Commentary

Amazon's Twitch Prime Is Now Called Prime Gaming

Amazon has thrown a switch on its gaming service, Twitch Prime. It will hereinafter be known by the more straightforward -- and brand-consistent -- moniker of Prime Gaming.

“Twitch and Amazon will be rebranding Twitch Prime to Prime Gaming to ‘make it clearer’ to members, in line with other Amazon products…,” esports consultant Rod Breslau tweeted  early yesterday in breaking the story.

“With the new name, Prime Gaming sits more logically alongside some of the other digital content included with an Amazon Prime subscription, such as Prime Video for streaming movies and TV shows and Prime Reading for ebooks, digital magazines, and more. (Amazon Prime, which costs $12.99 per month or $119 per year, also offers benefits like free shipping on many of the platform’s online purchases),” Jay Peters writes  for The Verge.

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“With Twitch Prime, people got a free subscription to Twitch, the Amazon-owned livestreaming site, with free games from small studios and unique, in-game equipment and discounts for larger titles like Grand Theft Auto and League of Legends. Prime Gaming will expand those benefits and offer more titles and content, but will no longer require a Twitch account for access,” Kellen Browning writes  for The New York Times.

Amazon purchased Twitch for close to $1 billion in cash in 2014.

“Larry Plotnick, Prime Gaming’s director, said the gaming service started in 2016 with Twitch’s name attached because it was well known among gamers. But he said Amazon now believed that its own name carried significant weight.

“‘We felt very strongly that to support our game developers as partners, as well as to reach the most customers, the Prime Gaming brand creates a lot more value in that ecosystem,’ he said,” Browning continues.

“It has nothing negative to do about Twitch,” Plotnick tells  The Washington Post’s Elise Favis. “We love Twitch. We’re still very deeply partnered with them. But the goal here is really to reach as broad of an audience as possible, reach as many gamers as possible.”

“Twitch Prime originally launched in 2016, and Plotnick said it had a focus on ‘predominantly core gamers.’ The name change is part of an overall platform-agnostic vision of including different gamers who play on different devices. Quietly, over the last few years, that’s already begun with the inclusion of more mobile games (like in-game content for Yahtzee With Buddies) and other titles across various platforms,” Favis adds.

Besides the cosmetics, “I think the main reason for this change is something that has not happened yet: the arrival of Amazon’s game streaming service which will use AWS to stream games directly to devices like Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud are doing now. And when that does arrive, I have to believe it will be firmly under the ‘Prime Gaming’ banner,” Paul Tassi writes  for Forbes.

“The problem is that for now, the service, codenamed Project Tempo, has been delayed. It was originally supposed to either debut or at least be announced by this fall, but last we heard about it back in April 2020 was that it had been delayed until some time in 2021 via a NYT article  that spotlighted that Amazon was ‘making games, not just streaming them,’ highlighting titles Crucible and New World,” Tassi continues.

Yesterday’s rebranding, in fact, “comes just over a month after the company pulled its original big-budget game, ‘Crucible,’ from digital store shelves after it was panned as a ‘hollow and forgettable experience,’” the NYT’s Browning writes. 

It’s back in closed beta.

Whatever you call it and despite the slip-ups, the service has its fans.

“Prime Gaming -- nee Twitch Prime -- is one of gaming’s more underrated services. All you have to have is Amazon Prime, which many of us do anyway, and you get loads of free games and stuff…. I think it’s somewhat slept-on because I rarely hear people talk about how great it is, but it is honestly a pretty great service,” Rachel Kaser writes  for The Next Web.

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