Twitch announced today that it would be introducing a new way to financially tip streamers, called cheering, that would let users buy animated emotes and post them in Twitch Chat to show their support.
Called "bits," the animated and evolving emotes are purchased in packages and can be used in a variety of ways. Buyers can either use all of the bits at once or hand them out one-by-one throughout the course of a stream. If people choose to use as many as possible at once, the effect is a "cooler" emote, according to Twitch.
The most important question is how much are these bits going to cost Twitch users, and like any type of platform, the answer varies. Bits will cost $1.40 for 100 animated emotes, and users can send up to 10,000 emotes at one time. The basic level, just one emote, looks like a small rock that kind of bounces around the chat room. The biggest emote, 10,000 bits, is a giant red star that transforms when it's sent. The different emotes can be seen in the gif below.
The idea is that while a caster is streaming, viewers can easily show their support for what they're seeing on their screens as well as financially compensate the streamer for what they're doing. It's not too unlike when Twitch rolled out Twitch Turbo in 2013, allowing premium subscribers — those paying $8.99 a month — access to exclusive emojis and colors that could be used in the chat.
The goal is to make the experience more interactive for those watching streams and financially help out streamers who use the platform as a way to make a living. The inclusion of the bits, which will be payed for through Amazon's Payments system (Amazon is Twitch's parent company), has ruffled a few feathers in the community, however. Many have started asking, both on Twitch and Reddit, how much of the profit from bits streamers will actually see and if this will conflict with the tipping option already available to streamers through PayPal.
The undisclosed cut Twitch will take from its new bits platform has led many within the community to ask if it will be close to the 2.2 percent plus 30 cents PayPal currently charges from its users who use it for tipping or if it will be higher.
Twitch has said that it will use this beta period to gather feedback from the community, both streamers and subscribers, to find out what works and what doesn't moving forward. Right now, bits are only being offered to a select number of streamers, but the company is hoping to roll it out to everyone soon.
For more information on the platform, you can read the company's official post here. Polygon has reached out to Twitch for comment and will update once more information is available.