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There's one way to easily bolster the sales of a product: sell to a highly engaged audience. Well, Twitch is doing just that by offering gamers -- viewers, more specifically -- the opportunity to buy games directly from a Twitch stream.
According to Polygon, they're reporting that Twitch has partnered with other game development studios that will allow them to directly sell games through the live-streams to viewers. It's possible this is based on an initiative kicked into high-gear by Amazon, since they're the new owners of Twitch after purchasing the service back in 2014 for $970 million.
There will be a new button available under select games that will allow gamers to purchase the game directly, it will apparently appear under the streamer's main video. In fact, it will be right under the title of the live-stream with a giant "Buy Now" in white text against Twitch's trademark purple background. Next to the "Buy Now" button will be the price of the game, giving potential buyers a heads-up on what it will cost to grab the title.
When a purchase is made through the Twitch stream, the streamer will receive 5% as a commission for each purchase, so they'll be making money from subscriptions in addition to money off the back of game sales. Despite Amazon being the parent company over Twitch, the 5% commission rate is technically lower than the average commission rate for the Amazon Associates program, which is usually around 6.5%.
However, it's not all to the benefit of the streamer... gamers will also receive some benefits for buying through Twitch as well. They revealed that there will be Twitch crates with each user purchase, and inside the crates, users will find Twitch-related things like emotes, chat badges and other trinkets to use while watching a stream.
According to the article, there will be a 70/25 split between the publisher and Twitch. The other 5% will go toward the streamer. So far companies like Ubisoft, Telltale Games, Digital Extremes, tinyBuild, Paradox Interactive, Trion Worlds, Vlambeer and Hi-Rez Studios will be partnered with Steam.
Unfortunately, we don't know exactly which games will be available from each of the partnered studios. The buy options will roll out during this spring, so we won't have to wait long to find out which games can be purchased through Twitch. With Telltale on board it's likely that most of their games -- potentially including The Walking Dead and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy -- could be purchased through the service, along with games like The Division, Assassin's Creed or Stellaris. However, with Digital Extremes and Hi-Rez there, I'm a little curious how the purchases will work for free-to-play games? Warframe is extremely popular on Twitch, but I don't really see how purchases could be made given that there are only microtransactions available. The same applies for games like SMITE or Paladins.
Polygon points out that two of the most popular games on Twitch -- Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive -- are not available for purchase through the streaming service. Why? Because Twitch was unable to partner with Valve for the deal. This could change at some point in the future depending on how things turn out.
The ability to purchase games directly through streams will begin rolling out this spring for select games.