Twitch set to test new Boost feature that will allow viewers to pay to advertise streamers

The community is not happy at the prospect of this feature impacting the platform.

Image via Twitch

Twitch’s Boost feature is making a return, though this time it is causing even more controversy because it will be tested using actual money instead of Channel Points to let viewers promote streams. 

Boost was originally being tested last December as an integrated Community Challenge for streamers. Viewers would be able to use their channel points as a collective to push the stream to more highly visible areas of Twitch. 

https://twitter.com/CohhCarnage/status/1443667272757829632

This was supposed to be applied as a way to let smaller communities promote up-and-coming streamers. In the latest version that was shared during today’s Patch Notes community stream, however, the Channel Points element had been replaced with monetary amounts that viewers can pay. And, according to journalist Zach Bussey, this was the original plan for the feature. 

https://twitter.com/zachbussey/status/1443711105021452289

In the Patch Notes stream, Twitch product manager Jacob Rosok said viewers for a small test group of streamers will be able to use Boosts to highlight their streamer’s channel on the front page of Twitch for other users. 

“What we’re doing with Boosts is giving viewers the ability to buy super high visibility promotions for their favorite creators, and these types of placements come with a cost,” Rosok said via VGC. “We think this is a great way to show support. Further, we’ve heard directly from creators that it’s hard to get their names out there, it’s hard to try and utilize different forms of social media to grow their channels, and our hope is that [this is] a more direct way for a viewer to help a creator do that.”

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Boosts will only be purchasable during a 10-minute period in which viewers can buy as many Boosts as they want for that stream. Each Boost will equate to more front-page recommendations for creators. 

Rosok noted that during the test period using Channel Points last December, more than 100,000 streamer recommendations were redeemed. Bussey conducted his own research during that test and claims that the more than 40 channels he tracked that tested the feature showed very little statistical changes after using Boosts, although he is aware his data could be wrong.

As previously noted, Boosts will only be tested with a very small number of streamers. That hasn’t quelled backlash from a majority of creators and fans that think this is a negative feature, especially since it is reported that none of that money spent on Boosts will go to creators. 

According to critics, being able to pay for what equates to front-page ad space likely won’t incentivize most users to click on a channel they have never heard of, especially when Twitch still plays multiple ads when a viewer first joins a majority of channels on the platform.

We will have to wait to hear more about the “Boost this Stream” feature from Twitch and how the platform will respond and take into account all of this feedback from the community.