It’s past midnight on a Tuesday. Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa stands in her bedroom, which emanates a soothing purple glow. Clad in a fire engine-red top and a choker with a heart-shaped clasp, she appears neither bored nor tired, nor does her tongue seem to be pulsating in agony. This is pertinent information because, for 12 of the past 24 hours, Siragusa has been licking a microphone.
What does it mean to be authentic on Twitch? Who is real and who is fake on a platform where everybody is a brand, but also where a cornerstone of that brand is the appearance of down-to-earth chillness? This is the implicit question of the week on Twitch, and it’s all thanks to Imane “Pokimane” Anys.
If there’s anything to be learned from being on the internet, it’s that things are always more complicated than they seem…on the internet. Yesterday evening, this played out in real time between two hugely popular streamers.
Turns out, people like butts.
It’s hot tub stream summer, and everybody’s got an opinion. This week, for example, the biggest streamer on Twitch, Félix “xQc” Lengyel, called hot tub streams “trash,” saying that they’re “the most pathetic thing we’ve seen on Twitch in forever” and petitioning for them to be removed from the front page. It was the latest in a long line of similar opinions from names both big and small that date back to when hot tub streams first popped off in March. But according to hot tub streamers, this trend, like any other, is already coming down from its peak.
It’s no secret that Twitch has a problem with viewbots, which are fake viewers that artificially inflate streamers’ numbers. They’ve been part of the ecosystem for years, both as a means of making streamers look more popular than they are and, more recently, a tool trolls use maliciously to try to bring Twitch’s punitive wrath down on streamers they don’t like. Twitch, for its part, only acknowledged the issue sporadically. Until this week.
Today, the top streamer on Twitch was forced to quit mid-stream because, he says, he forgot to pay his power bill. He is a millionaire. You hate to see it.
CodeMiko is nervous. I can tell because she tells me. “This is, like, my first interview ever,” she says over a Discord call. “I’m sorry, I’m a little shy.” It’s December of 2020, and Miko’s entire life is about to change.