A trialled update to the Twitch boost feature allows fans to pay real money to promote their favourite streamers. But, reactions haven’t been overly positive.
Twitch boost debuted in December as a way for fans to help promote their favourite channels on the streaming platform. Originally, viewers used free channel points, accrued by watching streams, to boost channels to the front page of the site. Now, Twitch product manager Jacob Rosok has explained a new approach to the feature.
Rosok detailed the thinking behind the feature, saying it is designed “to [give] the creator as much exposure as possible so that they can grow effectively.” A full explanation was given during the latest Patch Notes episode on the 30th September.
“What we’re doing with Boosts is giving viewers the ability to buy super high visibility promotions for their favorite creators, and these types of placements come with a cost.”
Fans can pay $0.99 for 1000 “recommendations”, or $2.97 for 3000. These recommendations will push the channel the fans have forked out for to Twitch’s “live channels we think you’ll like” homepage section for new viewers. Except, none of this money will actually go to the promoted streamer. It’s because of this that Twitch users are already beginning to criticise the new feature.
Although Twitch boost will only be available during streams with less than 250 viewers, it is felt that the feature will only benefit those with larger, long-standing audiences. The whole framework depends on the generosity and wealth of a stream’s viewers, plus its felt it creates a difficult decision. Fans can already financially support channels via donations or subscriptions. Now, smaller channels will be forced to ask viewers to choose between that or boosts.
Users largely appear to find this “pay to win” approach distasteful and even contradictory of Twitch’s Terms of Service in regards to buying your way to more views. Many believe the feature is a blatant cash grab by the platform. Users feel they are being asked to pay for something that Twitch should already be doing, finding the move insincere and lacking in consideration for the culture of the platform.
Boosts will be tested over the next four weeks, and participating streamers will be notified of how much of an impact the money has had. Although, at this stage, it’s unclear whether the feature will become permanent.