Twitch, an American video game live-streaming platform, announced on Tuesday its decision to cease operations in South Korea effective February 27, 2024. Twitch chief executive officer Dan Clancy in a blog attributed high operating costs as the primary reason behind the decision while acknowledging the disappointment it brings to the Korean community.
Despite rigorous efforts to cut down costs, including experimenting with a peer-to-peer model and limiting source quality to 720p, the network fees in Korea remain substantially higher—almost ten times more than in most other countries. “Twitch has been operating in Korea at a significant loss, and unfortunately there is no pathway forward for our business to run more sustainably in that country,” Clancy said.
Clancy emphasized that this situation is unique to Korea, where operating costs are significantly higher than in other countries, and that this decision does not reflect Twitch’s global operations, which continue in other regions. The company further commits to assisting the creators associated with Twitch in transitioning to alternative live-streaming platforms within Korea. The company is actively engaging with several streaming services to facilitate this shift and will keep the affected streamers informed about the progress.
For further information and community engagement, Twitch has scheduled live streams. A specific stream for the Korean community is set for December 6 at 9:30 am KST on /TwitchKR, and an additional session for the global audience will be hosted by Clancy on the same day at 11 am KST on /Twitch.
Primarily known for video game streaming, Twitch was acquired by Amazon in 2014 and since then has grown into a major platform for internet culture and community-building around shared interests. It’s also used for streaming other activities, like music performances, cooking shows, and ‘Just Chatting’ sessions. Viewers can watch these live streams, interact with streamers through a chat function, and subscribe to their favorite channels. Twitch also includes features like emotes for chat interaction, channel memberships, and the ability for viewers to support streamers through donations.
In September, the company said to ban unlicensed crypto gambling livestreams w.e.f. October 18 following severe backlash from some of its top creators. Some of its top personalities even threatened to stop streaming if the company did not take appropriate steps to monitor gambling.