A few years ago, I felt very strongly towards the development and adoption of Twitch as the ultimate streaming platform. However, once Amazon bought them out, I always had a concern in the back of my mind on how that transition would look. Today, my fears are fully realized and I decided that it’s time to put an end to my viewing days with them.
The big thing that Twitch has been doing is injecting ads directly into streams. Whether you follow or are an Amazon subscriber, you pretty much will now get them. I think only actual subscribers for streamers will be immune on that streamer. But pretty much this is the last straw.
Right now, Twitch is claiming that showing the ad itself helps the streamer. While this might be true to some degree, it’s really Twitch collecting all the money. Or should I say Amazon. And of course video ads are by far the worst ones in existence and these are the most intrusive, disruptive ads around.
Ad Blockers don’t seem to be effective since the ads themselves are inside the stream. I don’t know how much the streamer can control this but I suspect it’s little to none. Either way, I expect a good chunk of the audience to drop off as this format becomes more prevalent. I think that it just shows how desperate Amazon and Twitch are if they’ve gone to this length.
Luckily, there are other mediums out there that don’t share this issue. Twitch in itself is not special and it really has been the community at large that has given Twitch its personality and support.
However, besides the Amazon acquisition, I felt that the community itself has been slowly self-destructing and that the previous near-anarchic platform now is forcing those doing this full time to sell out to an even higher degree. It’s really sad to see a guy like Kripparian who had a great deal of enthusiasm for the games he would play, appear on screen and seem soul drained.
That said, I think the community (the smart ones at least) realize what Twitch is. It was a temporary thing and people who knew its true value have managed to milk it as much as they can.
I think all the rules and regulations that Twitch has slowly been imposing while turning a blind eye to certain higher ranking members in the streamer community show the typical corporate favoritism and money grubbing mentality.
Lastly, the whole Twitch Con crap is just worthless. I think it gives streamers a false sense of self-importance, especially those who have managed to secure a great number of viewership. I recall one time watching Swifty talk to a police officer and describing himself (along with Hotted) as “internet celebrities.” Quite rightfully, the police officer never really heard of them, which is just the reality of the whole tiny pockets of fandom that these platforms have managed to brainwash into people.
For myself, it just was a time consuming distraction. There were fun times and I enjoyed the occasional “cancer/aidz chat” with toxic communities just for the memes. But if the platform has decided to fully sell out and create this annoyance of a situation, I’ll simply find something else to dedicate my time to.
I already pulled out my subscriptions to Twitch a while back just because I felt the incentives for helping streamers create communities no longer existed. Instead, I feel that Twitch has become this toxic environment where it sends a bad message to young people on multiple levels, giving the ultimate impression that being a dead beat has more value to society than someone who does real work.
I know I’m not alone in my sentiments. But I think Twitch has created quite a bit of a negative feedback loop on the gaming community itself. The whole notion of esports is a complete joke to me. Yet I find it terrible that companies like Blizzard seem to posture themselves along those lines, favoring the elite (as most sycophantic systems do) rather than the actual masses who use their product as a simple form of distraction. I still wish the streamers themselves the best of luck because I think this latest move will end up alienating a good portion of their audience and we’ll be seeing massive drop offs in the near future. But with the cost of traffic perpetually driving up and even with Amazon’s infrastructure, Twitch won’t be able to sustain itself without figuring a better monetization strategy rather than defaulting to the usual content crap of ads.