Twitch announced that Affiliates will now earn 5% of the revenues earned from games and in-game items their viewers purchase.
It works something like this: Affiliates stream games available from Twitch Games Commerce, their viewers purchase those games or related in-game items, and Twitch gives the affiliates 5% of those revenues. The idea is that streamers ought to be rewarded for what basically amounts to free marketing while also encouraging people to purchase games from Twitch instead of better-established marketplaces like Steam or GOG.
This revenue sharing model was previously restricted to Partners--who are one notch above Affiliates in Twitch's hierarchy of streamers--but the ability to earn money when your audience buys a game you've streamed is quickly expanding. Twitch announced the revenue sharing for Partners in February, and the Twitch Affiliate Program debuted in April, so it didn't take long for a previously Partner-exclusive feature to reach Affiliates.
The Twitch Affiliate Program is supposed to provide a middle ground between hobbyists and professional streamers. Affiliates have access to some Partner features (the ability to Cheer with Bits, which are animated emoticons, and this new revenue sharing model) but not all. To that end, it's almost surprising that Affiliates will earn the same 5% cut from purchases originating from their streams as the Partners who got the feature first.
Twitch said it's celebrating the expansion of Twitch Games Commerce by offering double the Twitch Crates from June 7-14. These crates offer access to emotes, badges, and Bits, all of which are designed to make sure you keep interacting with the streaming service. The company is effectively building its own little ecosystem where people buy games from Twitch, stream them on Twitch, and then discuss them on Twitch.
Affiliates don't have to do anything to enable this feature--a purchase button will automatically appear on your page when you play a game Twitch sells. Oh, and if you're waiting for Affiliates to get subscriptions, you're going to have to wait a bit longer. Twitch said it's "working on" bringing the feature over to Affiliates. In the meantime, Partners can enjoy having a few exclusive features, at least for a little while.