Twitch.tv and Amazon have joined forces to create Twitch Prime, a new ad-free service announced at TwitchCon 2016. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, as Twitch was acquired by Amazon for almost $1 billion in 2014. Since then, Twitch users have nudged the site toward partnering with Amazon Prime and Twitch took note.
1. Twitch Prime is Included With Amazon Prime
According to Twitch, Twitch Prime is linked to Amazon Prime — in order to receive Twitch Prime, you’ll need to sign up for Amazon Prime, and if you already have Amazon Prime, all you have to do is link your accounts at no extra cost.
Prime accounts start with a 30-day free trial, and then move to $10.99/month or $99/year. If you’re using Twitch Prime, your other Amazon Prime benefits (like free two-day shipping, free access to thousands of movies and TV shows, and streaming music) will not go anywhere, according to Twitch.
2. Twitch Prime Will Have Even More Perks Than Twitch Turbo, but Turbo is Still an Option
Twitch Turbo, the precursor to Twitch Prime, will not be dissolved and will still be available for those who don’t want to hop on the Twitch Prime boat quite yet. However, this is only an option if you’re already a Turbo subscriber. Twitch says it won’t be taking new Turbo subscriptions from countries where Prime is available.
However, all of Turbo’s benefits and more will be available with Twitch Prime. Ad-free viewing across the site, exclusive emoticons, a Twitch Prime chat badge, and 60 days of past video storage put Prime up to par with Turbo, and Prime will also include things like game discounts, free in-game content for games like Hearthstone and SMITE, and one free channel subscription (normally $4.99) each month. This allows Prime users to support streamers at no extra cost — streamers get paid as usual whether you use your free monthly subscription or pay out of pocket, according to Twitch.
Prime will only be available in countries where Amazon Prime is available (namely, the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Spain), so in countries where Prime isn’t available, Twitch says Turbo will still be available for purchase.
3. Twitch Prime Members Will Get Free Game Loot Every Month
Twitch has stated that there will be new loot available each month so that users “have surprises in store all year,” but the site also released a list of the four free items available at Prime’s launch. They are as follows:
9/30 – 11/6 — Hearthstone: The newest Hero in Hearthstone. Tyrande Whisperwind, the second priest class option for the game.
9/30 – 11/1 — Streamline, a new Indie game built from the ground up for broadcasters on Twitch to play with their viewers
9/30 – 10/2 (TwitchCon Only) — Smite: Exclusive “Boss Ymir” skin
9/30 – 10/2 (TwitchCon Only) — Paladins: Exclusive Bomb King Weapon Skin
4. Twitch is Running a Charity Event to Celebrate Twitch Prime
The GameChanger Charity Event, which will run from September 30 – October 5, is a Twitch-wide subscription drive supporting GameChanger Charity, which raises money for children with cancer and their families while providing gaming as a healthy outlet for those children.
Twitch is going to donate $100,000 to GameChanger for every 100,000 new subscribers to Twitch Prime, up to $1 million. In addition, Twitch describes the charity event as a subscription drive, so when you sign up and use you free monthly subscription on whatever channel you’d like, you’ll be helping Twitch donate to GameChanger.
5. Twitch is Allowing Video Uploads in Addition to Streaming
Twitch has always been a live-streaming site, meaning if users wanted an audience they couldn’t upload pre-prepared videos.
Twitch uploads will likely provide serious competition for YouTube, since streamers will no longer have to be at their desks to attract an audience.
According to Forbes, YouTube has made some controversial decisions lately, and some competition may be good. The site has recently censored some videos, reports Forbes, and introduced the YouTube Heroes program, which allows “Heroes” to mass-flag posts and encourages users to report “inappropriate” videos.
The YouTube Heroes video, posted by YouTube Help, has over 850,000 dislikes and only 26,000 likes.
Twitch’s upload service may provide a viable alternative to YouTube. However, there are some limitations, Forbes reports, such as a 10GB file size limit, video quality restrictions (only 1080p and 60fps), and video and audio codec restrictions (only MP4 video with AAC audio). This is only the beginning for Twitch uploads, though, and users will be able to save the videos for indefinite amounts of time, notify their followers when video is uploaded, and view stats for each video.
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