UK Bettors To Welcome Twitch’s Virtual Currency
October 5, 2016
Bitcoin sports betting in UK may soon have some competition. The video game streaming site Twitch is about to introduce its own virtual currency, according to its owner Amazon Game Studios.
Patrick Gilmore of Amazon Game Studios said the new Stream+ virtual token is going to be a loyalty point system so that players can earn points by watching streams featured on Twitch. People can then use these points for voting in polls and placing wagers. They could also be spent on items to use in games. This is a good move for Twitch and its parent company Amazon, which purchased Twitch in 2014 for $970 million.
New games from Amazon
Stream+ will be first featured in Amazon Game Studio’s forthcoming multiplayer game Breakaway. It is the company’s answer to games released by their rival studios Blizzard, Valve and Riot. All three have released team-based battle games, with Blizzard’s Overwatch becoming one of the latest online hits, creating a competitive and dedicated fan base nearly-overnight.
Piers Harding-Rolls of the IHS Markit consultancy has this to say about Amazon and Twitch’s recent moves:
“Over recent years Amazon has invested significantly into its first-party games development capability but has yet to make a commercial impact on the market. Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch back in 2014 laid the foundation for the development of its own games that were built from the ground up to engage Twitch viewers. Breakaway does look to be an interesting addition to the competitive play arena with it mixing some sports elements with more traditional action elements. We’ve seen with Rocket League that it’s possible to make a break out hit in the eSports scene against the incumbent titles.”
One of the main features of Stream+ points is that people would be able to gamble with them. Normally, Stream+ points can be gained by watching other gamers’ video streams on the Twitch website. However, a demo video showed a player betting on the outcome of a Breakaway tournament for the chance to win more points. Amazon and Twitch have not fully revealed all the details for Stream+.
Betting on eSports in the UK is already a under close scrutiny from gambling regulators. Recently, a lot of unofficial and unlicensed betting websites developed around popular titles such as FIFA and Counter Strike: Global Offensive, trading on player skins. Authorities have already shut some of them down.
The UK Gambling Commission recently said that it is considering what actions to take in the eSports realm as betting on match results have skyrocketed, either via virtual currencies or items. It will be interesting to see how eSports betting will develop as more and more people start tuning in to them.