Twitch has introduced the Twitch Affiliate Program. It is for streamers who are not part of the Twitch Partner Program, but who are striving toward that goal. Twitch will decide which of their non-partnered creators is eligible for the Twitch Affiliate Program.
Introducing the Twitch Affiliate Program, which helps us expand that commitment to include tens of thousands of non-partnered creators. The program allows eligible streamers to start earning income on Twitch while building their audience, and provides a stepping stone to bridge the gap between emerging streamer and Twitch Partner. At launch, Affiliates will be able to start Cheering with Bits on their channel so their communities have an on-platform choice for showing support.
Twitch streamers cannot apply to be in the Twitch Affiliate Program. Twitch will invite streamers who qualify to sign up for it. Invitations are expected to roll out gradually over the next several weeks.
- At least 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
- At least 7 unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
- An average of 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days
- At least 50 followers
Twitch will provide participating Affiliates a share of the revenue Twitch receives from Bits equal to 1 cent per Bit used to Cheer for them, subject to certain terms and conditions. Twitch Partners get Custom Cheermotes – Twitch Affiliates do not.
Twitch Partners payout timeframe is 45 days, and payout fees are covered by Twitch. Twitch Affiliates payout timeframe is 60 days, and the Affiliate has to cover the payout fees themselves.
Twitch, the leading social video platform and community for gamers, has agreed to acquire Curse, a leading global multimedia technology company focused on creating content and products specifically for gamers.
Curse might be best known for the add-ons it makes for World of Warcraft, Minecraft, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and other PC games. Curse also has helpful information in the form of wikis and news guides, that can help players. Business Wire says that more than 30 million people visit Curse’s web properties, video channels, social media channels, and desktop application each month.
Twitch is the go-to site for people who stream their video game play, and therefore, also for the people who want to watch those streams. More than 100 million community members gather to watch and talk about video games with more than 1.7 million streamers each month.
In 2014, Amazon purchased Twitch for $970 million.
Twitch has posted a very happy and excited announcement that Curse is the newest member of the Twitch family. Curse has a brief note that points out that Curse is now part of the Twitch family (with a link to the announcement on the Twitch website). Part of that announcement says:
This acquisition will help provide gamers with the tools and resources they need to achieve the ultimate gaming experience, a mission shared by both Twitch and Curse. Together Curse and Twitch will help gamers connect, interact, and share information with one another.
There is some speculation that this acquisition could result in a push for gamers on Twitch to use what originally was called Curse Voice (and is now called Curse) instead of Discord, Teamspeak, Skype, or other similar services. Many gamers use those types of services to communicate with the other players on their team while gameplay is going on.
Twitch has introduced something new called Cheering. It is a way for people to show support for streamers and to celebrate exciting moments with the community. The system is currently in beta and can only be used with Cheer-enabled Partners. Twitch hopes to add “more cool stuff” in coming months.
Cheering functions sort of like a microtransaction. People start by clicking on the Bits icon that appears next to the emote button on channels that have Cheering enabled. Right now, you can get 100 Bits for $1.40 (and the prices go up from there). Twitch is using Amazon Payments as their payment technology, but appears to be considering adding additional local payment methods and currency support in the future.
After you have purchased some Bits, you can use them to support a Cheer-enabled Partner on Twitch. Type “cheer” into the chat, followed by a number. It will show up in the chat with a special Bits Emote icon. Those who do a lot of Cheering in a specific channel can earn a Cheer Chat Badge.
What does this mean for people who stream on Twitch? Only Cheer-enabled partners are able to make use of the Cheering system. In one of the blog posts that Twitch created to explain Cheering, it says:
Twitch provides participating partners a share of the revenue Twitch receives from Bits equal to 1 cent per Bit used to Cheer for them, subject to certain terms and conditions such as our Bits Acceptable Use Policy.
The same blog posts states that this is the first version of Cheering. Twitch expects that Bits will also be available through promotions and as rewards for activities on Twitch. They are also working to provide additional benefits to broadcasters that people Cheer for. Again, it is still in Beta, so there could be a lot of changes made before it is finalized.
A lot has been made about Microsoft’s latest operating system Windows 10. Many people prefer it over the operating system it replaced, though that isn’t necessarily saying much. The big problem people have with this latest platform is how much Microsoft is pushing it, and doing so hard.
The latest problem that Microsoft’s relentless pushing has caused happened to professional gamer Erik Flom, and it was live on the game streaming site Twitch.
This isn’t the first time such an incident has occurred, we recently saw during a TV news broadcast when the weather map was suddenly overlaid by a prompt to upgrade to Windows 10. While that incident was taken good-naturedly by the meteorologist, this one did not meet with the same reaction. There was cursing involved and video of the whole incident has gone viral thanks to Reddit.
In this case, it was not a message prompting the upgrade, Flom already was using the OS. But getting it doesn’t solve the problem of Microsoft inserting itself into people’s lives. Updates to Windows 10 can also be forced. There’s an obvious reason for that — security vulnerabilities.
But as security firm Sophos points out “Unfortunately, cyberattackers don’t need to rely on zero-days, where a security patch isn’t available, because so many users remain unprotected against security bugs with fixes that are available – and have been for weeks, months, or even years”.
While Microsoft pushing these updates can be looked at as a good thing, perhaps there could be a better way, such as doing so when a PC is inactive.
Scott Ertz interviews Marc Todd about the Skreens HDMI video mixing box.
The concept of the skreens video mixing box is that it takes multiple HDMI sources such as an X-Box, Roku, Apple TV, etc. and mixes it in user-configurable windows on a single large screen via HDMI. The individual video screen input sizes are controlled in real-time via iPad and Android tablet apps. The skreens box will be coming in two versions, a 2 HDMI port version, and a Pro version with 4 HDMI ports. Both versions have an integrated web browser.
The 4 HDMI port skreens Pro box is also capable of streaming the mixed 1080p video live to Twitch or YouTube.
Both models of the skreens boxes should be available in the second half of 2016. Final pricing has yet to be set.
You can sign up for product updates at the skreens.com website.
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Twitch updated its Rules of Conduct section to make it clear that streamers are expected to wear clothing. That may seem like a “no-brainer”. In general, dress codes are not put into Rules of Conduct unless there have been problems. I’m not aware of anything specific that may have prompted this change, but it seems to me that Twitch must have had reasons for making it.
The new change to their Rules of Conduct includes a section called “Dress…appropriately”. The key portion says:
Wearing no clothing or sexually suggestive clothing – including lingerie, swimsuits, pasties, and undergarments – will most likely get you suspended, as well as any full nude torsos, which applies to both male and female broadcasters.
It goes on to says that “you may have a great six-pack” but suggests that you share that at the beach instead of on Twitch. The new rule is directed at both male and female streamers, but I kind of doubt that Twitch has had too many problems with men wearing “lingerie, swimsuits, pasties, and undergarments”.
In case that wasn’t clear enough, Twitch went ahead and offered some advice to help people to stay within the boundaries of the rules. If the lighting in the room is too hot, get fluorescent bulbs. You can crop the webcam so that it only shows your face. Move your Xbox One Kinect closer to you as a means of cropping your image. Or, you know, you could always turn it off.
Twitch has been making lots of controversial changes lately, and this has not gone unnoticed by the gaming community. The addition of a new Audio Recognition System has been problematic. The system has been improperly flagging some audio that was cleared through creative commons (and therefore, should not have been flagged at all). After much outcry, Twitch has stated that it will deploy an “Appeal” button.
In short, the purpose of the Audio Recognition system was to identify music that has a copyright and that was used in videos on Twitch that are available on demand. (They call those “Video on Demand” or VOD). Twitch partnered with Audible Magic.
When the Audio Recognition system identifies music that is in the Audible Magic database, it automatically mutes the portion of the video on demand in which that music appears. (The Audio Recognition system is not being used on videos that are streamed live on Twitch.) It can scan 30 minute blocks of a video. If third party audio is detected anywhere in the 30-minute scanned block, the entire 30 minutes will be muted.
Twitch explains it this way on their blog:
“We’ve partnered with Audible Magic, which works closely with the recorded music industry, to scan past and future VODs for music owned and controlled by clients of Audible Music. This includes in-game and ambient music. When music in the Audible database is detected (“Flagged Content”), the affected portion of the VOD will be muted and the volume controls for that VOD will be turned off. Additionally, past broadcasts and highlights with Flagged Content are exportable but will remain muted.”
This new addition to Twitch is very similar to what YouTube is using to identify audio that has a copyright and that has been used in videos that appear on YouTube. Both systems have returned “false positives” and flagged things that should not have been flagged. As such, Twitch is deploying an “appeal” button for the VODs that have been incorrectly flagged for copyrighted music.
I suspect this is not going to be enough to appease gamers who have had their audio muted without warning when all they were doing was streaming the ambient music that is in a video game. It’s not going to go over well with gamers who have had 30 minutes of their audio muted because they played one 2 or 3 minute song that had a copyright on it, either.