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Twitch launches subscriber-only streams, but only for creators who don’t violate its rules

A potentially useful tool for big events

Twitch is giving its well-behaved streamers a chance to offer a new, VIP-like feature to their most loyal viewers with subscriber-only streams.

The new feature does exactly what the name suggests: any Twitch Affiliated or Partnered creator can choose to broadcast exclusively for moderators, VIPs, and subscribers. This comes at no additional cost to the subscriber beyond the minimum $5-a-month fee they’re paying to support the streamer. Fans who aren’t subscribed will be greeted with a preview of a broadcast before being asked to subscribe to a channel.

Streamers will have to abide by certain rules in order to earn the privilege to host subscriber-only streams, according to Twitch’s blog post announcing the feature. Creators can’t have any violations on their channel occurring in the past 90 days. That means a creator like Dr Disrespect, who was suspended for two weeks after broadcasting in a public bathroom during E3 earlier this month, would have to stream for an additional 90 days upon his return without another violation in order to use the new feature.

Twitch’s blog post also reiterated that although streams are being hosted exclusively for subscribers, this doesn’t mean they’re in any way private. Creators must still abide by Twitch’s community guidelines and terms of service even while hosting a subscriber-only stream.

Although the company is rolling this out as a new feature, Twitch streamers have already toyed with similar ideas on their channels. Subscriber-only chat feeds, for example, have been used by multiple streamers to try to promote viewers to sign up for the $5-a-month subscription plan. Most Twitch streamers earn a 50 percent cut of every subscription, making it in their best interest to try to convince viewers to join their membership program. Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, has also made its Twitch Prime membership program a priority at the company. Tools like this could help drive people toward signing up for a subscription and gifting another to their friend.

Subscriber-only streams sound especially useful for personalities who want to collaborate on a specific event and earn subscribers in the process. Weekly gaming competitions like Fortnite Friday and Minecraft Monday, hosted by Daniel “Keemstar” Keem and broadcast on both Twitch and YouTube, are just a couple of examples. These streams routinely bring in hundreds of thousands of viewers, and the events could be a prime opportunity for participants to host a subscriber-only stream.

The new feature is currently available in beta mode. There’s no estimated date for when it will launch to the broader Twitch community.