Yesterday, the president of Twitch, Dan Clancy, announced a change to the revenue system that would mean some of the top performing Twitch streamers will get less money. According to Clancy, Twitch was making this change in order to afford increasing server costs.The changes would not affect “the vast majority” of creators, but the blog post upset those who felt that Twitch was taking too much money and offering too little support.
Previously, Twitch—owned by Amazon—had offered a special 70/30 revenue split for content creators who grew their viewership, while most streamers split their revenue 50/50 with the platform. The changes would keep the 70/30 ratio on the first $100,000 for those who were grandfathered into this better deal, but beyond this, every dollar above that amount would be split evenly with Twitch. Clancy acknowledged that 22,000 creators have asked Twitch to move everyone to the 70/30 mode, but said the company won’t move in that direction, because Amazon Web Services cost too much money. Kotaku reached out to Twitch to ask if they’re being overcharged by their own sister company, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
As some streamers have pointed out, server costs feel like a flimsy excuse when both AWS and Twitch are owned by Amazon, one of the highest earning companies in the world. And it feels especially bittersweet that Twitch is moving in the opposite direction of what thousands of revenue earners had asked for.
One Apex Legends streamer made a parody video about why creators were pissed about Twitch even before they tried to increase revenue by taking a slice from their subscriptions.
“Here at Twitch, we believe in manipulating our creators into thinking Twitch is the only place where you can be successful,” said Aaron, known as Big E. “We do this by giving everyone a false sense of hope: an easy path to affiliation…This is of course to hook you in, so you can spend four years of your life grinding for Twitch Partner.” He pointed out that the partner program didn’t provide additional benefits, and that the company relied on streamers becoming big on a different platform before bringing their audience to Twitch. “Feel like you’re being screwed here? That’s okay. Because you are.”
Even the former head of gaming at YouTube wanted to weigh in. “Regardless of size, the creator should be getting a disproportionate amount—this shouldn’t even be up for debate,” said Ryan Wyatt on Twitter. “The real focus should be increasing viewership across the platform to scale ad dollars.” Ouch. It’s definitely a little embarrassing to be getting hot business tips from someone who used to work for your main competitor!
Streamers are trying to send a message to Twitch that their revenue changes are not okay. Shannon Plante tweeted that her fellow streamers should boycott Twitchcon, and to consider a walkout like Pokimane did.
“Streamers should organize,” she said.