Watch out, Steam! Your days as the number one marketplace for PC games could be numbered now that Twitch has announced that it is going to explore a new market by selling video games. Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, has been dominating video game streaming for quite a while and is now due to start selling games as well as in-game content. The service is expected to be released this spring.
Big publishers as well as indie studious have already signed up to be represented by Twitch. Amongst them are big and well-known names such as Ubisoft, Telltale Games and Paradox Interactive as well as smaller companies such as Vlambeer and tinyBuild. Chris Early, VP of Digital Publishing at Ubisoft, explained his company’s decision to partner with Twitch as follows: ”For years we have appreciated how supportive Twitch streamers and viewers have been of our games. This made it an easy decision to work with Twitch to better serve our passionate community with benefits for everyone.“ Especially small publishers are expected to benefit from Twitch’s new ”buy” option which will pay 70% of revenues to the game’s creator. Partnered streamers will get 5% of sales while viewers who buy games on Twitch will get to enjoy some Twitch-specific items.
The only downside is that other big publishers like Activision, Square Enix, Bandai Namco and EA haven’t signed deals with Twitch yet. The latter is not expected to do so any time soon since EA is focusing on its own PC game distribution platform, called Origin.
With Twitch becoming a bigger retail force the dynamics between publisher and streamer are about to change significantly. New deals to play and therefore advertise specific games will become bigger and better, making Twitch an even more valuable business opportunity for broadcasters. Developers, on the other hand, can take even more advantage of Twitch’s social community by advertising their games and engaging passionate fans. Business experts expect Twitch to immediately achieve success in this new market since it has a massive user base that already trusts the platform. It will literally be child’s play to convince users to hit the bright, purple ”Buy Now“ button.
The games Twitch will offer are supposed to be released in English this spring. Prices will be listed in US dollars until localized versions in other languages will launch later this year.