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Twitch: the affiliation invitation

A number of positive things came out of February’s GameBlast19 event, an annual gaming marathon in honour of SpecialEffect. We played video games for 24-hours straight to raise funds and awareness for this amazing charity; had the opportunity to support them in their mission to help many more physically-disabled gamers around the UK; and even received an invitation to become a Twitch Affiliate.

It’s not something I’ve been aiming for but with all the extended stream tests completed before the marathon itself, it just sort of happened. During a 12-hour playthrough of The Elder Scrolls Online I received the notification that the Later Levels channel had hit all requirements: over 500 minutes broadcast in the last month, seven unique broadcast days in the same period and an average of at least three concurrent viewers. (Big thank-yous to Tim and Jake from GeekOut South-West, TriformTrinity and Nana Marfo for helping with that last one.)

My other-half has been excited about our invitation since. He’s been a Twitch fan for a number of years now, regularly watches his favourite channels, and jumped at the chance to go to the community meetup in November. To him, getting an affiliation invitation is a pretty big deal; and not because it now enables us to earn money through subscriptions or supports the daydream of giving up our jobs. It’s because it’s a form of acceptance by and acknowledgement from a platform he thinks quite highly of.

Twitch, Affiliate, invitation

But I still haven’t accepted the invite yet though. It’s still waiting there in my inbox. I’m just not sure it’s something I feel comfortable doing, and there have got to be second-income and tax implications. I’ve always said blogging for me is a bit of fun and something I’ve never intended to turn serious or into a career – and that’s exactly how I feel about streaming too. Earning money from it regardless of how small the amount is seems like a sure-fire way of turning a hobby into ‘work’.

There’s also the fact that it’s a hell of a long way from Affiliate to Partner. I don’t go into anything halfheartedly and if we started on the program, I know I’d get wrapped up in making it to the next stage. But that’s a whole of lot of effort I’m not sure we’d ever be able to properly give; although we’ve already met two of the partnership application requirements, going from an average of three concurrent viewers to 75 is an awfully big hurdle and it’s one that work and family commitments would make even harder.

More important to me than the affiliation invitation was reaching the ‘Build a Community’ achievement recently for gaining 50 followers and five unique chatters in a stream (thanks again to those same people above). It’s meant we’ve been able to assign a VIP role to ten viewers who have always been incredibly supportive, as a way of showing our appreciation for all their help. You’ll just have to tune in the next time we’re online and check your icon in the chat room to see if that’s you!

But… Pete did raise a valid point. He fully understands and respects my reasons for being hesitant about going down the Affiliate path, but he pointed out that we could donate any money earned through Twitch straight to SpecialEffect each month. So far this rationale has been the strongest thing keeping me from hitting delete on the invitation; but the pressure of succeeding and the fear of turning a hobby into a job have prevented me from clicking on the ‘Get Started’ button so far.

So what to do? I’d be interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts: what would you do? While I gather opinions and mull the situation over, I’ll play a few video games and possibly stream them – just for fun.

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

17 thoughts on “Twitch: the affiliation invitation Leave a comment

  1. Objectively speaking, making money from a said source does turn your hobby into work in some sense. When you become an “affiliate” or “partner” for ‘Twitch,’ you’re basically saying, “Time to get serious.” For some, they can still enjoy this, and as a bonus, they can make some cash while doing so. So if you feel like you can keep up and refrain from turning “hobby” into “work,” then go for it. But then again, that’s just my 2 cents.

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  2. I understand your concerns – a hobby should be fun, you don’t want to be worrying about stats and money while playing Monkey Island!

    Still though, charity is a noble cause ..it you’re going to be streaming anyway it’s not a bad incentive!

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  3. It’s a dilemma. I’ve seen a lot of people on Twitter say they get burned out from streaming. Then again… I get burned out from my daily corporate job πŸ˜… I’d rather make money doing something I love 😝 But I would want the time to do it right. A family and a dayjob don’t allow that. Which is why I’ve never moved beyond “occasional random stream” Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best! πŸ™‚

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    • I hear you! I can just imagine how difficult it would be to become a Partner, keep up with the day-job, and take care of all the family commitments when they happen. At least not going down the Affiliate route means there’s no pressure and it’s all about the fun of the hobby!

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  4. First off, congrats on earning the distinction of Twitch Affiliate! Whether you take it or not, I agree with Pete in that it shows how hard you’ve worked and how successful you’ve been as a streamer to-date.

    Not sure what your plans are with your streaming video, but it is worth noting that once you go Affiliate, Twitch has the exclusive rights for your videos for the first 24 hours after it airs. For someone like me who likes to create clips and share them on other platforms, this does change my workflow and may impact yours down the road.

    Ultimately, Twitch Affiliate is a title and an unlocking of features within the platform. Everything after that is what you make of it. It could turn into a full-time job, or everything could stay exactly the same while also raising donations towards a cause you believe in. Heck, it could turn into a full-tome job as you try and raise donations for a charity you believe in as well. Regardless of how you approach it, I hope you go with the approach that makes you the happiest.

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    • Thanks Jett, this is all really useful information! I wasn’t aware that Twitch had rights to videos for 24-hours. I should probably do some more reading up on the Affiliate program in case there’s anything else I didn’t know about. πŸ€”

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  5. I’m also one of those think through all the possibilities and technicalities. I think it is a fantastic thing you have been offered and a great boost that you met their requirements even though you weren’t going for it. However I also understand the keeping streaming, much like blogging, as a hobby and fun.

    The money and tax thing always confuses me with bloggers and streamers who monetise one or both. Like how do they deal with that so easily? It just sounds complicated and turns it more into work even if just the tax side. Maybe I just think it is extra hassle but the extra cautious adult in me always wants people (bloggers, streamers) to be extra careful with this sort of thing.

    The idea of donating anything you earn through streaming to Soecial Effect sounds amazing. I’m sure they would be grateful and it would be such a good idea.

    Since I know very little about Twitch this may be a daft question (one day I will actually make an account to follow you and participate in chat on your streams – maybe I’ll do that after I finish this). Could you become an affiliate just in name? Like not monetise your streams or change anything, just accept the invite for the sake of it. If you wanted to change anything down the line you would have the option to do these things but you wouldn’t be changing anything in the short term.

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    • When you start the Affiliation process, it looks like you have to enter your bank details and other personal information so the tax implications are definitely a worry! I don’t know enough about stuff like this to make an informed judgement so, the same as you, I’m being extra cautious about it all. I know it’s not like we’d ever be making millions from streaming (and what we did make would go straight to charity anyway), but you hear so many horror stories about people getting caught up in tax problems. 😟

      I received the notification about your Twitch follow so I’ll be following you right back in just a moment! We’ll be on again on Saturday if you’re free and fancy a chat. πŸ˜€

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      • Ah that sounds complicated and definitely something that sparks the worry for the implications. Would Citizens Advice be worth a chat with? I don’t know of they would be able to help much for this situation but they might have more of an idea than most.

        I can reach out to a couple of people I know who might have an idea if you wanted to see what they did. One I know has a donate thing on her blog so must have worked something out for tax purposes. You might have found some people who can help but if you need I can see what they know.

        I’m hoping to catch a bit of your Saturday stream before work if I manage it. I’m definitely keeping it in mind.

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        • Thank you, you’re too kind! I had a quick look at the government website for information on second incomes and self-employment status, and I have to say I’m confused already. This is exactly the sort of thing that puts me off the Affiliation program. πŸ˜–

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