According to a bit of a rumor that broke earlier today, gamers and Twitch viewers were concerned over a new feature that Twitch is apparently testing. According to some sources, the streaming company has been doing small-scale tests of a feature that would allow streamers and content creators to lock their entire live content offerings behind the subscriber paywall.
And yes, as one would expect, this kind of idea went over very poorly with everyone who saw it. Some streamers even chimed in with anecdotal statements that they had been approached to test said paywall practices on their own channels. Although the generally negative response that the rumor sparked on social media seems to indicate that this would be very poorly received as a widespread option.
Trouble is, this feature has been tossed around as an idea for quite a while. And according to statements from some sources, this has been in the works for some time, possibly going back years. And the idea isn’t that any random Partner can lock their stream down, it’s that these kind of paid streams would be a special offering to be used sparingly by those with large audiences. I could see some of the largest streamers getting away with a sub-only stream once a month or so.
It’s also vital to understand that no official statements have been made on the future uses for this tool, or how it would be rolled out, so take any comments not from Twitch themselves with a big grain of salt.
Such a feature could be useful though in very specific circumstances. If a Twitch streamer wants to monetize a stream as a special event, or to stream at off-hours as a community building exercise, this tool would allow them to do that and get paid for it. For example, if a streamer wanted to offer a “behind-the-scenes” stream as a special event. It would also allow AAA game publishers to offer special preview events, and though that sounds really scummy, it is definitely something the games industry would to do if they could get away with it. Although one way in which this feature could be really useful is to offer special perspective streams during big events like the Overwatch League, offering subscribers a peek at the game from a new angle or something.
So all in all, maybe the culture of rushing to print clickbait isn’t the most reliable source for news. Might want to fact check a little bit more before causing a firestorm next time.