Twitch has begun testing a new paid boost feature on the streaming platform.
Boost has been available as a test since last December and allows viewers to pool free channel points to boost a streamer to a front page slot for extra promotion.
Now, instead of channel points, viewers will be able to pay money to achieve the same. However, streamers will not receive any share of that money.
Twitch product manager Jacob Rosok explained the new feature during the latest Patch Notes video on 30th September.
He explained the intention is to make boost more available and impactful.
"With boost, 100 percent of the money spent will go to giving the creator as much exposure as possible so that they can grow effectively," he said.
For ten minutes during a stream, which will pop up at random, viewers will be able to participate in the boost by purchasing recommendations. In the Patch Notes demonstration, 1000 recommendations was 0.99 cents and 3000 recommendations was $2.97.
"We think that paying to help a creator grow their community will be worthwhile to their supporters," said Rosok.
The feature is just an experiment and will only be available to streamers with under 250 viewers. The aim, then, is to offer a method of promotion for smaller streamers.
At present, streamers are reliant on the Twitch algorithm to provide discoverability, which naturally favours those with the biggest audience. The new paid boost feature will allow streamers to buy their way to the top instead, though this will depend on the generosity of their viewers and will inevitably still favour those with large audiences.
The feature will be tested for the next four weeks, with participating streamers notified of how much of an impact the money spent will have. It's unclear if paid boost will be a permanent feature.
So far the streaming community are unimpressed with the new feature and unhappy about its "pay to win" nature.
Twitch is going to allow people to pay to Boost their stream. Wow. pic.twitter.com/4OurSEkJJW— Lowco (@LowcoTV) September 30, 2021
Paid channel boosting is a thoughtless, cold corporate idea that banks on whoever has the biggest wallets in a community to boost a streamer?s visibility over others. It?s mobile gaming levels of scummy. This further dilutes Twitch?s original culture. @twitch.— BikeMan But Like, In A Costume (@BikeMan) September 30, 2021
Absolutely terrible. Please do not do this feature @Twitch. It's hard for me to think of positives here. Smaller streamers are struggling to be discovered which makes it challenging to grow and make enough money. Boosts feel like a new penalty for already struggling streamers https://t.co/sFkV3lYRwW— Sean Plott (@day9tv) September 30, 2021