Well, this is a surprise. Twitch, the streaming service acquired by Amazon in 2014, has today made a significant announcement. The streaming service, beginning from sometime this Spring, will start selling video games.
This, of course, affects Microsoft’s plans for Beam, whom Microsoft acquired last year in a bid to compete with Amazon’s Twitch and Google’s YouTube Gaming.
While the consoles maintain a tight grip on where gamers get their games from, the PC market has remained fragmented since its inception. On PC, various stores are selling the same games: GOG, Steam, UPlay, Origin, Windows Store, etc.
Many games remain exclusive to individual stores as well – like EA’s Battlefield 1 is only available via Origin – but most do end up in every store. Valve’s Steam is the leading PC store and gaming platform and competes directly with the Xbox service on Windows 10.
Twitch’s entrance into the game-selling business is surprising, but also inevitable. Twitch has managed to build an extremely loyal community around its brand. Amazon, luckily, managed to purchase Twitch. A community such as Twitch, however, is priceless in the long-term. The lack of a loyal community is why Microsoft’s Beam and Google’s YouTube Gaming are struggling to grab hold of the streaming market.
Indeed, this loyal community is the one who will purchase games via Twitch.
This move opens up a realm of possibilities for Twitch, but more importantly, a new revenue stream. For every sale made via Twitch, Twitch will keep 30% of the revenue. 5% of this will go to the partnered streamer responsible for the sale as well.
People who buy games via Twitch will also get some exclusive Twitch goodies packed in a “Twitch Crate.” These include a random selection of emotes, badges, and Twitch’s Bits currency. This will be greatly appreciated by the community Twitch has built up over the years.
Ubisoft, Telltale Games, Paradox Interactive, Vlambeer, tinyBuild are some of the studios and publishers that have already signed up with Twitch and will sell games via the streaming service.
This list, for now, doesn’t contain very many of the AAA-publishers. Ubisoft is quite literally the only one. Having Square Enix, Activision, 2K, Bandai Namco, etc. would significantly increase the number of games Twitch can offer.
Publishers like EA, however, will most likely not participate in Twitch’s endeavors, mostly because of the 30% cut.
The list is also missing the two companies who develop the most popular games on Twitch’s streaming service – League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Though, since Twitch is directly competing with Valve; this move puts Valve in a tricky place.
Twitch hasn’t yet announced an exact date for when games from participating developers and publishers would go on sale on its platform. For now, the timeline remains ‘sometime this Spring.’
Windows Store + Beam
Amazon and Microsoft both already have stores where games are sold. If Twitch can manage this, so can Beam. Integration with the Xbox and Windows Store wouldn’t be too hard to build, but the legalities of it will have to be negotiated with game publishers and developers.
Still, if Twitch can manage this under Amazon; Beam can manage it under Microsoft. Google, however, has no business selling PC games; therefore YouTube Gaming is the one who suffers the most with this announcement.
Hopefully, Microsoft will keep Beam ahead of the competition, and counter this move by Twitch with some magic of its own.
Source: Twitch Blog