Twitch Prime isn’t content to just give away free Fortnite skins and other in-game loot anymore. The premium streaming service subscription just announced itself as a kind of Games with Gold or PSN+ equivalent on the PC by beginning to offer five free games every month to members, all of which users can download and keep in perpetuity. Twitch is owned by Amazon, and that means that an Amazon Prime membership comes with a Twitch Prime membership for free. That means that not only will you get occasional in-game cosmetics and five free games every month, you’ll also get streaming video and two-day shipping at Amazon.com and free Whole Foods delivery in select markets.
The first month’s lineup is…excellent. Superhot garnered wide praise for its time-altering shooter mechanics, Oxenfree tells a tight, gripping horror story with just the right amount of teen angst and existential dread, and Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Samurai is just flat-out brilliant. It’s an isometric, squad-based stealth game where you guide a small team of ninjas and samurai through a beautifully-realized woodcut-inspired Edo Period Japan. I haven’t played Mr. Shifty though I know it’s been well-reviewed, and I don’t know a thing about Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation. So that’s at the very least three excellent games, which is a solid bargain for the price of free.
The Twitch Prime service has been slowly developing ever since Amazon acquired the streaming site back in 2014, but I’d argue that this constitutes the most important addition yet. The PC has a ton of services from a ton of different companies, but something like this benefits from the outsize profile of Twitch as well as the ancillary services provided by Amazon. Many people might have just found themselves with five free games without ever having clicked over to a single stream on Twitch, similar to the way I activated my Twitch Prime account for the first time when it offered me some free Overwatch loot.
An Amazon Prime membership is one of the most oddly versatile subscription services you can buy in a modern economy that loves to lock people into monthly payments: Whole Foods, streaming video, two day delivery and free PC games seem unrelated except for the curious way in which they perfectly collide into my exact demographic, something that hardly feels like a coincidence.