Streaming platform Twitch introduced a chat functionality today called “Cheering,” a new method for tipping streamers. Cheering is done by purchasing a new Twitch currency called “Bits.” You can then send Bits to the streamer you are watching by typing “cheer” and then the number of Bits you want to send into chat. Those bits then become animated emotes in chat. The emote changes depending on how many Bits are given at once. Bits can be purchased in bundles from 100 for $1.40 to 25,000 for $308, which will be processed through Amazon Payments, as Amazon is Twitch’s parent company.
Cheering seems like a nice way to support streamers, many of whom try to make a living off Twitch. However, the Twitch community hasn’t fully embraced it. Twitch has not revealed how much of a cut they take from purchasing Bits. This also seems like a way for Twitch to cut out the third-party service PayPal, which is the current de facto tipping platform. Reddit user RealTroupster pointed out a potential issue with this, writing:
I find it ironic that they want us to use this system to “support our streamers” yet we have no fucking clue what it is doing for them? I think you’ll find the majority of people would rather give $5 directly to the person than deal with a Twitch Sub or Bits. Hence why donations are even prevalent in the first place.
While that may be the case, Cheering might increase the prevalence of tipping, since it can be done so easily right in chat, whereas tipping through PayPal makes Twitch users leave the stream, if only for a minutes.
Cheering is in beta right now and available to a limited list of streamers, which you can find on Twitch’s blog post.