It does not cost you a dime to stream on or view a streamer on twitch, with only one exception. For the most part, Yes, Twitch is totally free.
Most content on the Twitch Livestreaming platform is accessible to anyone and everyone, at any time. Even past broadcasts are available to watch; If the streamer has that feature enabled.
The best analogy we can come up with is that it is like the popular F2P(free-to-play) format used by video games. You can watch the content, no problem, but the bells and whistles are behind a modest paywall. These bells and whistles are in the form of emotes, and sub badges primarily.
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You said MTX? F2P? Which is it? Is Twitch Free or not?!
There are two things on the twitch platform that are not free. The first is Subscriptions, and the second is “Bits”. These are both optional and are not required to watch streamers. In fact, there is only one exception, “sub-only streams.”
Sub-only streams are a community-building tool if used correctly. Granting your loyal viewers access to an exclusive event via a sub-only stream, you enforce a sense of solidarity among them and you.
That said, misuse or overuse of sub-only streams can and will harm your channel. You can’t “set and forget” sub-only streams, and it is harmful to your exposure if overused.
On the bright side, the streamer in question must flag his/her stream as sub-only for this to even matter. In order to watch their stream at that point, you must subscribe to them.
Anyways, here’s how these two payment methods work:
Twitch Subscriptions – Just like Netflix or Disney+ subscriptions.
Streamers have very few ways to monetize their work. Where YouTube has Ad revenue after you manage to achieve 1,000 subscribers, Twitch does not(for affiliates). Instead, it offers a subscription service to individual channels, once they reach a certain threshold. And they only get half. The rest goes to Twitch. For every $4.99 sub, the streamer only sees $2.50.
These subscriptions come in three tiers, with three separate price points.
|Ad-Free Viewing||Yes(some exceptions)|
ONLY FOR SUBSCRIBED CHANNEL
|Still yes, but Exceptions are still there.|
ONLY FOR SUBSCRIBED CHANNEL Seeing a trend? Exceptions aren’t gone.
ONLY FOR SUBSCRIBED CHANNEL
|Emotes||3-50+ (depends on how succesful the streamer is and if they are “Partnered” or “Affiliated”)||Access to Exclusive Emotes||Access to even more exclusive emotes.|
|Chat during Subscriber-Only Mode and not affected by chat slow mode.||Yes||Uh-huh||Quite|
|Watch Subscriber Streams (access depends on Subscription Tier).||If Sub stream is allowed for T1 Subs||If Sub stream is allowed for T2 Subs||Yes.|
|Sub Badges for consecutive months supported||All three tiers get this. Appears in front of your name in chat.||—||—|
The second way that Twitch isn’t free – Bits
Think of bits as you would MTX virtual currency in a F2P game like Path of Exile. They allow you to donate to a streamer securely. They can be exchanged for nothing, what is a cheer; or to enable stream features, like a song request, or an overlay trigger.
A common use is to share a message on stream which is read by a TTS (Text-to-Speech) engine. It gives a viewer a “voice” on stream and gives them a moment of fame. Be wary with this one, as internet trolls can, and likely will misuse this.
That said, both subscriptions and bits are purely optional extensions of the platform. You do not need to pay a dime to watch content that isn’t flagged as “sub-only” streams. That is the one and only exception. It is also one that is rare enough to where it is a non-issue 95% of the time.
Some more Elaborate Sub incentives: Lumia Cove RGB Lights Control
And the best part is that it is fairly simple to set up. There is a preset list of commands, and you can even add your own!
It supports other systems as well, not just the Hue system. Y’know, in case you already have an existing RGB Smart light system, and aren’t willing to swap em’ out cause’ they’re expensive!
To top things off, Streamlabs, Streamelements and the Elgato Stream Deck have all integrated support for Lumia Cove’s system.
To see this in action, they have a few clips of streamers who have this in their setups. Check em out! (PS. There is a free version!!)
Just remember, don’t use RGB as your primary light.
Check out our full article about Lumia stream.
What about Mixer? Is that free?
Second verse, same as the first.
Yes, it is free; and even more so than twitch. There are no sub-only streams on the mixer platform(yet), so every single streamer can be watched at any time.
That said, there is still a sub-only chat, so some streams chat will be locked until you take that plunge.