Gaming platform Twitch has revealed its own virtual currency, Stream+. The coin will get its first rollout in Amazon’s forthcoming game, Breakaway.
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Stream+: ‘Polls and Wagering,’ and More?
Twitch, owned by Amazon, made the announcement yesterday, a day before the start of its annual TwitchCon event in San Diego.
“Stream+ is a loyalty points system where players can earn points by watching streams,” BBC News quotes Amazon Game Studios head Patrick Gilmore as saying.
He added that users would be able to use Stream+ in “polls and wagering.” Gilmore also released more news from Breakaway on Twitter, drawing attention to the currency-focused theme.
@PlayBreakaway alpha codes are printed on collectible coins. Play the game at #TwitchCon2016 and you get the coin plus priority access. pic.twitter.com/gMcCTpFh7q
— Patrick Gilmore (@MrEpilog) September 28, 2016
The TwitchCon reveal stated that users would also be able to “earn Stream+ Coins by watching” Breakaway streams, which will directly integrate into the Twitch platform.
So far, no sources have provided a full explanation of how Stream+ will work in practice, its full capabilities in Twitch, or whether the tokens can be bought, sold or traded elsewhere.
Legal Restrictions or Game Changer?
Nonetheless, the move marks a turning point in the profile of in-game currency tokens, which have hitherto remained a sideline activity in online gaming.
Twitch has already experimented with an in-game token in Salty Bet, which allows users to wager so-called ‘Salty Bucks’ as part of gameplay.
Early reactions to the concept have been mixed, with the online community doubting the potential impact of Stream+ due to the seeming lack of characteristics it shares with bonafide cryptocurrencies.
The move could be deliberate. Gambling rules in many jurisdictions, not least the US, place heavy restrictions on what can be done with such tokens, specifically regarding their ability to be converted into fiat currency.
The UK Gambling Commission meanwhile has stated it is “paying close attention to the growing popularity of virtual or ‘in-game’ items, which can be traded, sold or used as virtual currencies to gamble.”
Any progress would thus come by way of Amazon’s market presence, Verge suggests, potentially allowing Stream+ holders to spend their tokens on third-party resources.
Other gaming platforms have become interested in extant virtual currencies in the past year or so. Valve’s Steam platform moved to add bitcoin to its payment options in April. Then, in May, blockchain-based platform IONOMY announced it would go 100 percent crypto-based. It also launched its own token, ION.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitch.TV.
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