Twitch is testing a new way fans can pay broadcasters, called "cheering," that lets viewers punctuate a live stream's chat room with animated emojis that can cost as much as $140.
Twitch, the Amazon-owned service where people broadcast their video gameplay live for others to watch, is introducing "Bits," a sort of currency that users can bank to unleash these special "emotes," the service's term for its own lexicon of emojis.
The broadcaster gets a share of the money, the company said, creating a new tipping system. (Twitch first said broadcasters would get the majority of revenue but later said that split wasn't confirmed.) Fans already have the option to pay for a subscription that unlocks special benefits with a particular broadcaster, and they can donate money to them through Twitch too.
Twitch users can test it by typing "cheer" in chat followed by a number representing how many Bits it costs. That can range from a single-Bit emote worth less than two pennies to a 10,000-Bit emote that costs $140 to drop once. Higher numbers mean flashier emotes. Bits can be purchased through the Bits icon at the bottom of the chat window, and they cost $1.40 for 100. If you "cheer" often and loudly, you can earn special badges that make you more visible.
The feature is limited to dozens of the site's 1.7 million broadcasters, but it will eventually be rolled out on a broader scale, the company said in a news release.
The full list of participating broadcasters is on Twitch's blog.