Today, Twitch temporarily suspended the official channel of Donald Trump, the President of the United States, for hateful conduct.
Earlier this week, Microsoft abruptly announced that its game-centric livestreaming platform, Mixer, is not long for this world. After paying top dollar to scoop up household names like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek last year, Mixer will be no more as of next month. Suddenly, streamers who’ve staked their careers on the ocean-blue Twitch alternative are raftless, with even support from their own communities in question.
Today, out of the blue, Twitch suspended massively popular streamer Guy “Dr Disrespect” Beahm, a ban that multiple sources tell Kotaku is permanent.
Over the weekend, over 50 people, mostly women, in and around the world of Twitch came forward to accuse streamers and other industry figures, mostly men, of sexual abuse. As the week has progressed, that number has swelled to nearly 100. After the initial wave of accusations, Twitch promised to investigate and potentially take action. Now it has—or at least, it’s started to.
Over the weekend, a trickle of sexual harassment stories surrounding influential figures in the streaming world grew into a tidal wave. More than 50 streamers, most of them women, shared dozens of stories that have already produced vast reverberations, including the resignation of the head of one of the biggest management firms in all of streaming and the departure of over 20 streamers in his wake. In response, some streamers are boycotting the platform altogether today and refusing to stream.
Today, Fortnite’s oft-delayed season-ending “Device” event finally took place, dotting the map with explosions before submerging it beneath the ocean. Over two million viewers tuned in on Twitch to watch the sea consume all, a grim preview of the future that also awaits the popular game map we call “Earth.” This means that Fortnite now once again holds the all-time record for most concurrent viewers on Twitch—but with an asterisk.
Rajj Patel is one of the better-known names on Twitch. He hosts the wildest, most popular ongoing reality TV-like shows on the platform, including the Rajjchelor, a low-budget streamer take on The Bachelor, and Rajj Royale, a dramatic debate show. From now on, however, he’s simply going by his real first name: Austin.
Over the weekend, many streamers discovered an unpleasant surprise in their inboxes: an email from Twitch saying they’d received one or more copyright strikes on clips from their streams. If streamers receive three strikes, they risk an indefinite ban. The problem? The offending clips were not recent, but streamers hadn’t received any previous indication that there were ticking time bombs in their archives.
With protests raging over the murder of George Floyd and the racist institution of policing in general, Twitch streamers find themselves faced with the same choice as the rest of us: Speak up or stay silent. Difference is, many streamers have audiences numbering in the thousands or even millions. They can make a difference, but not all of them have chosen to.