Twitch in South Korea to downgrade their streams to 720p

Twitch will set 720p as the highest resolution for livestream for the Korean audience from September 30 onwards (Image via Sportskeeda)
Twitch will set 720p as the highest livestreaming resolution for the Korean audience from September 30 onwards (Image via Sportskeeda)

On September 28, Twitch released a blog post for the South Korean audience, revealing that the streaming quality for the community will be downgraded to 720p from September 30 onwards.

The Amazon-owned livestreaming platform stated that the cost of operations in South Korea has "continued to rise" and that the situation is likely to remain the same for the "foreseeable future."

To find a solution to the issue, Twitch stated that they'd be readjusting the quality of streams for South Korean viewers:

"In order to find a new solution so that we can continue to operate our service in Korea, we will adjust the original quality for Korean viewers on channels where transcode (quality adjustment) is available from September 30th. In other words, the video quality in Korea will be up to 720p on channels where transcode is provided."

Twitch is downgrading Korean livestreams to 720p because of "increased operational costs"

The new update comes just a few days after Dan Clancy, the platform's president, introduced a revamped streamer payout system. Clancy revealed that the company would replace the 70/30 streamer revenue split with a 50/50 split for selected partnered content creators.

Clancy explained the rationale for the decision, claiming that delivering high-definition content for a streamer airing 200 hour-long streams costs the platform $1,000 per month:

"Delivering high definition, low latency, always available live video to nearly every corner of the world is expensive. Using the published rates from Amazon Web Services’ Interactive Video Service (IVS) — which is essentially Twitch video — live video costs for a 100 CCU streamer who streams 200 hours a month are more than $1000 per month."

Similar reasoning was provided for the downgrade of streams to 720p for the South Korean audience.

In the FAQ section of the blog post, Twitch stated that they are in compliance with South Korean regulations and requirements and that they are paying all the needed network fees in good faith.

However, as the cost of operations continues to rise, the livestreaming platform "desperately needs" to adopt alternative solutions to continue providing its services in the region:

"Twitch has continued to comply with local regulations and requirements in Korea, and pays all network fees and other related fees in good faith. However, as the cost of providing the service continues to rise, Twitch desperately needs an alternative solution to continue operating its service in Korea."

Twitch commented on how long these changes would last:

"This change is part of an effort to continue operating the service in Korea. We will continue to strive for sustainable operations in Korea, while continuing to find a variety of ways to provide the best possible service for the Korean community."

Streaming community reacts to the downgrade to 720p streams in South Korea

The update was shared on the r/LivestreamFail subreddit and quickly became the forum's top post. Redditor u/innoshade mentioned that SK Telecom was "targeting" media platforms like YouTube, Netflix, and Twitch and stated:

Streaming community reacts to 720p-only streams for South Korean audience 1/2 (Image via r/LivestreamFail)
Streaming community reacts to 720p-only streams for South Korean audience 1/2 (Image via r/LivestreamFail)

Another Redditor said that non-Koreans can still watch Korean broadcasts at source-quality:

Streaming community reacts to 720p-only streams for South Korean audience 1/2 (Image via r/LivestreamFail)
Streaming community reacts to 720p-only streams for South Korean audience 1/2 (Image via r/LivestreamFail)

According to one community member, Amazon's Interactive Video Service pricing in South Korea is three times higher than in North America:

Here are some more relevant fan reactions:

The Reddit streaming community was generally unhappy with the update, with some speculating that the change could lead to IRL-style streams "dying" in South Korea.

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