The Trouble with Twitch

I’m becoming very concerned about something. I spend much of my time online and I get this feeling that content, customer service and ultimately people are ceasing to become important being completely replaced with automation, viewing figures and money. I’m not one to rant in my blog posts but I am one to tackle and engage with issues which I think are important. The issue which I am becoming concerned with is that I don’t think that Twitch cares any more…

For those of you who are not familiar with Twitch, it was launched in June, 2011 and is described by Wikipedia as “a live streaming video platform owned by Twitch Interactive”. It is a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc and in 2015 it announced that it had more than 1.5 million broadcasters and 100 million visitors per month. It focuses on video gaming, creative content, and more recently, (according to Wikipedia) music broadcasts. Anyone can make an account on Twitch and enjoy either viewing the existing content – from game play to cooking, or actually broadcast live and interact with an audience. For the popular ‘streamers’ Twitch offers a partnership deal when people subscribe to their channels for benefits including giveaways and special icons to use in the interactive chat. The actual concept it a fantastic one and as both a broadcaster and viewer I have enjoyed many hours watching people play games and streaming my own attempts at gaming.

You have to remember that I am a ‘small scale’ streamer. My channel only has about 250 followers and I generally get between 2 and 15 viewers on average when I am streaming. I’m not looking for partnership – mainly because I don’t think people would want to pay to see my content – and I keep my channel going because I enjoy streaming. So why do I think that Twitch is no longer caring?

I recently saw something appear on Twitter which showed a channel which is still live of some streamers streaming what could only be described as ‘naked’ and ‘sexual’ content. This channel, now that many streamers have shared it around Twitter, has probably been taken down, however the reports stated that it had been live for four days! You might be thinking at this point that having 1.5 million broadcasters that a four day turn around might be a good response rate. However, when I broadcasted some of my radio station on Twitch and tagged it with the ‘music’ it was taken down within one minute with my complete channel being banned for 24 hours due to breach of the Music Code of Conduct. I understand that I breached the code of conduct and accept the ban, however, is there not a sense of split standards here? Being of my age I expect to get some insults within my channel and recently after a rather ‘nasty’ attack we (as in me and my moderators) banned a user from the channel who then created a new account and came back and continued the insults. After reporting the user and both channels to customer services, the freshly created channel was eventually been removed with the initial user’s channel still active. It amazes me that this user has not been banned from Twitch – is he being allowed to continue these insults to other users? I am completely confused.

Email has become one of the primary forms of communication across the internet especially when you are communicating internationally across time zones. The length of time companies respond to emails and the content of the response actually provides an indication of the commitment the company has to its customers. Automated responses are quite common, saying that the email has been received and the process which will follow. This response often states the time frame within which the response can be expected. After the ban for the music playing (sorry I know I shouldn’t make blogs personal) I emailed Twitch to ask how I could become one of the stations that they allow to broadcast on Twitch. Days and days past before I eventually got my reply – “Thank you for your email. At this time, we are not pursuing radio broadcasts on Twitch.” That was the complete content of the email – no salutation, no who it was from, no if you have any further questions please get in touch – nothing. The email didn’t even address the initial question. I replied to this email on the 21st July 2016 – this was with Twitch’s legal department – I have yet to hear a response from the email I sent – not even an automated response. Now, this might just be an individual situation and it might just be related to my channel but is this how a company as big as Twitch should be treating their customers?

It appears to me that Twitch no longer cares about people whether these might be viewers, small scale streamers or the huge streamers which actually make their living from the streaming. I think that Twitch has a responsibility to all its viewers and streamers – channels who are streaming inappropriate content or people who delight in being insulting or nasty within streamer’s chat should be banned instantly for 24 hours. During this twenty four hours issues and reasons can be investigated before people and channels are allowed to be un-banned. Twitch should also endeavour to respond to their users within a specific time frame and create automated responses to initial emails detailing actions and timings for the user. These are just my thoughts about Twitch and I might be completely in a minority here and everyone else might enjoy fantastic customer service from them. If this is the case, then I apologise for the points I have made, but I still think that if some people enjoy a fantastic response then all users of Twitch should also be entitled to this.

So, do you use Twitch? What are your views about the service they provide? Have you had any interactions with their customer service department? As always it will be interesting to hear your comments so please add them below. You can keep up to date with my content by following me on Twitch, Twitter and Facebook. If you are interested in joining or playing Minecraft, then please check out my Minecraft webpage for details of joining the the server. Of course any subscribers to my YouTube channel are always appreciated.

Have fun and I’ll catch you all later and, until then, consider yourself waffled!

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