Twitch is introducing a new feature, Hype Chat, that lets users pay to pin messages at the top of a streamer’s chat feed.
If you’ve seen YouTube’s Super Chats, which the company first announced in 2017, then Hype Chats should look pretty familiar. Streamers will be able to set how much Hype Chats cost (with a minimum of up to $100 and a maximum of up to $500), and based on how much you pay, you’ll have a better-looking chat. “Higher value Hype Chats will stay at the top of chat longer, have longer allowed character counts, and have more standout designs,” Twitch said in a blog post. Right now, the feature is only available on the web, Twitch spokesperson Adiya Taylor tells The Verge.
Depending on how many Hype Chats a streamer gets, they could prove to be lucrative. Twitch is offering a 70 percent revenue split of net payment costs on the web for purchases of Hype Chats.
That said, there are pretty obvious ways a bad actor could pay for Hype Chats to harass a streamer. To prevent situations like that, Twitch put a few safety features in place: viewers cannot send Hype Chat messages with banned words or phrases, for example, and Hype Chats from timed out or banned users will be removed. Streamers and their mods can also unpin Hype Chats if they want. But Taylor says that streamers who have Hype Chat (to start, Twitch partners) will not be able to opt out.
Hype Chats add to a growing list of ways viewers can directly support streamers, including subscribing, gifting subs, and tipping with Bits. However, many partnered streamers still only receive 50 percent of their subscription revenue, though Twitch has spelled out the requirements for the “Partner Plus” program that makes you eligible for 70 percent of revenues starting in October. And we’ll have to wait and see if features like Hype Chats and the Partner Plus program are enough to keep streamers around; xQc and Amouranth, two hugely-popular streamers, just signed major deals to stream on Kick.