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Twitch launches subscription service to watch live video games

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E-sports — watching and streaming live video games — has been gaining steady traction among gamers who tune in to see professional players and amateurs like themselves run through levels and beat back the bad guys in a variety of games.

One of the largest e-sports platforms, Twitch, announced Monday that it will even launch a subscription service called Twitch Turbo to give users a better experience when watching its programming for $9 per month. The biggest feature? No ads.

Video platforms like Twitch historically make most of their money from display advertising, but it’s no secret that users aren’t always eager to sit through commercials — particularly when they interfere with live programming. Offering another tier of the service, much in the way Hulu does, lets Twitch pay its advertisers without annoying its audience.

And it’s a devoted audience. On average, the company said viewers watch an hour and half of video per day. Additionally, the company said, nearly two-thirds of its 23 million users log into the site every day.

Twitch has recently raised its profile in the gaming world by announcing a partnership with one of the industry’s largest franchises — Call of Duty.

It’s the first time the company has partnered with a console game. “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2:" players can share their gameplay in real-time, including voice and video chat, to Twitch by logging into the streaming service.

Matthew DiPietro, Twitch’s vice president of marketing, said that the company is working with other franchises to get more partners on board and increase the number of players who create and watch its content. Twitch is in conversation with numerous conversations with developers, as well as working to get broadcasting enabled for consoles, phones and tablets as well.

“We want to remove those barriers anywhere,” DiPietro said.

Twitch Turbo subscribers also get extra perks, such as exclusive font colors in chatrooms, better emoticons and the ability to jump Twitch’s customer service line.

Related stories: YouTube could introduce paid subscriptions this spring Planetside 2 to incorporate live-playcasting from Twitch After poker, is gaming set to be a TV hit? Sign up today to receive #thecircuit, a daily roundup of the latest tech policy news from Washington and how it is shaping business, entertainment and science.

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