Twitch is the online streaming platform where esports fans can see their favorite players in different titles, being League of Legends the game most viewed there with broadcasts that have accumulated 42.55 billion hours of playback.
It is a platform, owned by Amazon, that is immensely popular; it has 140 million monthly active users. In fact, earlier this year it represented the 72.3 percent of the audience of streaming of live video games, surpassing platforms such as Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming.
However, the company has been facing several problems lately, which have to do with harassment of content creators and internal data leakage. But regardless of how bad the company is going through, these facts reflect the inconveniences that plague the Twitch community.
In recent months, a large part of the streamers of Twitch has received some type of harassment in the chats of its transmissions, especially raids of hate. These are attacks by anonymous users, who use bots to harass creators with offensive messages in their chat. For that reason, streamers made a call to the community to boycott the platform on September 1 in a protest called #ADayOffTwitch.
The idea was not to broadcast on the platform during that day, and as a result, around a million viewers joined the protest, so the concurrent audience of the platform decreased a bit. The average Concurrent users on the platform is 4.5 million simultaneous viewers, but on September 1 it was 3.5 million.
Subsequently, on October 6, a hacker accessed Twitch’s servers and leaked internal data, posting a link to a 125GB torrent file on 4Chan. According to company, the leak was caused by an error in a Twitch server configuration change, which was later accessed by a malicious third party.
Specifically, data such as source code, proprietary software development kits (SDKs), and a previously unreleased Steam competitor from Amazon Game Studios were revealed. In addition, the payment data of the users and the amounts of the Twitch payments received by the users were leaked. streamers who have broadcast since 2019, which does not include donations or endorsements.
The gross payouts of the top 100 highest-paid Twitch streamers from August 2019 until October 2021: pic.twitter.com/3Lj9pb2aBl
& mdash; KnowSomething (@ KnowS0mething) October 6, 2021
According to a reddit post who analyzed the leaked data from the streamers From 2019 to present, 10 percent of the top 10,000 creators generate 49 percent of total earnings from streamers from Twitch. In addition, approximately 2,000 streamers they made more than $ 100,000 on the platform during that period.
On the other hand, the leaked payment data also revealed that most of the streamers they are men. In fact, the highest paid woman on the list, Pokimane, is ranked 39th. Also, most of those streamers They are also white and do not identify (publicly) as part of the LGBTQ + community.
These figures clearly reflect the lack of diversity both on the platform and in the gaming industry in general. The disparity between the streamers with higher income on the one hand and streamers marginalized at the other extreme, and it is the latter who receive raids hate and demand that the platform improve conditions for users.
Some streamers They believe that Twitch prioritizes creators who make the most money with their features, and the leakage of payment data has confirmed this in a way. “They are basing all their functions on that alone, but the rest of the platform cannot really grow. It is a huge handicap for anyone else, especially those who are BIPOC, LGBTQI + or disabled, ”he said. Lucia everblack to TechCrunch, a streamer transgender who was one of the organizers of the #ADayOffTwitch protest.
On the other hand, according to streamer called tehMorag (real name Scott Hellyer), YouTube has an algorithm that helps creators connect with people who want to see their content, and in the case of Twitch they have tried just that, but the results are never optimal, so that “discovery has always been a problem.”
“Now people say, ‘Oh, no wonder they don’t want to improve discovery, they just push people to the best streams, because they’re already making the money they need for Twitch.’ It’s a good return on investment, which is understandable, ”Hellyer said.
Everblack and other marginalized streamers have long been pushing Twitch to include discovery features, in order to diversify the creator platform. They insisted that the company add tags based on their identity to the broadcasts. That way, users could join them to support them. Twitch added the labels in May of this year, and according to Everblack, it has seen a lot of growth as a result.
On the other hand, there is the issue of harassment on the platform and targeted attacks. To help with this, Twitch has added some security measures. For example, now streamers They can ask viewers to verify their identity with an email or a phone number, so they have greater control of who comments on their transmissions.
However, much remains to be done to improve the platform. Everblack believes that Twitch would be better for marginalized creators, leaked or not, if it implemented more community-oriented features so they can help streamers smaller to feel safe while growing their channels.
In fact, Everblack suggests that the platform could add some feature for creators to reward well-behaved community users. He has also mentioned that they could generate tools for the great streamers Raid multiple streams from smaller creators, rather than referring thousands of people to a single channel.
New ideas for the platform are clearly out there, but whether Twitch will finally make any changes to improve the safety of its community and diversify it, rather than secure your wallet, remains to be seen.