Amazon is making a big play for gamers with the newly announced Twitch Prime. Unveiled today (Sept. 30) at Twitch Con 2016 in San Diego, Twitch Prime is a set of gamer-centric benefits such as in-game loot, discounts on new releases and ad-free Twitch viewing added to the Amazon Prime subscription service.
The idea is to convince Twitch members that they should pony up $99 a year to join Amazon Prime, the e-commerce giant's perk-filled subscription service. Amazon Prime members already get access to free shipping, free streaming music and videos including Amazon's original programming and other benefits.
MORE: What Is Amazon Prime?
Twitch Prime adds gaming benefits to the mix. Like the premium Twitch Turbo service, Twitch Prime members will get ad-free Twitch viewing, custom emotes, and exclusive chat badges and colors. You'll also get a free Twitch channel subscription each month that you can use to send some love to your favorite streamer. (In other words, those streamers gets paid when you use your free channel on them just as they would if you had paid the normal $5-a-month subscription.)
Twitch is also promising a regularly updated selection of free video games and in-game loot for Twitch Prime members. Initial loot includes Hearthstone hero Tyrande Whisperwind, along with a custom card back. Twitch members will also get an exclusive skin for the Smite MOBA as well as a free copy of a game called Stremline built exclusively for Twitch.
Since this is part of Amazon Prime, other Twitch Prime benefits are clearly aimed at moving merchandise. Twitch Prime members will get exclusive pre-orders discounts on new releases of physical games; those discounts will continue for the first two weeks after the game's launch, Amazon says. You can also expect release day delivery on pre-orders.
Amazon bought Twitch for $970 million two years ago and has been looking for ways to increase the ties between the streaming game community and its e-commerce empire. Just last month, for example, Amazon put the pilots of some its original shows on Twitch with an eye toward selling the game streaming service's users on the merits of Amazon Prime. This is the clearest sign yet that Amazon hopes to turn all those gamers watching streams on Twitch into steady customers.
Amazon is offering a 30-day trial for Twitch users. Existing Amazon Prime members can grab the new befits by linking their Prime accounts to Twitch.