Amazon.com’s Twitch to start selling video games on its site

The move will pitch Twitch, a YouTube-like social platform, against existing electronic game bazaars built by the likes of Valve. But the effort is designed in part to funnel cash to the players who create the content that draws millions to the site.

Amazon.com’s Twitch, a popular streaming service where video-gaming fans watch their favorite gamers play, is taking a page from its corporate parent — by selling the games themselves.

The move will pitch Twitch, a YouTube-like social platform, against existing electronic game bazaars built by the likes of Valve, Activision and others. But unlike those marketplaces, Twitch’s effort is tightly linked to video-game streaming sessions, and is designed in part to funnel cash to the players who create the content that draws millions to the site.

“Our goal is not to become a game store,“ Matt McCloskey, vice president of commerce for Twitch, says in an interview. “Our goal is to grow the social network that is Twitch.”

The initiative, which will be launched in the spring, works like this: Fans watching their favorite streaming player slay dragons or race cars on Twitch can click on a button to buy the same game, or virtual trinkets related to it. The streamers get a 5 percent cut of the game content sold on their pages — a payment that adds to other compensation, such as a share of advertising revenue, subscriptions and outright gifts from fans. (Games can also be purchased from their own dedicated game pages.)

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This model helps game developers generate sales because it targets shoppers who are obviously interested in a specific game at the moment when they’re likely to be most excited about it. Game publishers will get 70 percent of the revenue, the standard rate for online marketplaces overseen by Valve, Google and Apple.

As for Twitch, which Amazon bought for $1 billion in 2014, the new strategy gives…

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