Twitch published their new guidelines on branded streams, which sparked outrage from many streamers. Branded streams feature products and services such as sponsored gameplay, paid product placements and many more.
According to the new policy, on-screen logos are limited to 3% of the screen size. Additionally, “burned in” video ads, audio ads and banners are not allowed, where most streamers get a huge fraction of their income. Twitch will allow branded panels, displaying products in the background, adding links, unboxing products and sponsored games. Twitch also added branded content disclosure tool to the streamer’s dashboard. These new rules are expected to roll out at the beginning of July.
Streamers responded to this new policy
Understandably, the reaction to this policy change was met with widespread backlash. The consensus in the creator community is that this policy change would effectively make events run on Twitch effectively impossible. This is because sponsors pay to run burned in video ads during these events. Additionally, as MoistCr1TiKaL pointed out, this would hurt many streamers’ bottom line, especially gaming streamers, because many game companies pay for display ads during sponsored game Let Plays.
Many streamers even called for boycotting the platform. Zack Hoyt, popularly known as Asmongold and a member of One True King (OTK), said in a tweet that the team would leave the platform if the new guidelines were pushed through.
In the midst of this controversy, Twitch apologized in a tweet as the policy as “overly broad” that led to “confusion and frustration.” They said they “missed the mark with the policy language” and that they would “rewrite the guidelines to be clearer.”
Twitch then released an updated version of its policy change, rewording the language of the changes. However, ultimately, the policy changes still stand.
What does this mean for creators?
As it stands, the policies appear to be going through. But it doesn’t look like streamers have to worry just yet. As YouTube streamer and former Twitch star Ludwig suggests, it appears that while the policies are still being put in place, it doesn’t appear that Twitch will target individual streamers or events. Instead, it seems that they may go after larger corporations that have the capability of inserting banners and mid-roll ads without a deal with Twitch. “I think the argument is that they’re trying to put this language — at least legally — into the terms of service, so [those large companies] no longer operate,” Ludwig says in one of his videos uploaded to Mogul Mail.
Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer here. It’s possible that Twitch wants to crack down on large companies exploiting ads. It’s also possible it intends to enforce these policies on individuals and events. If that is Twitch’s intent, we hope that they reconsider this policy. This will not only hurt the platform but also hurt creators, big and small, and effectively kill events on Twitch. We’ll just have to see how Twitch enforces these policies.