Twitch has been letting fans pay extra to support their favourite streamers through subscriptions for some time, but now streamers are getting the option to make content exclusively for those paying viewers. A beta for subscriber-only streams quietly made the rounds last month, but now it’s official and available.
Subscriber Streams will work just like any other broadcast, but will be exclusive to subscribers (Twitch Prime subs work just as well as normal ones.) If you land on a channel that’s running an exclusive stream, you’ll get a quick preview of what’s happening, and a prompt to subscribe to view the broadcast.
Twitch is quick to note in the official announcement that these streams aren’t actually private, as the previews will show a bit of the content and viewers are free to view clips from the stream without any subscription requirement. This presumably heads off any worries that a ‘private stream’ might be used in a, uh, non-gaming context.
So what are the actual use cases here? Twitch offers a few examples: “we could definitely see competitive streamers taking requests on heroes or champions to play, tabletop streamers running a weekly campaign for Subs, music streamers making all-request set lists, and a whole lot more.”
If a streamer gets banned or suspended, they’ll have to have broadcasted for 90 unique days since the last infraction before running a subscriber-only stream. So don’t expect DrDisrespect to take you on any paid bathroom tours for the next few months.
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This is still technically a beta, so some of the details are subject to change. Either way, it’s a new option for streamers, though one that carries some concerns. Streamers will have to split their viewerbase to some extent if they use Subscriber Streams, and since they split subscription money with Twitch, both sides are incentivised to make sure viewers are checking out the exclusive streams. Exactly how that works out in the long run remains to be seen.