Twitch streamers are outraged as new advertising rules restrict sponsors and threaten to destroy charity and esports events

Update: Twitch has apologized on Twitter in response to criticism of its new branded content policy, admitting that the update is “too broad”.

“We do not intend to restrict streamers’ ability to form direct relationships with sponsors, and we understand that this is an important part of streamers’ revenue,” says the streaming service. “We wanted to clarify our existing ads policy, which should prohibit third-party ad networks from selling branded video and display ads on Twitch, in line with other services. We missed the mark in drafting the policy and will rewrite the policy.” Be clearer. Thank you for sharing your concerns and we appreciate your feedback. We will notify the community as soon as we update the language.”

The reaction to Twitch’s statement was no more forgiving than the reaction to the original rule change. The new branded content policy was very specific, so it’s uncertain what Twitch can make “clearer” in a way that appeases disappointed and angry streamers.

Original story follows…

Twitch has updated its branded content policy with sweeping advertising restrictions, angering countless streamers and threatening the financial viability of event channels, including esports and charity streams.

Streamer Zach Bussey drew attention to the new content guidelines in a tweet that quickly became a gathering place for thousands of vocal critics. Put simply, Twitch says it will no longer allow “burned-in” pre-recorded video, audio, or other display ads like graphics, preventing streamers from embedding such promotions directly into their overlay. Sponsored logos are also limited to 3% of the screen, which is a tiny quadrant of your average 1080p stream.

Streamers still have the ability to discuss, endorse, and unbox sponsored products; play sponsored games on stream; showcase sponsored products in the background of their stream cam (although the rule for virtual backgrounds that vtuber use is an odd gray area); link to other websites in promotions; and add branded panels to their channel’s information displayed under their actual stream.

(Image credit: Twitch)

To put it mildly, the response to these changes has been negative. To put it less mildly, many of the biggest streamers on the platform are actively discussing exiting Twitch for good, with this news only adding to monetization complaints following shifts in the sharing of the platform’s advertising and subscriber revenue.

Bussey himself admitted: “I honestly have to reconsider whether Twitch is the place where I want to create content in the future.”

Charlie, also known as MoistCr1TiKaL or penguinz0, stated without reservation: “It’s actually amazing how Twitch manages to make the scariest changes imaginable.”

Alex Jebailey, founder of fighting games hub CEO Gaming and face of Twitch’s iconic Jebaited emote, joked that he “will give up being the global emote known as Jebaited as a peace offering to not push these new advertising policies that hurt all creators.” .” big or small.”

Zack Hoyt, better known as Asmongold, was quick to argue that “this is a legitimate situation where streamers should consider boycotting Twitch or moving to other platforms,” ​​announcing his own plans to get away.

It would basically kill any sponsors that our live events can partner with to help us.

Alex Jebailey

“There is no reason for Twitch to do this other than to monetize, monopolize and exploit smaller streamers,” he said in a widely shared clip online. “And remember, these are all streamers. That’s pranking someone like me and it’s about the 300 viewer Andy you watch at night for your own niche game. So yes, I will be moving to another platform – not exclusive.” , I will continue to stream on Twitch occasionally – if that works out.”

Similar reactions came from big vtubers like VShojo’s Zentreya who, like many others, said: “This is really ridiculous as many sponsors use different methods to get us to promote products and brands.”

Of particular concern are event channels such as SGDQ, which only recently wrapped up airing in 2023 (and yes, that timing caused quite a stir). Speedrunners, charities, showcases, esports, and similarly structured channels rely heavily on the types of advertising that Twitch has banned, limiting their ability to monetize and thus fund their content.

The fighting game community in particular has expressed concern about the future of tournaments on Twitch, which rely heavily on sponsors accustomed to a much larger chunk of screen time than Twitch is suggesting here. Bear in mind that this comes right after Street Fighter 6, which would have been ripe for tournament activity.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Twitch sees the feedback on this and doesn’t really go through with it as it would basically destroy any sponsors that our live events could partner with to help us,” added Jebailey. In a response, Jebaily reiterated that if these changes endure, he expects platform switching “to be explored as an option more than ever.”

SGDQ 2023 was slightly smaller and slower than last year’s event, which raised over $3 million for charity, but still raised $2.2 million.