Skip to main content

Twitch's Partner Plus programme is "anti-community", say streamers

"It feels quite unattainable for the majority."

Twitch recently unveiled its new Partner Plus programme that offers an improved revenue split, but streamers have now described to Eurogamer it as "anti-community".

The programme was announced last month for launch in October, and is set to offer a 70/30 revenue split - higher than the usual 50/50 between streamers and Twitch. However, the criteria for this higher revenue split is very specific, meaning few streamers will likely reach the necessary requirements.

Speaking to Eurogamer at TwitchCon Paris, many Twitch Partners criticised the programme and stated its threshold was unattainable.

Newscast: Is Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition now a done deal?Watch on YouTube

Partners who wish to qualify for the Partner Plus programme will need to maintain a subscription count of at least 350 recurring paid subscriptions for three consecutive months. One-off gift subscriptions and subscriptions through Prime do not count.

For many streamers, this criteria is impossible. Analytics platform Streams Charts revealed only 2.5 percent of Partners would actually qualify for the programme - just over a thousand streamers total.

"It felt like it was an optical illusion, where the goal posts were getting closer but in actual fact the view had shifted," said Twitch Ambassador Ebonix. "In reality there are very few people who can get 350 paid subs on this platform, particularly those from marginalised demographics."

Twitch Partner Joesephyr felt similarly. "I think it's double edged," he said. "It looks like it's a step in the right direction but only for certain people. If you're not within the bracket of 350 subs - and there are so many stipulations within it - it seems like it's a gesture of good faith until it's not. It feels quite unattainable for the majority."

A major sticking point for streamers is the exclusion of gift subscriptions. On Twitch, viewers can gift a subscription to a fellow viewer, which is a major way for communities to support each other and a streamer.

"I could potentially say don't support me through gifted anymore, I need you all to sub yourselves, because your gifting doesn't help me," said Twitch Partner Warwick. "That's very anti-community. It's like saying their support isn't enough."

Charity streamer and Twitch Partner Lomadiah also stated the criteria was unattainable due to the exclusion of gift subs.

"It's not an attainable number, especially without gift subs being involved," she said. "That cuts out so many different communities. My community is majority gift subs.

"I do get it's to do with fraudulency, but I would like to see Twitch investigate that their end instead of affecting their community. I do get Twitch's perspective of not wanting various people to cheat the system with gift subs. It's a start but it's not the end, it needs to be pushed further, Partner Plus needs to be continuously refined."

None of the streamers Eurogamer spoke to said they would push to achieve the necessary criteria for the Partner Plus programme. Said Twitch Ambassador Psyche: "It's not something I'm pushing for because I don't want to make my community feel like they have to do anything differently to what they've done before."

Twitch Ambassador ReadySetBen is particularly concerned about burnout. "People are now streaming saying we're going for this milestone, streaming super long hours to hit that threshold, but they forget that they need to maintain that," he said. "I don't think it's a healthy thing, I think it wasn't thought through properly and it's enforcing bad streaming habits."

He added that streamers should look to diversify their revenue streams through sponsored content and promote other methods of paid support. "You can go full time, you'll have great months but it only takes you one slip up and you're cancelled and then your platform's gone," he said.

Lomadiah also noted the cost of living crisis and the lack of thought towards disabled streamers.

"I also don't want to ask my community to give more than they can physically afford," she said. "There is almost a misunderstanding of the fact we are in a cost of living crisis and people cannot always afford to sub, so again we come back to gift subs.

"It also doesn't take into account disabilities. So people who are having to put in the grind could potentially burn out. And that's something to avoid in the industry."

Most streamers did agree, however, that the Partner Plus programme was a step in the right direction towards a better revenue split for all. What's more, it has added transparency where previously some top streamers received a higher revenue split in specific deals done behind closed doors.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Twitch's director of community marketing and production Mary Kish welcomed the transparency the Partner Plus programme provides.

"Being able to offer this revenue split deal, even if it is to a subset of the community at large, is so important because it gives us something to reach towards," Kish told me.

"We had splits before, but I feel like they were always hidden. No one really understood how it worked. Now it's out in the open, it is honest, it is transparent. And there are rules and you can check them out."

She added: "We're a community of gamers, they're going to gamify it, they're going to see how they can get it. Let's see who can achieve this goal. And if it's not what everybody wants, then let's take those learnings and let's adapt it and move forward. It is a step in the right direction."

Kish also addressed the exclusion of gift subs and explained the need for streamers to build a solid and sustainable community.

"From just a broad perspective, what I would say is a lot of these goals - similar to Partnership - are about ensuring you have a solid base of a community," she said. "We are ensuring people aren't just inflating for a short period of time, but that they are sustainably building a solid community. The original goal of doing it with subs and not gift subs is: are you building a solid, continuous community that is there with you and building with you, that sets you up for long term success?

"I consider it an education issue as well," she continued. "There's nothing wrong with being a stream hobbyist or just someone who does it occasionally, but if this is something people are taking really seriously as a profession, and this is something they want to invest in, there needs to be an element of education and ensuring they are set up for long term success on Twitch."

In short, the high criteria for success is something akin to tough love, Kish appears to suggest.

"The intention is to prepare you for the challenges that you will face after, because once you hit that milestone, there is another milestone, and it's harder," said Kish. "So preparing someone for the inevitable hill that will be very difficult to climb - and maybe they will not make it at first - is I think a career lesson.

"I understand deeply what it feels like to not hit a milestone that you want. So I am extremely empathetic towards that journey. And I think we could do more education to ensure we are there for creators in every way we can on that difficult journey."

Having a 70/30 split across the board would certainly benefit all streamers. For these Twitch Partners, some of whom stream full-time, a higher revenue stream would make a huge difference.

"Say you generate a £1000 in a month, the difference between £500 and £700 a month is huge, especially with the cost of living being what it is, no matter where you are in the world," said Joesephyr. "To do what you're doing naturally and to know that you feel safer doing it, that's a big deal."

Warwick is optimistic for the future and the possibility of a new revenue split for all following the Partner Plus programme.

"It's good they're talking about it and I feel like it's slightly closer to the point where they think 'OK, we need to look at this as a base'. So I'm optimistic in that way, but right now it's not enough."

Read this next