Though Twitch is and has been the go-to platform in the streaming industry, it now seems that the internet is turning against the Amazon-owned site. Twitch's recent history has been packed with gaffe after gaffe, and some viewers and streamers are jumping ship ahead of what they perceive to be early signs of the platform's demise.
To many on the outside looking in, the past few weeks have been particularly bad for the streaming giant. Foremost of Twitch's worries was the unprecedented departure of star streamer Ninja this month, brought on by a lucrative contract with Microsoft stipulating that he exclusively stream on its rival streaming platform Mixer. Losing its top broadcaster so suddenly, Twitch erroneously elected to try something new with Ninja's now inactive account by using it as advertising space for other Fortnite streamers. Somehow, this led to a rule-breaking pornographic stream being at the top of this impromptu list of recommendations, prompting Ninja to respond online and start the process of having his Twitch account permanently deleted.
Controversy stirred after Ninja's abandonment of the site is simply the capstone of Twitch's ills and foibles, the rest of which has prompted the hashtag "#TWITCHISOVERPARTY" to trend on Twitter over the last couple of days. Angered primarily by supposed hypocrisy on Twitch's part regarding inconsistent enforcement of its terms of service, many viewers and streamers are celebrating this pseudo-cancellation of Twitch with their outcries of frustration. Citing well-known recent incidents of bannable behavior from popular streamers, such as when Alinity threw her cat off of her on-stream, and a number of ambiguous incidences of alleged hate speech, users argue that Twitch is reinforcing a harmful double standard by turning a blind eye to the actions of more highly viewed streamers that would otherwise suspend less popular accounts.
#TWITCHISOVERPARTY Seriously, @Ninja leaves @Twitch and they get salty to not only change his channel to a promotion channel but promoting a porn stream, meanwhile Alinty throws her cat, feeds it’s vodka, and says the Nword and nothing happens WHAT. The. Fuck.— NotYourZeel (@Zeel_Gaming) August 12, 2019
The sentiment that average Joe streamers aren't getting a fair rub when contrasted with their more widely recognized counterparts is understandable, as Twitch's monetization strategy relies most heavily on keeping its most-watched users up and streaming. Much like Twitch's chat section, itself, however, diving a bit deeper down the #TWITCHISOVERPARTY rabbit hole muddies the waters of the online crusade quite a bit. While some are reasonably focused on Twitch's unfair treatment of little-known channels versus famous ones, there are just as many or more preoccupied with a contrived and unabashedly sexist narrative that it's actually female streamers being let off the hook while males take the brunt of Twitch's incalculable ire.
Good and bad faith arguments about its problems and future aside, Twitch likely isn't going to be "over" any time soon. That said, the dust settling after Twitch's latest cluster of missteps does have one clear victor: Mixer. Microsoft's acquisition of the biggest name in streaming has sent well over a million viewers flocking to see Ninja in his new environment, and - while it may not ultimately kill Twitch outright - the move couldn't have come at a better time for the rival streaming space.