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Twitch is shutting down in Korea, here’s why and what happens

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Twitch is ceasing operations in South Korea, with streamers essentially being left adrift by the platform.

February 27, 2024 will be the last day of Twitch’s Korean operations. After this date, viewers won’t be able to purchase any of Twitch’s products and streamer will not generate revenue. The decision comes after the Amazon-owned company faced high operational costs.

“The cost of running Twitch in Korea is currently prohibitively high. We have put a lot of effort into finding ways to continue operating in Korea by reducing costs,” Twitch CEO Dan Clancy wrote on the official Twitch blog.

According to the CEO, the network fees in Korea are significantly higher in the country than in much of the world, with Twitch saying costs are 10 times higher than in most other regions. He says that as a result of this, “Twitch has been operating in Korea at a significant loss” and has reached the point where it can’t continue.

Clancy says Twitch will assist streamers in migrating their followers to other platforms, including by allowing links to services like AfreecaTV and YouTube. The company is also said to be in conversations with these platforms, hoping to make the transition smoother for streamers and viewers alike. While Twitch is closing down, AfreecaTV’s stock price increased by 25% with the announcement.

What is AfreecaTV?

AfreecaTV is a Korean livestreaming platform that has a large presence in esports. Alongside Kwangdong Pharmaceutical, AfreecaTV owns and operates Kwangdong Freecs, a team competing in the LCK.

The streaming platform has a dedicated esports hub with sections for each team. Inside a team’s page, viewers can browse between the different players’ streams. Partnered teams include T1, KT Rolster, Gen.G, Kwangdong Freecs, DRX, OK Brion, Liiv Sandbox, Hanwha Life Esports, and Talon’s Valorant team. Like Twitch, AfreecaTV isn’t strictly video game-focused with channels covering everything from cooking to politics in Korea.

What will happen to Korea’s Twitch streamers?

Korean Twitch streamers will have to reestablish themselves on other streaming platforms like YouTube or AfreecaTV.

League of Legends esports personality Nick “LS” De Cesare, TFT player Jang “Keane” Lae-young, and the LCK itself are among the affected. LS shared an encouraging message with his community, reassuring them that he will be fine. The former caster also speculated about what could be the next move for streamers who don’t want to change platforms. According to LS, some might opt to move to nearby countries. As for the LCK, the English broadcast it is likely to stay on YouTube.

AfreecaTV, while an option for Korean creators with a Korean audience, for Twitch streamers in Korea who had English-language audiences. The platform’s visibility in other markets is limited and the site is not localized. Some functionalities in the platform are restricted to viewers based in Korea.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2. His work has previously been featured by Bleacher Report and The Washington Post, and he was an Assistant Editor at WIN.gg. You can follow him on Twitter / X at @srondina.

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