Today, Twitch announced Twitch Prime, a new premium membership service included with Amazon Prime. The program is similar to the now-defunct Twitch Turbo, allowing Twitch viewers to enjoy the site ad-free. In addition to the ad-free experience, Twitch Prime gives users one free channel subscription per month and free "game loot" -- in the case of September, that nebulous "loot" takes the form of early access to a new Hearthstone hero or a copy of the game Streamline.
Twitch Prime is included for free with any existing or new Amazon Prime membership, which is still priced at $11 per month, or $99 for a full year. Currently, there does not appear to be a way for users to exclusively sign up for Twitch Prime at a lower rate. Twitch Turbo, comparatively, was priced at $9 per month. Although existing Twitch Turbo subscriptions will not be canceled, the service will no longer be available to new users in regions where Amazon Prime is available.
The official announcement, from Twitch's Robin Fontaine, encourages current Twitch Turbo users to cancel their current subscription if they're already signed up for Amazon Prime. "If you already subscribe to both Turbo and Amazon Prime, you may want to consider canceling Turbo," writes Fontaine. "All the benefits of Turbo are included in Twitch Prime, except that the Turbo chat badge will be replaced with the Twitch Prime badge."
Twitch will be celebrating the launch of Twitch Prime with a fundraising event in support of GameChanger Charity, where the company will donate $100,000 for every 100,000 accounts that subscribe to a channel, up to $1 million USD. The event runs from today through October 5th.
This news comes in the wake of the streaming company's initially unpopular and confusing "Cheers" initiative. Cheers have been criticized for adding microtransactions to the Twitch ecosystem, considering the company's already existing premium service and channel subscription feature. Now that Twitch's premium user service is rolled into an account system most people already have and includes a monthly free subscription, it's possible the Cheers system will start to roll out in greater numbers.