currently watching, and streamers who opt in the program will earn a 5 percent share of the profits from game sales on their channel.
All purchases must be made using an Amazon account using U.S. dollars only, but Twitch said that it will add support for other currencies in the future. It is not clear if the program will accept payments from Amazon gift cards, but it seems a likely bet.
According to Twitch, which Amazon bought in 2014, the service will launch with a library of games from some of the biggest game makers in the world, including Ubisoft and Telltale Games.
A few names are notably absent from Twitch’s list, however, including Blizzard Entertainment, the studio behind several of the most-watched games on Twitch, including “Overwatch” and “Hearthstone.” The list is also missing the developers of other top-streamed games, such as “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” developer Valve Software. Both Blizzard and Valve have their own digital sales platforms where they keep their full cut of the profits, which might explain why they would not want to sell through Twitch. It seems unlikely that either developer would be eager to join the Get it on Twitch program anytime soon.
Twitch did not say which specific games will be initially available from the new program, but it will be revealing more details in the coming weeks. The new Get it on Twitch program is expected to launch sometime this spring.
Twitch has become a force to be reckoned with in the gaming industry in the last few years, with concurrent viewership that numbers in the millions, all of whom are avid game consumers. In a blog post announcing the Get it on Twitch program, Twitch noted that users already use Twitch as a way to “demo” games.
A number of game developers, particularly independent developers, have also learned that there are few better ways to get their games noticed than by streaming on Twitch.
“Regardless of whether you like watching game livestreams, Twitch is by far the largest influencer of which indie games the general populace is playing — even more so than YouTube,” game developer Mike Rose said last year during a postmortem for his indie game “Punch Club.” Rose’s game earned over $1 million within the first few weeks of its release, primarily thanks to a successful Twitch campaign.