Hitting Affiliate status on Twitch is a big deal. Some streamers put so much effort into their channels, going live whenever they can to get more than 50 followers and encourage at least three viewers to stick with them, yet it can still take years to get that invitation.
Two people worthy of a mention here are Jett from In Third Person and Kevin from The Lawful Geek. We’ve followed these guys for a while now and have seen them both grow from a handful of viewers to regularly entertaining a group of followers several times a week. Jett is known in the community for being there for others when they need advice about their streaming set-ups and he’s always happy to lend a hand; and it was awesome seeing Kevin’s reaction when he received his invitation during our Shadowrun game last month.
Later Levels (@LaterLevels) June 12, 2020
In some ways, the COVID-19 lockdown has made things slightly easier for newer streamers to reach Affiliate, although the effort they dedicate to their channels still deserves acknowledgement. The additional free time that has come from working from home or being furloughed has given them the opportunity to get their streams up and running, as well as benefit from others in similar positions being able to watch throughout the day. Shout-outs to the awesome The Gaming Diaries and Brandon from That Green Dude for making their Twitch debuts in the past three months and successfully building up their channels.
Many streamers wear their Affiliate status with pride and celebrate it as a streaming milestone. But that’s not the case for Later Levels. Visit our channel and you wouldn’t realise that my other-half and I received the invitation back in March 2019: there’s no sub button, points or emotes, and there’s not going to be in the near future either. The only way you might know this is the case is because of a post published last year explaining why I wasn’t going to accept Twitch’s offer.
My feelings since that article haven’t changed and not becoming an Affiliate is something both Pete and I agree on (although he regularly jokes that he’s waiting for our Partner invitation). Streaming has always been something we’ve done together for fun and to raise awareness for SpecialEffect, and we don’t need people to sub to be able to continue doing that. Earning money from the channel for ourselves personally, regardless of how small the amount may be, seems like a way to turn an enjoyable hobby into a job for us.
I know many people won’t agree with this but it’s something we believe in. Our view is that taking money from someone makes them a customer who’s paying for a service, so it’s then up to you to ensure you’re providing them with what was purchased. That means streaming regularly, being online for an appropriate period and sticking to a published schedule. As explained in my post on Monday, this isn’t an obligation we want to be under: we want to be able to stream when we’re feeling motivated and put down the controller when we’ve had enough.
The Later Levels’ Twitch channel will always be a hobby for us. We’re under no illusion that we’re ever going to reach Partner status, have thousands of viewers or make it onto the front page – and we really don’t mind. We go live because we get enjoyment from streaming (and it gives Pete an excuse to occasionally buy more technology) and whether we’re Affiliated or not has no bearing on that. In fact, there’s a chance it may even add complications such as extra tax to be paid and paperwork to be completed.
We’re kind of sad about not being able to make use of some of the benefits of Affiliation though, such as personalised emotes. But there’s no way to activate this feature without turning on the sub button and that’s just not going to happen. Our channel is a place which is open to anyone who wants to hang out in chat, hear #KaraokePete make up some new songs and listen to me have an sporadic rant about something completely unrelated to video games. And we don’t want anybody to pay for the privilege of doing so.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that becoming an Affiliate is wrong or that we disagree with anyone who decides to accept an invitation. Everyone has to do what they feel is right for themselves and take their channel in a direction they’re comfortable with, and this post is simply my explanation about the direction for Later Levels. We’ll continue to support all our friends who reach the milestone, celebrate with them if they decide to go ahead with it and promote their streams whenever we can because we want to see them succeed.
There’s one thing we’ve agreed not to do though and that’s sub to any channels. The main reason for this is that we know a lot of people both inside WordPress and outside of the blogging community who stream, and it’s unfair to sub to some but not to everyone. Tell us you’re hosting a charity event however and we’ll be there in chat with donations at the ready to cheer you on as you support a good cause. I’d like to mention Athena from AmbiGaming here, who did such a great job in April with her Athena vs. COVID-19 stream.
To those people who have come along to one of our past streams and asked why there’s no sub button: you’re not going to see one any time soon but we’re really flattered that you’d like to support us. There’s actually something you could do instead. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, take a look at the SpecialEffect website and maybe visit the Later Levels blog every once in a while. These things – and more importantly, your friendship – are worth far more than a sub ever could be.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.