Unless you’ve been living under a rock, anyone who is familiar with streaming website Twitch knows that there are rumours of a Google/YouTube acquisition for $1 billion. If you’re interested in the back story, you can read the Polygon report, but here I want to talk about my personal thoughts and how this might impact streamers.
Obviously, my channel on Twitch is relatively small, with only 150+ followers so far, as I’ve only been streaming there for a short time. However I am a “Turbo” user, meaning I pay monthly in order to receive certain benefits (such as no ads, custom colours in chat and a different set of emotes) and also subscribe to two streamers on a regular basis. I also have intentions of continuing to stream there more regularly myself, and while I doubt I’ll ever have the viewerbase of some of the people I love there, I still feel it has the potential to impact me as a viewer and streamer alike.
Firstly, there are positive sides to this acquisition assuming it goes through. For example, Google is notorious for having excellent server coverage across the globe, which is something Twitch currently, unfortunately, lacks. It’s no secret that their data centres struggle from time to time with the massive population of European users, not to mention an incredibly poor experience in Oceania. With a Google acquisition, could we expect to see increased stability and better service worldwide?
A lot of streamers are pretty concerned about the bid. YouTube has notoriously not been the most supportive of its content creators recently, making it frustrating for viewers to comment on videos, hassling creators into using their real names on videos (and repeatedly prompting them to do so if they say no), and various issues with copyright claims. If these kinds of issues come to Twitch, this would make the experience of streaming and watching streams extremely frustrating and not at all user-friendly.
However, with all that said, there are just as many streamers — including those with larger viewerbases — who don’t seem at all concerned, and are patiently awaiting more information. On the plus side, the reports explain that talks are still ongoing, and nothing is settled for sure just yet. Also, there are claims that part of the discussions will be on how independent Twitch can continue to operate if they are picked up by another company, which is great. There are plenty of companies out there, especially games companies, that have managed to retain their independence despite being acquired by a bigger company. I’ll withhold too much of my judgement until we get more information, as at least for the timebeing it’s still just a rumour. We’ll see how it goes!
Let me know in the comments below!