Twitch has just announced Hype Chat, a new tool that allows viewers to pay to pin their message to the top of a streamer's chat - and thus guaranteeing a higher chance of visibility and attention.
The function is simple when distilled down: Hype Chat will mean that even on fast-moving chats, particularly those of the most popular streamers, viewers' messages have a chance to stand out from the crowd. It'll just cost them a bit.
While Twitch claims that the monetisation aspect will help streamers in terms of gaining support (naturally) as well as boosting viewer recognition and interaction, at first glance, it could pose a bit of trouble. Could this be a way for nefarious or mean viewers to pay to pin abusive or discriminatory messages and gain maximum visibility? Or could it open the door for streamers to be barraged with constant and pinned messages of harassment? On the face of it, these sound perfectly possible - and worrisome.
Twitch has said, however, that Hype Chat is designed with safety in mind as Chat moderation settings and other "bespoke safety settings" will complement it. While Twitch will surely do all it can to protect streamers and viewers the site doesn't have a great reputation when it comes to its chats.
A few years ago ex-Overwatch streamer xQc was in the middle of some pretty heated GTA RP drama that was made infinitely worse thanks to 'chat hoppers'. These are viewers who jump from stream to stream to stir the pot and create more drama. With this problem prevalent in most Twitch streams we can only imagine how Hype Chat could possibly escalate the problem.
Hype Chat will be available to Partners only at launch, and will sit alongside subs, bits, and gifts as part of the monetisation streaming suite.
That's not the only thing Twitch has been in the news for recently, as the streaming platform recently declared that 'kissing or licking a microphone' was sexual content.
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Rob is Deputy Editor of TechRadar Gaming, a video games journalist, critic, editor, and writer, and has years of experience gained from multiple publications. Prior to being TechRadar Gaming's Deputy Editor, he was a longstanding member of GamesRadar+, being the Commissioning Editor for Hardware there for years, while also squeezing in a short stint as Gaming Editor at WePC before joining TechRadar Gaming. He is also a freelance writer on tech, gaming hardware, video games, gardens, and landscapes and is crowdfunding a book on video game landscapes that you can back and pre-order now too.