Twitch users who subscribe to Amazon Prime will soon lose their primary additional benefit, that being the ability to watch videos ad-free. Gaming-related streaming is big business at this point, and one of the biggest players in the market is undoubtedly Twitch. Beginning life in 2011 as a spinoff of general streaming website Justin.tv, Twitch eventually landed under the monolithic Amazon umbrella, after its parent company was purchased by the online retail giant in 2014.
Once it had owned Twitch for a while, Amazon then did the logical thing and incorporated the service into its Prime membership, which already offers benefits like 2-day shipping, thousands of streaming videos and songs, and a lending library of Kindle e-books, all at no additional cost. Twitch Prime has - up until now - come complete with its own list of features, including free games each month, in-game loot, and most importantly, an ad-free viewing experience when watching the site's many channels. Sadly, that main benefit is now on its way out.
Twitch announced the news today via a press release targeted at its content creators and via a blog post targeted at its users. Ad-free viewing will officially become unavailable to new Twitch Prime subscribers on September 14, while existing monthly subscribers will lose the feature on October 15. Those with annual Prime memberships will retain ad-free viewing benefits until their next renewal date, most likely due to there being legal issues with changing a long-term subscription's benefits mid-cycle. Those who really, really want to keep watching Twitch ad-free for the longest possible time can upgrade to an annual subscription before September 14.
Twitch will still be offering an ad-free viewing tier, but unfortunately for Prime members, it'll now cost them an extra $8.99 per month. This fee grants access to Twitch Turbo, which was how Twitch previously offered ad-free service to its users, prior to the introduction of ad-free Twitch Prime in 2016. While Twitch's message to users about the changes makes it sound like the removal of ad-free viewing from Prime is designed to benefit content creators by putting more ad money in their pocket, it's important to note that creators were already being compensated for video impressions via Prime, even without actual ads playing. Thus, that explanation really doesn't hold water, and reeks of Twitch not wanting to admit that this move is due primarily to wanting to increase its own ad revenue.
For now, Twitch stresses that the rest of Twitch Prime's benefits will remain intact, and users should expect new benefits to be added. Still, one imagines this change isn't going to go over well with the platform's many subscribers. Paying the same monthly charge for decreased benefits is never accepted happily - nor is paying a higher charge for the same benefits - one need only to ask Netflix about that.