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Why I Dropped Affiliate: Thinking Critically in a World Where People are Paid to Stream Video Games

When you're streaming video games via Twitch, you might be invited to the Twitch Affiliate program.

When the affiliate program launched for Twitch TV, thousands, if not millions of broadcasters rejoiced. They finally had a sub button which meant some kind of status. It meant that Twitch welcomed them into a realm where they could see their dreams become reality.

For decades, many of my generation wondered if they could ever see their passions turn into a way of living. I can even remember my mom telling me "Nobody got anywhere playing video games!" and I told her to "Wait and see!" Sure enough, this generation would come to see a medium of entertainment that not only entertained the player, but entertained many of us watching, too.

It brings into question our shifting view on what entertainment consists of—since the early 1900s, nickelodeons and picture shows were considered for the lower class since live Vaudeville entertainment was the talk of the town, and motion picture (thankfully discovered by the French and utilized by the Russians) was far behind any concept that we've purposed it for today. We didn't know how to handle this new art form of a moving image, and so it begged the question: what do we do with this?

Fast forward about 120 years, and suddenly motion picture has evolved into interactive entertainment, where a moving picture becomes something we can control. And not only that, suddenly an entire generation of people can develop an entire business out of what and how they play video games, one of the most impressive forms of entertainment today. Thus enters Twitch, where someone thought of the bright idea of making a business out of what this generation loves to do. Whouda thunk?

Regardless, streaming video games via Twitch is a wonderful thing, but I found that affiliation was just far too limiting. First, there's the exclusive clause on your contract stating you can't share your content on another platform for a full 24 hours—and nix on dual-streaming to Mixer either. On top of that, the profit percentage for a subscription is 50 percent. Half of the sub goes to you, half of it goes to Twitch. That's not controllable. Third, for a full 5 dollars, you get a range of emotes to use and a subscription badge. I'm sorry Twitch, but I can go buy an entire meal at Taco Bell and get a chance to win an Xbox One X for 35 cents more. It's up to broadcasters how they want to treat subs post-sub stipulations, but the subscription and exclusive clause doesn't give broadcasters the freedom to control their business the way they want to.

For instance, my subscriptions through Patreon give out my currencies that allow people to troll me the way they want. Syndromes are free via follows, hosts, and if I decide someone is awesome enough to deserve some. Pathogens and Germs are paid tier currencies, but regardless of how I structure them, I can control them how I want. Plus, they're available over Mixer AND Twitch, so whatever platform you choose to view my content, whether it's streaming via Twitch or Mixer, you can use what you purchase. You can even get dual points by following/hosting on one service and then doing the same with another.

Plus, my potential audience expands, I get to understand the functionalities and markets of multiple platforms, and everyone wins. The only potential things I lose out on are affiliate perks (which, if you ask me, aren't that great), and it might be the case that I get less subscriptions through Patreon than Twitch. But I stand by this: if you're broadcasting to make money, you're doing it for the wrong reason.

I have grown so much personally and professionally just from experimenting with Twitch and how to properly broadcast that I can take it to any business. I track profit and loss, user retention, analytics, social media, blogging (gee!), SEO (gee!), and nearly everything that a business might require. The gift is not in making a living streaming video games via Twitch, but in learning all these concepts that ultimately make you grow as a person. That's what I've longed for.

So, that's why I've dropped my affiliate contract from Twitch. I don't like my content to be owned. For many others, their contracts prevent them from streaming on another platform. That's an unfortunate business stipulation, and as Renee Reynosa said when she decided to move to Mixer, other platforms do not have this exclusivity clause which is limiting in a broadcaster's ability to explore other platforms.

TL;DR be careful what you sign with Twitch. You might be sigining away your face, literally.

See you online, space cowboy. If you want to see when I stream, check out my schedule. I'm on both Mixer and Twitch, with Facebook a possibility too.

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