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You can now tip Twitch streamers by buying animated chat emotes

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Gif gratuity

Amelia Krales

Twitch is adding a very animated way to support your favorite streamers. Today the service is introducing the beta of a new feature called “cheering,” which lets you purchase animated chat emotes with real money, with broadcasters earning a share of revenue. It works like this: you type the word “cheer” along with a number in chat during a stream, and that will cause a colorful, shape-shifting emote to appear alongside your message. The higher the number, the larger and more elaborate the emote; so “cheer10” will be small, while “cheer 100” will be much flashier. You can buy cheers using a new form of currency called “bits,” which is available today. $1.40 will get you 100 bits.

Twitch cheering

While Twitch isn’t sharing an exact breakdown, the company says that broadcasters will receive a share of the revenue that comes from cheering. The new feature joins channel subscriptions as one of several ways that viewers can directly support the broadcasters they watch on Twitch. “If channel subscriptions are the equivalent to holding season tickets for your favorite sports team, cheering is like getting a crowd wave started during the game,” says Twitch CEO Emmett Shear. Cheering isn’t a brand new concept — services like mobile streaming platform Kamcord have introduced similar features in the past — but given the sheer scale of Twitch, the addition has the potential to be a solid source of income for popular broadcasters.

While the feature is in beta now — you can currently only use cheer emotes for select broadcasters — Twitch says that “the feature will eventually be rolled out on a broader scale as we refine the program based on community feedback.”