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Twitch Hit With Backlash And Boycott Threats—As Streamers Say New Rules Threaten Their Income

Aug 28, 2023

Live streaming platform Twitch is under fire Tuesday after announcing changes, which it says will be rewritten, to their branded content guidelines—another set of new policies that received criticism and boycott calls from popular streamers and content creators.

The logo for Twitch is displayed on a laptop computer in an arranged photograph taken in Little ... [+] Falls, New Jersey, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

The guidelines, which will become effective July 1, said the platform would restrict logos on streams from taking up more than 3% of the screen size, and prohibit video, audio and display ads from being put directly into streams—reducing the avenues available to streamers for advertising products and services.

Following the backlash, Twitch posted a twitter thread apologizing for the policy language being too broad—clarifying it would rewrite the guidelines and that its ad policy was not intended to "limit streamers’ ability to enter into direct relationships with sponsors."

Instead, the platform added that the guidelines were "intended to prohibit third party ad networks" from selling burned-in ads on its platform.

Zack Hoyt, a popular streamer known as Asmongold with 3.4 million Twitch followers, said in a tweet that the changes marked a "legitimate situation where streamers should consider boycotting Twitch," adding that the changes were being made so the company could "monopolize" more of streamers’ income.

Hoyt is a member of content creation group One True King, which wrote in a statement that the shows and exhibitions they produce "cannot exist under the suffocating canopy" of the new Twitch policies—further noting that alternatives to Twitch are on the rise.

Jimmy Donaldson, also known as MrBeast, who ranks 4th in the world in YouTube subscribers and does not use Twitch, said in a now-deleted tweet that he wanted to stream on a Twitch competitor to spite the company in a show of solidarity with Twitch streamers.

Live streaming competitors such as YouTube, Rumble and Kick have been used as alternatives by content creators—some of whom were among Twitch's highest-paid figures. Other creators, such as streamer Adin Ross, have flocked to the other platforms after being banned from or disciplined by Twitch for things like "unmoderated hateful conduct" in their chats.

$2.8 billion. That is roughly how much Twitch, an Amazon-owned platform, made in revenue last year, according to Business of Apps.

Twitch's content ranges beyond video games, as the platform is also used for the broadcast of live creative events that often feature the baked-in ads that will be restricted by next month. It is estimated that Twitch's top streamers have earned millions of dollars from the platform, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. Streamers' concerns and criticisms of Twitch's policies date back years. However, the most recent development that provoked a similar response to Tuesday's backlash was the company's plan to enact a 50/50 revenue split with top streamers. It announced last September that it would be peeling back the 70/30 revenue share obtained by bigger streamers down to a 50/50 split. In a blog post, the platform said top streamers would retain a 70/30 revenue share split for the first $100,000 "earned through subscription revenue." Anything above that would be decreased to a 50/50 split. Popular YouTuber and Twitch streamer Charles White Jr., otherwise known as MoistCr1TiKaL, said he would eventually stream on multiple platforms following the change.

Twitch streamers up in arms as new advertising rules limit sponsors and threaten to kill charity and esports events (Games Radar)

Twitch Crackdown on Creator Ads Sparks Calls for Boycotts and Protests (IGN)