In a significant policy shift, Amazon-owned Twitch has announced that streamers can now simulcast their content across multiple platforms. The announcement was a highlight of TwitchCon 2023 in Las Vegas, where CEO Dan Clancy communicated the decision to an audience of thousands. This update comes as a response to growing competition from platforms like YouTube and Kick that have been wooing creators away from Twitch with attractive non-exclusive deals.
Background on Simulcasting Restrictions
Until recently, Twitch maintained stringent regulations regarding multi-streaming. Earlier in 2023, the company prohibited all streamers from multi-streaming to platforms similar to Twitch. However, in a move reflecting adaptability, Twitch has decided to rescind these rules. Now, creators can freely stream on Twitch while also reaching out to audiences on Kick, YouTube, and other platforms.
While this groundbreaking policy change was initially relayed by Clancy during TwitchCon, it was also confirmed by Twitch Support on Twitter for those who couldn’t attend the event.
New Simulcasting Guidelines
With this updated policy in place, Twitch has released specific guidelines that streamers must follow:
- Streamers must guarantee that the Twitch viewer’s experience is, at the very least, on par with experiences on other platforms.
- Directing viewers away from Twitch to view the simulcast on other platforms is discouraged.
- Using third-party services to merge chats or any other features from other platforms during a simulcast on Twitch is not allowed, ensuring the Twitch community has a comprehensive experience.
Impact on Top Streamers
Several renowned Twitch streamers have recently explored opportunities on alternative platforms. Notably, figures like xQc, Amouranth, and Nickmercs have entered into contracts with Kick, one of Twitch’s emerging competitors. Not being bound by exclusivity, these streamers are now free to exploit the new simulcasting provisions to their advantage. Moreover, popular streamer Ninja severed his exclusive agreement with Twitch in 2022, setting a precedent for such transitions.
Additional Announcements from TwitchCon
Simulcasting wasn’t the only update shared at TwitchCon. The company is planning several other changes aimed at enhancing user experience:
- Off-service Conduct Policy Update: Twitch aims to further protect its community by adding ‘doxxing’ and ‘swatting’ to the list of Off-Service Conduct violations.
- Product Changes: The co-streaming feature, previously known as Guest Star, will be renamed Stream Together, and will soon allow merged chats. Additionally, Twitch is testing a TikTok-inspired Discovery Feed and will soon enable custom animated emotes for alerts such as subscribers and Bits donations.
Speculations and Rationale
While the relaxation in simulcasting rules could seemingly impact Twitch’s bottom line, it may be a strategic move to retain top creators and ensure medium-sized streamers remain satisfied with their revenue streams. In light of many creators migrating to platforms like YouTube, allowing multi-streaming with fewer restrictions might be Twitch’s way of keeping its top talent. Only time will tell if this strategy will cement Twitch’s place as the foremost platform for live streaming, despite the increasing competition.
Future Implications for the Live Streaming Landscape
The dynamics of the live-streaming industry have evolved dramatically in recent years, with several platforms vying for dominance and creators seeking to maximize their reach and revenue. Twitch’s recent policy changes are a reflection of these evolving dynamics and offer a glimpse into the platform’s vision for the future.
Challenges and Opportunities for Twitch
With the relaxation of simulcasting restrictions, one of the immediate challenges Twitch might face is the potential dilution of its audience. As streamers multi-stream across various platforms, the unique viewership that Twitch once boasted may be dispersed across multiple platforms. However, on the flip side, this also provides Twitch with an opportunity to showcase its unique features, community engagement tools, and creator support systems to attract and retain both creators and viewers.
Twitch’s decision to embrace change and adapt its policies is a testament to the platform’s dedication to its creators and audience. As competition in the live streaming realm intensifies, it will be intriguing to observe how these policy changes impact Twitch’s user engagement and market position in the months and years to come.