Twitch, the top gaming live-streaming platform in the world, tried to sneak massive restrictions to sponsorships and advertisements past its streamers and community Tuesday.

The move would ban most of the ways top streamers make money on the platform through sponsors. This included banning banner ads, logos, and even “burned-in” ads. Burned-in ads are simply video ads inserted directly into a stream. Many top Twitch streamers rely on all of these kinds of ads to make a majority of their income.

The platform may have been trying to ban most popular types of outside advertising on its platform to push all sponsorships and ads through Twitch to get its cut.

The decision to release this update to Twitch’s guidelines was truly baffling. It’s hard to imagine that Twitch didn’t know that it would spawn incredible backlash and yet when it did, it immediately tried to back-track.

The initial response to the backlash was almost as mind-boggling as the announcement. It released a Twitter thread soon after the announcement.

Instead of admitting the obvious purpose of the changes, it tried to obfuscate the reasons for the changes and seemed to entirely contradict the policy change announcement. It said that the announcement was “overly broad” and that it created “confusion and frustration.”

It even went as far as to say that it does not “intend to limit streamers’ ability to enter into direct relationships with sponsors” which seems to be a clear contradiction. The express nature of the extremely specific policy changes was to limit streamers’ ability to fulfill sponsorship obligations.

The community quickly called Twitch out for the strange, backpedaling response. Some even said that it insulted the community by implying that it was their fault for ‘misunderstanding’ the changes.

Many angry community members pointed out that the policy changes were far from broad, including specific figures on the sizes of ads allowed.

About 24 hours of heated backlash later, Twitch dropped another Twitter thread, claiming that they removed the new guidelines entirely. It made a complete 180° turn and even called its own new guidelines “bad for you and bad for Twitch.”

Twitter’s Community Notes and a few commenters added that the damaging new guidelines seemed to still be in Twitch’s Terms of Service, hours after the thread was Tweeted. It seems unlikely that Twitch would actually keep the guidelines in for long after promising to remove them publicly, however.

The question remains, who’s idea was this disaster and how did no one at Twitch catch it?

The Fallout of the Twitch Sponsorship Debacle

Despite rolling back the changes, droves of Twitch’s top streamers are already planning to leave the platform. They mostly focus on how they can no longer trust Twitch to have their interests in mind and that changes like the ones proposed could evaporate their main source of income overnight.

Individual streamers aren’t the only ones affected by the proposed changes either. Most of the organizations, eSport teams, and award shows on the platform would have to leave Twitch or even be forced to completely dissolve under the new policy.

Tips Out, a co-founder of a massive organization of many of the top Twitch streamers called One True King (or OTK), said that OTK would be forced to leave Twitch if the guidelines went through. He called the new policy “a direct attack on our business, staff, and all of the hard work we have put into our organization.”

Charlie White (also known as Moist Cr1tikal or Penguinz0), one of the platform’s most popular streamers with over 5 million followers, made a YouTube video titled “Twitch is Dead” soon after the first announcement.

In the video, he said that he expects a mass exodus of streamers and even said that he may start streaming on other platforms. He also worried that his new eSports organization wouldn’t be able to function under the new policy.

Twitch makes a vast majority of its money from the top streamers on its platform so if too many leave, it may go under. Twitch will need to show its top streamers that it won’t rip away their income at a moment’s notice but it may already be too late. The company may also get a visit from Amazon, its parent company, to help it not make such disastrous decisions in the future.

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