On May 17, Twitch announced that subscribers on the video game streaming platform can look forward to subscription pricing that is adjusted for where viewers live. This has been in demand for a while, according to Twitch. The company also reasons creators will benefit from the price reduction in the long-term as subscriptions become more affordable for viewers around the world.
Twitch was first launched in June 2011 as a branching-off of Justin.tv which was co-founded by Justin Kan and Emmet Shear. In 2014, the platform was renamed as Twitch Interactive, and later that year, e-commerce and streaming giant Amazon acquired the service for US$970 million, with its own Twitch Prime service on the platform.
Twitch has cemented its status as the most popular e-sports streaming service by a large margin. It reached 22 million installs worldwide in the first quarter of 2021, up 62% compared with the previous year. Though the US is its largest market, there was considerable growth in India; in 2020, Twitch witnessed the most growth in India’s app stores, and the platform has continued its upward trend in 2021. In India, Amazon’s service grew 146% to 2,80,000 installs in the March-ending quarter, compared with the previous year.
So far, Twitch has observed the percentage of active users in Europe or Asia who support creators with a subscription is roughly 50% lower relative to North America. In Latin America, it’s nearly 80% lower. Meanwhile according to TwitchTracker, May 2021 has already gauged 1,244 million hours watched across 1,12,174 average concurring channels. Most streamed games include League of Legends, Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Grand Theft Auto V and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.
Paid subscriptions on Twitch have numerous benefits including ad-free viewing (when enabled by the creator), custom channel emotes, sub-tenure badges, Channel Point multipliers, and sub-only chat mode.
According to an official Twitch blog post published on May 17, “We’ve heard from fans everywhere that it’s not equally affordable around the world to show support, access custom emotes, and enjoy all the other benefits that come with being a subscriber. That’s because the price of a Tier 1 subscription on the web is roughly the equivalent of US$4.99 in every country. This price makes it difficult for many viewers to support their favorite creators, and likewise, prevents creators from being able to grow their communities, make more content, and welcome new fans.”
How will it work?
Though the US price will not change, Twitch insists the lower subscription rates globally will work out well for creators in the long run. They will run, in tandem, a specific programme to help creators adjust. “Twitch will cover 100% of baseline channel and Prime sub revenue (if needed) for three calendar months, including the month of the price change,” cites the company blog post, “After that, we will slowly decrease incentive payments by 25% every three months over the following 9 months, totaling a 12-month period of providing revenue adjustment incentives.”
But a lot of this relies on the creator, too. “As long as that creator streams at least 85% of their live baseline hours in a month and meets certain other eligibility criteria, we’ll pay that creator a ‘revenue adjustment incentive’ to make up for any lost revenue from subs. When creators out-perform their average, they will receive that increased amount, not the incentive payment, but may be eligible for future months should they need it.”
The change will be effective from May 20, 2021, with Mexico (48 Pesos) and Turkey (₺9.90) which will be followed by most countries in Asia (including India), Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe starting in Q3 2021. The Hindu