One of the most important aspects for streamers on the Twitch platform is the ability to interact with their viewers in innovative and exciting ways. Twitch has now taken steps to improve this aspect of the service by introducing a new feature, Predictions.
Partnered streamers with the Twitch service can use the Predictions feature to engage with their audience and it operates in a similar way as polls do on other forms of social media. Streamers will give their audience a number of options on which the streamer can use Channel Points to back which option they think will prove correct.
For example, a streamer may ask viewers to predict whether they will win a particular esports game, or even a somewhat unusual challenge, such as eating a burger in less than 30 seconds. Viewers can then use their channel points to select which of the Predictions outcome they want to back and if they win, they win a share of the points bet on the market.
“Fun and Easy Ways to Engage your Community”
In a press release about the new feature, Twitch stated that
“Viewers use Channel Points to predict the one they think will be the end result. Viewers who guess correctly will win a proportionate share of Challen Points from the total pool. We built this product in response to your feedback: You want fun and easy ways to engage your community and make participating in your channel even more awesome. Viewers want new ways to use their hard-earned Channel Points to interact with your stream and join the action.”
In addition to earning points from guessing the correct prediction, viewers could also win additional items if their streamer chooses to offer their own perks to the viewers for engaging with their stream in this way.
At the moment, the feature has been rolled out on a random basis to just a few creators and affiliates, although Twitch hopes to expand that to more users over the coming weeks and months.
However, despite clamour from the Twitch community for this service, it has not been uniformly welcomed. Twitch viewers in a number of countries including Denmark, the Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, and Korea are not allowed to access the feature due to what Twitch states are legal issues.
Many feel this could be linked to the issue with underage gambling which has been a particularly sensitive topic for Twitch for some time now. Given that the minimum age for a Twitch account is 13, the issue of Loot Boxes and even gambling Channel Points has been brought into sharp focus by a number of organisations that claim it is essentially allowing underage people to involve themselves in betting.
Of course, this is not the same as esports betting, which is far more fiercely regulated. However, we have already seen countries like the Netherland ban items such as FIFA loot boxes as they have been deemed a form of gambling. It now looks like Twitch’s Predictions feature may fall foul of those same regulations.
The issue of underage gambling is a thorny one for game developers and streaming services in particular and it remains to be seen whether this new Twitch feature will be rolled out across the network given time, or whether it will remain a service that is not available in certain locations.