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Twitch is testing subscriber-only streams

It looks like the streaming platform Twitch is testing out a new feature that might change the dynamics of how users interact with its content and streamers quite a bit – subscriber-only streams. Though there’s been no official announcement yet, some observant viewers have noticed what looks like an example of it in the site’s UI.

Twitter channel @StreamerNews has tweeted an image showing what seems to be a screenshot of the new subscriber-only feature on the Hgg_cheering_test Twitch channel, which we’ve included below. The screenshot suggests that non-subscribers will be able to view a brief free preview of a stream before they will need to subscribe to carry on watching.

There is an accompanying message outlining the benefits of subscribing, including “ad-free viewing (with limited exceptions)”, and that you can “watch and chat during subscriber-only streams”. The tweet includes links to previews of the feature, and says that they expect an official announcement from Twitch soon.

It’s not clear if or how this will be rolled out, and whether it’ll affect all channels, or just some. @StreamerNews has even since suggested, following on from their original post, that it might not be “something coming for regular partners. Probably select esports streams only”. Similarly, Twitter user Ashe suggested that it was an “old product making a resurgence” that had “only been used for a very specific handful of esports events in the past”.

What does seem a bit clearer is that it might not be well-received by the community. Underneath the tweet the channel has created a poll asking people to vote on whether they think this will be a “good feature”, “bad idea”, or “just want to see results”. At the time of writing, over 10,000 people have voted and 68% of them think it is a “bad idea”.

There are also questions from some Reddit users about whether it might encourage an increase in ‘cam-boy/cam-girl‘ activity. This is where streamers present themselves in a more sexualised way to encourage subscribers and increase revenue from their streams.

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