Twitch launches digital games sales, but is this best for developers?

Twitch launches digital games sales, but is this best for developers?
Jake Tucker

By Jake Tucker

February 28th 2017 at 2:53PM

Not every developer is happy with Amazon's record on indie developers

Streaming behemoth Twitch is to become a video game retailer, with the company showing plans that will enable it to sell games and other in-game content later in Spring.

Twitch have said that this new program will give more power to developers and publishers, and that their program has already attracted the interest of several big names in games, including Ubisoft and Telltale games.

The system is planned to hand a 70 per cent cut of sales when a game is sold via the streaming service to developers, while Twitch's partnered streamers will get five per cent if the sale is made through their Twitch page.

After purchasing, gamers will be able to download their games via Twitch's desktop app or may be directed to existing services operated by publishers like Origin or Uplay. Back in 2014, Vlambeer used Twitch's Connect feature to flog Nuclear Throne to channel subscribers, but this is the first time Twitch has stepped up to an enterprise level.

However, a few developers have spoken out about the move on twitter.

"Amazon moving into Steam territory does worry me." said Rob "Retroremakes" Fearon, talking to Develop. "They've not had the best of records when it comes to games so far, which in some ways I'm thankful for. Thanks to the industry embracing digital a lot sooner, we've had a bit of a head start which stops companies rolling straight in and changing the entire landscape around us in a way that mainly benefit them. You only have to look at the market around digital books and see how quickly and easily these things can fall into disarray."

"Amazon, to me, don't appear to have the best of records so far. Their takeover of Reflexive still has ripples that folks in Casual have to deal with today, I don't know how much has changed in the past year or so but there's been a few things I'd be unhappy with in their recent dealings as well. It worries me that in most of their moves, it's developers who come far down the list of those who benefit the most. We've spent a lot of time getting to a place where the industry isn't just that anymore, I'm wary of anything that could potentially lead us to a place where we're on the back foot again."

"Of course I want more revenue streams, of course I want competition to Steam but I don't want these things if they're a detriment to the ecosystem as a whole. I'm not yet seeing anything from Amazon that suggests they're doing anything to help improve our lots versus their own. It's early days, of course, but the amount of angles they're approaching this from suggests serious intent to make inroads into games. I'd be happier knowing that any inroads made didn't come at our expense. Time will tell, I guess."

Whether Twitch's influence will convince partner Amazon to adopt a more developer friendly stance should be seen , but Twitch will need to keep developers on side if it wants to have any success in a competitive digital games market.