In a move that could have interesting repercussions for streamers, Twitch has announced it will launch an eStore this spring, making PC games available for purchase directly from its platform for the first time.
The new store will also allow consumers to purchase games from specific video channels, be it a developer, publisher, or even a Twitch streamer. The revenue split is 70% for the publisher and developer (75% if sold directly from the company's channel), 5% to a streamer who might sell a copy of the game being streamed in their channel, and the rest going to Twitch.
Twitch Crates will also be an incentive for shopping on the new store. Anyone buying a game on Twitch will receive a free crate that can include such things as emotes, chat badges, and other items.
At launch, the site will not be set up for pre-orders, Robin Fontaine, Twitch's product marketing manager, told GameIndustry.biz. "We know this is an important element of game distribution and we will be working with our developers and publishers to create compelling pre-order programs in the future."
Twitch already has deals in place with Ubisoft, Telltale Games, Digital Extremes, Hi-Rez Studios, tinyBuild, Paradox Interactive, Trion Worlds, Vlambeer, and others. "Gamers are already coming to Twitch to discover and learn about games they want to buy. Developers are looking for ways to tap into this audience and offer content when they are most engaged," Fontaine said. "Twitch Games Commerce shortens the cycle between discovery and purchase."
One of the unintended side effects of this new arrangement with streamers is that they could eventually cut back the games they play to only games available on the Twitch store to increase their profit. Twitch did not address that issue, but it will be interesting to see if it does. Also, the new store would likely require streamers to post disclaimers, saying they are getting a revenue cut from any games sold in their channels.
Either way, Steam and the Windows Store have more competition coming. It will be interesting to see how the new store will function, as well as the transparency that will be required from "partners."