Twitch to Roll Out New ‘Boost’ Feature, Allowing Streams to Pay for Exposure
It seems like pay-to-win is finally coming to Twitch. In yesterday’s Patch Notes stream, Twitch announced that they’d be testing a new feature called Boost based on a Community Challenge feature they tested last year called ‘Boost this Stream.’ The new Boost feature will achieve a similar effect, but the means of enabling and activating the feature seem sinister, and many are cynical of what Twitch’s intentions are with the introduction of Boost.
Twitch Boost: Valuable Tool for Small Streamers, or Pay-to-Win for Top Influencers?
According to what Twitch product manager Jacob Rosok said on the Twitch Patch Notes stream, Boost will serve as a community tool that viewers can use to help their favorite creators gain exposure on Twitch and help grow the community through front-page exposure or by recommending the stream to other Twitch users. Much of the language surrounding the Boost feature when discussed on Twitch’s stream orients itself around a streamer’s community and the viewer’s impact.
As Twitch rolls out the feature with creators that they’ve selected from their research community, viewers of those streamers will be able to purchase Boosts directly to boost their favorite creators. Twitch wants to make the Boost feature readily available and modular in price for users. Our own Jake Lucky posted a screenshot of what pricing looks like so far for the Boost feature, and if we can trust the preview that was shown during Twitch’s stream, it looks like the price of a successful boost (at 100,000 Recommendations) is around $990, a number that should be feasible for larger streamers and other entities looking to gain exposure. Rosok notes that increased purchases leads to increased exposure on Twitch’s front page.
The Boosting feature also reinforces the relationship between viewer and creator, as users that contribute to Boosts have their contribution displayed in chat. This notification works similarly to other notifications that most creators on Twitch enable, such as subscriptions, donations, gifted subs, bits, and other means of supporting creators, except for the fact that Boosts go directly into Twitch’s pocket. The timeframe for Twitch Boosts are rather short as well, as Rosok notes that streamers will have a ten minute time period where their community can contribute to a Boost and attempt to successfully fund it. The time frame creates an artificial sense of urgency that creators may feel compelled to play into, which further gamifies the feature to make it feel like an achievement that’s only available for a limited time.
Rosok also refers to the Community Challenge version of Boosts that uses a creator’s channel point as still being a viable feature, but acknowledges that this feature will be subject to change and that he and his team are unsure of how this feature will look like in the future.
Responses from the Community
The new boost feature seems to have left a bad taste in the mouths of many creators on Twitter. Streamers like CohhCarnage, day9, ms5000Watts and ex-CSGO pro fl0m all voiced their opinion on how the Boost feature seems rather incongruent with Twitch’s status as a streaming site with community focus. They make good points on how this feature doesn’t achieve what Twitch says it’s meant to do.
Overall, it seems as though many creators in the Twitch community find the feature to be misaligned with users’ expectations and a poor answer to the issues of discoverability on the website.