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Twitch is leaving South Korea amid rising operation cost (Image via Twitch, Public Domain Pictures)

Twitch is shutting down operations in Korea: Everything you need to know about the streaming giant's exit from the country

Popular livestreaming platform Twitch is ending all its paid services based in Korea, citing operating costs. According to a press release from CEO Dan Clancy, the Amazon-owned website will cease providing services in the country from February 27, 2024, thus giving content creators about two-and-a-half months to settle their accounts.

Clancy is quite apologetic about the turn of events and has talked about letting down Korean users despite their dedication to the platform. However, he believes certain laws and regulations have made operating in the country unfeasible, thus forcing the company to make some tough decisions.

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What does Twitch's service shutdown in Korea mean for content creators and viewers?

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Twitch has been at the forefront of the livestreaming game since it was founded in 2011 in conjunction with Justin.tv. The two later merged, functioning as a single entity before being acquired by Amazon in 2014 for almost a billion US dollars.

The purple platform has led the way when it comes to video game streaming, especially in the Western world. However, it also boasts a significant user base in Eastern countries, including Korea. Its basic user model has allowed thousands of creators to make a living by allowing them to build a community around livestreaming video games and other content.

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However, it appears that Twitch will be closing its doors in Korea starting February 27, 2024, and the news has been received with much dismay from both viewers and streamers in the country.

Per CEO Dan Clancy, the network fees in South Korea appear to be partly to blame. A relevant part of his press release states:

"Currently, the cost of running Twitch in South Korea is at a serious level. We've been working hard to find ways to keep our operations in Korea down the drain. First, we tested the P2P model in terms of source quality, and then adjusted the maximum quality to 720p. While these efforts have resulted in some cost savings, South Korea's network fees, which are 10 times higher than in most other countries, made it impossible to operate any further."

Clancy has also laid down what he means by ceasing operations. From February 27, 2024, viewers in Korea will not be able to buy paid products like subscriptions and bits. This also means that content creators, that is, partners, affiliates, and non-affiliates, will not be able to monetize their streams. This means streaming on the platform will be effectively unviable.

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Twitch has officially encouraged streamers and content creators to start emigrating to other platforms like AfreecaTV and YouTube. The press release also states that the website will allow creators to use Onsite Messages to spread links to outside platforms. The company is willing to collaborate with other websites to make the change as hassle-free as possible.

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Clancy will be addressing the Korean community live on the official TwitchKR channel at 9:30 AM ET on December 6, 2023, to explain the situation further.

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Edited by
Rachel Syiemlieh
 
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