Yesterday, Twitch announced it will be testing a new feature which will allow streamers and fans alike to donate and get the stream recommended to more viewers. Some say that this will give smaller streamers the chance they need; others see it as an easy way for Twitch to make even more money off of those same small streams.
Twitch’s new feature, referred to as “Boosting,” will let viewers accrue “Channel Points” to promote their favorite streamers on “highly visible parts of Twitch,” as the platform describes on its’ official website. The move is supposedly intended to help spread the word about creative streamers who might not be getting the recognition they deserve. Only certain streamers currently have access to the service at the time of writing, but according to journalist Zach Bussey, the service is preparing to release to all streamers.
— Zach Bussey (@zachbussey) September 30, 2021
It’s also important to note that this feature isn’t a 100% guarantee for new viewers. All boosting does is promote your stream in highly visible areas, but it’s up to the viewers to decide whether what you’re doing is interesting enough to pop in, but it’s still a huge advantage on a platform with over eight million streamers just in the last month, as reported by Statista. With this many names in the hat, it’s not hard to imagine how lucrative a chance like this might sound to streamers having trouble getting noticed.
On the other hand, this is an easily exploitable system that will likely only widen the gap between small pages and the platform’s streaming celebrities, as Kotaku reports. Boosting streams takes money, which newer streamers probably don’t have a lot of. These small-time streamers can’t rely on viewers to help pay, either, since the entire point of boosting is to get more, meaning they don’t have the larger audience to rely upon. This means that to really get boosting to work streamers need to already have both money and audience, which in turn means they never really needed the boost in the first place. Twitch’s new feature, from this angle, will only let the popular gain even more popularity while the rest of Twitch continues to fight for recognition.