What is it, and how will it affect the livestreaming service?
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
Twitch has recently announced that they will be starting a new associate program, as a means of providing popular streamers with greater sources of revenue, as well as attracting new streamers to their service.
Twitch is a popular livestreaming service used mostly for videogames. A user has the ability to set up their own account to either broadcast themselves, watch other people broadcast, or both. Each livestream is also equipped with a live chat where viewers can interact with one another as well as the person they’re watching. Twitch streams have become a go-to for various independents and corporations to promote their games, preview gameplay, and connect with their target demographic, but at its heart, Twitch is user based. This means that the majority of the content is curated and created individually by the people who have set up channels, kind of like YouTube. However, Twitch is a little more highly monitored for inappropriate content.
Recently, Twitch announced the creation of the Amazon Associates. Essentially, this is a way of using the streamers themselves as a marketing tool. A user will broadcast themselves playing a game, and if they’re an Amazon Associate, a link will be provided for their viewers to purchase the game through Amazon, with five per cent of proceeds going to the streamer. Amazon hopes that doing this will help them compete with the videogame digital distribution giant, Steam—though, personally, I have my doubts that Amazon will ever come close.
Feelings towards this announcement have been mixed. On one hand, this acts as a way of providing greater revenue to online creators and personalities. On the other, a program like this does run the risk of making the community seem less genuine. It becomes very easy to imagine a streamer playing a game that they don’t like, but simply pretending they do for the profit that would come from getting their audience to buy it. Currently, beyond corporate sponsorships or other outside influences, there’s no real motivation for users to do this within the Twitch community.
Another concern that has arisen is how this will affect the other categories of streams available on the website. This includes “mukbangs,” where a user will broadcast themselves eating and chatting, or project-related broadcasts, such as streams of people drawing or working on something such as cosplay or computer programming.
In the end, whether this program succeeds or fails will be up to the people creating the content. It is very much in league with what Twitch has already established itself as—a platform for users to share experiences.