Update: Twitch has confirmed that $10 and $25 channel subscription tiers are coming "very soon," beginning with an opt-in "rolling beta" program for partnered channels.
"Complementing the current $4.99 option, partnered content creators will have new $9.99 and $24.99 subscriptions that allow viewers to offer additional levels of support. Subscriptions are a defining part of the Partnership program since it enables fans to show appreciation for their favorite creators, while adding to the native language of Twitch by introducing new emotes daily," Twitch said. " In addition to providing the community with more options to support their favorite creators at higher levels, Partners will be able to reward their super fans with special perks, such as new exclusive emotes."
Twitch also said that giftable channel subscriptions are coming later this year. More information about the new channel subscription tiers is available on the Twitch blog.
A leaked email making the rounds on Reddit and NeoGAF says that Twitch will soon give streamers the option of offering their followers two new subscription tiers, at $10 and $25 per month. The program, scheduled to start as an opt-in beta for Twitch Partners later this month, will also expand the subscriber requirements for emotes from 14 tiers to 50, which means they'll "unlock more gradually," but also more easily, in sync with community growth.
The stated priority is making life better for streamers, but subscribers will see upsides too. "Any viewer purchasing any first-time sub will now able to send a custom message," the email said. "You'll also be able to offer coveted exclusive emotes for higher-priced subscriptions, which let fans show off their commitment to your channel."
The obvious question, as seen in the comments on both sites, is whether any individual streamer is worth $25 per month. My instinctive reaction is an easy "no," but as several commenters pointed out, people spend as much or more than that on Patreons that produce content at a far slower rate. Nearly 100 people subscribe to the Kinda Funny Patreon at $25 or higher, for instance, and the $10-$15 tiers pull in another 600 subscribers between them.
Clearly there's demand for higher-priced tiers among supporters (or at least a willingness to pay for them), and also it's not unreasonable to say that streamers should be allowed to charge pretty much whatever they want for their work. Likewise, plenty of high profile streamers already get one-off donations from viewers which far exceed the amounts we're talking about here.
Obviously, there are questions. Will Twitch take a deeper cut from the higher subscription tiers? Will new exclusives be rolled out to encourage people to pay more for their content? And, of course, is this email is actually legitimate in the first place? I've reached out to Twitch for confirmation, and will update if I receive a reply. In the meantime, here's one more: If $25 subscriptions are coming to Twitch, who if anyone would you pay that amount for?