YouTube Memberships gifting beta start date announced

This is a big features that could incentivize more creators to swap streaming platforms.

Image via YouTube

YouTube is officially rolling out its own version of Twitch’s paid subscription service in beta on May 11, allowing users to gift channel memberships to select creators participating in the platform’s testing period. 

The news was confirmed by Valkyrae, who will be part of the beta test, and it was teased by Lester Chen, YouTube’s global head of gaming creators. 

Valkyrae has been vocal about YouTube’s progress on this feature since last September, with various tests having already started back in February. Now it appears that membership gifting is ready to be more widely tested with more creators. 

Much like Twitch’s Prime Gaming free monthly subscription, sub gifting is one feature that the platform held over YouTube when it came to livestreaming as it gave users another way to support their favorite creators. Specifically, it opened the door for more generous viewers to gift subscriptions, giving the streamer more money and providing benefits to other users in chat in increments between one and 100. 

Just like with subs, YouTube Memberships cost $4.99, although with higher tiers are available. Members also gain access to badges, emotes, and other exclusive content from a specific creator, which can include exclusive VOD content and a few other things. Unlike Twitch, YouTube Membership pays out 70 percent of all subscriptions, super chats, and other payments to its users, which could entice some users to swap streaming platforms after some recent reports about potential Twitch changes. 

Related: Valkyrae warns leaked Twitch pay revamp may actually spark major decline

As of now, YouTube has not shared a full breakdown of how membership gifting will work, but the beta rollout is set to begin on May 11 for select creators. More details will be shared in the near future.