Twitch Going Terminal?: Streaming Service Faces Multiple Controversies

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The past month has not been very good for Twitch.tv

The streaming platform, once known as a hub for gaming content has expanded in recent years to include variety streamers, ASMR channels, body-painting, political commentary, and all sorts of entertainment features. However, recent controversies, bannings, and their star streamer leaving the service leave many questions hanging in the air about what is going on with the platform.

First and foremost, we should discuss the case of Natalia Mogollon, otherwise known as Alinity. Having first risen to internet infamy for allegedly abusing the copyright system against YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, otherwise known as Pewdiepie, last year, she was recently caught on film lifting and throwing her pet cat bodily from her desk. It was later revealed that she had also fed another of her cats a small amount of vodka directly from her lips on stream at an earlier date.

Many complained over this behavior, including PeTA, and many demanded for Alinity to be banned because of it, however, as of this time, no action from Twitch has been taken. This is of note as Twitch has, in the past, invoked a very strict policy against anything that could be considered animal abuse which has allegedly lead to members being banned for far less.

With this controversy winding down but still present in the minds of most who care about the platform, in the past two days, much bigger news has come to the fore.

At the forefront, Flagship Fortnite streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, has parted ways with Twitch to stream on Microsoft-owned competitor service Mixer, apparently under an exclusive license. This is a rather large deal, considering Ninja maintained a follower base of over 14.7 Million people, and that Fortnite is Twitch.tv’s most popular game to be streamed on the service.

With Blevins out of the picture, Twitch will likely see itself suffer a considerable blow in ad revenue; perhaps not so much considering the sheer number of streamers on the platform, but if others choose to follow Blevins, things could get worse.

Of course, sliding in behind this larger story, is the latest crackdown following the Democratic party debates. Three entertainers and political pundits, Hasan Piker (of The Young Turks media network), Steve “Destiny” Bonnell II, and Mychal Ramon “TriHex” Jefferson, were all issued bans from the platform, over copyright infringement as they live-streamed the aforementioned CNN debate on their channels while providing commentary. While this is arguably a valid ToS violation for Twitch to go after considering the potential limited transformation involved in such a stream, these three individuals were not exactly small figures within the streaming community at large.

At current, Twitch as a platform seems to be beset on all sides, including from within. Failure to keep a fair and equally enforced standard has angered the average user, they’ve bled their key talent, and now find themselves banning other smaller stars in a bid to appease media moguls and avoid potential lawsuits. If controversies of this nature continue unabated, those who care about monetizing their entertainment potential via live-stream may find in time that Twitch is no longer the go to service in the industry.