As the biggest streaming platform in the world, Twitch often comes under a lot of scrutiny around decisions that are made aimed at the consumer and whilst many are well-founded, others seem to have little merit. The most recent big change that had been seen was in regard to the Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches change that came following the backlash of the number of streamers that were taking advantage of the terms of service and it’s link to dress code requirements on the site. With the slowing of this section, it was inevitable that another was going to rise to take its place, and that came in the slots section of the site as online gambling took the place of the hot tub streamers – but from one problem to another, the audience once again brought up questions of whether change was needed as a number of concerns quickly bubbled to the top.
Sponsored and ad streams and whether or not they’re fit for the platform –
Perhaps the biggest concern for some was the fact that many of the streamers turning to these slots were sponsored by the service they’re planning on, gambling away tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars with no risk to themselves whilst also promoting the service. Whilst it could be clear to some viewers that this money had been supplied by the online service, there were certainly those who may not have seen it that way, and the argument had been that it promotes an unfair and unrealistic look at what playing these slots had actually been. This had been seen previously with the esports title of Counter-Strike and the loot box issue that came about a few years ago as it had been discovered owners of the sites were rigging their own odds to promote their site and show off big wins, something which was later banned by the platform.
(Image from twitch-designs.com)
A potential underage audience –
The second big point that was raised, and something similar to the hot tub issue, had been within the viewing audience – although all gambling streams are required to be marked as 18+ for viewership, the same guarantee that all viewers are of the right age is something very different as those who may have lied about their age are still able to few these categories too. There have been calls for the platform to enact stricter measures to ensure that not only are all of the viewers suitable for viewing but to also limit the viewing experience given other concerns that had been raised. Whilst this may be a request that ultimately isn’t all that realistic, it may not be enough to stave off the calls from those looking to hope the younger and more impressionable audience are protected in a category that is so easy to access.
Protection for the streamers and content creators, too –
Whilst it ultimately isn’t on the streaming platform to ensure those that are streaming the content are protected, with one individual recently it has shown that the platform may need to hold some level of responsibility for protection too – XQC is one of the biggest variety streamers on the platform often bringing in tens of thousands of viewers each day, and recently received a lot of criticism for taking sponsorship from an online casino much like many that can be found here – often streaming for long sessions sometimes between 12 to 16 hours per day, the streams could often lead to hundreds of thousands being gambled away to this huge audience, many of which as the previous point suggests may not have been of legal gambling age too. Stepping away from the gambling, XQC would self-admit that he had started to develop an addiction during the short stint of only a week or two, but goes to show that the platform may need to take some care when it comes to ensuring that for certain content, there’s restrictions for some players to ensure they don’t fall into the same trap, but to also address the other points and ensure the viewers are kept safe too, which is certainly more of a primary concern for them.
A growing number of gambling streamers adds to the mix
It isn’t only the big streaming individuals like the one mentioned above although there have been cases where some have made the change too, but just as a result of the platform growing over this past year in the way it has there are an increasing number of content creators exploring options – and if online casinos and slots are their passion then they now have a home for it. This has led to a bit of an explosion of smaller streamers who are also turning to these games to stream, and even without the biggest names streaming the section can still easily surpass 30,000 viewers and often coming in the top 20 of popular streamed categories at any point during the day. This then all circles back to the previous points, as numbers grow it becomes more visible to a growing audience and more visible to those looking to stream something new, and the potential issues outlined continue to compound for those most concerned about the potential problems it can bring.
There is the expectation that change will inevitably come in time particularly as it has become a point of focus for the audience pointing out how lax some of the restrictions are and change often only comes after a number of complaints but given the slots and casino sections have remained unchanged for a longer period of time it’s difficult to know where the potential changes could come from. Does gambling have a home on a streaming platform with a target audience that had ultimately previously just been for younger teens and a more influential audience? That will be something for Twitch to decide, and to the hope of many in a reasonable time frame to ensure viewer protection is priority.