Amazon has unveiled yet another add-on for its paying Prime subscribers, and it represents the company’s largest partnership to date with Twitch, the game streaming service Amazon acquired for nearly $1 billion in 2014.
The new add-on, Twitch Prime, will hand out monthly gaming-related goodies to any Amazon Prime subscriber who links their store account to a Twitch user ID. Doing so will give Twitch users some Twitch-specific bonuses. The first is a series of free game downloads, which change every month and can range from full game unlocks to DLC add-ons for games you already own (much like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold). The first month of Twitch Prime includes a full download of the Twitch-compatible multiplayer game Streamline and additional bonuses for free to play games Hearthstone and To beat.
Twitch Prime appears to be enabled for Prime subscribers in the US, UK, Spain, Germany, France, Canada, and Italy.
This Prime bump also includes every facet of Twitch’s pre-existing subscription service, Twitch Turbo. That means Twitch Prime users can enjoy ad-free Twitch streaming, more archive storage for their own game broadcasts, and chat-specific benefits.
Twitch Prime can also pump money into game streamers’ pockets as each subscriber gets one free monthly streamer subscription. For some time now, fans have been able to pay a certain streamer $5 a month to support them financially. Now Amazon pays those subscription fees for you, but only for one broadcaster, and you have to manually choose a recipient of your subscription fees every 30 days. Still, that’s quite the giveaway from Amazon. We could see certain Twitch channels beating the Prime drum in the near future as Twitch Prime will no doubt roll out to a lot from people who have never subscribed to a Twitch feed before. (It’s the digital equivalent of holding a cardboard sign: “Do you have a Prime subscription left? One click is enough.”)
Whether Twitch Plus is convincing more average Amazon shoppers to watch live feeds from Hearthstone is a mystery. But putting those benefits — especially ad-free viewing — in the hands of more game watchers could convince more gamers to stick with the platform (rather than switch to YouTube Gaming, whose archiving and rewind functions are still smoother than what Twitch offers).
Twitch announced the news at its annual TwitchCon event, where it also unveiled Stream+, a new in-game currency that allows players to place bets on matches from specially-enabled games such as the upcoming Break away. While details about the Stream+ betting system are limited, Ars has learned that the points cannot be transferred from game to game, but they unlock in-game items. Combining those kinds of items, which contain inherent value (as the operators of CSGOLotto will attest), and a fully integrated gambling system could really give Amazon a gambling regulation headache when the points launch side by side Break away sometime in the future. No release date has been set.
This article has been edited to clarify the terms and conditions for Twitch Prime streamer subscriptions.
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