Imane “Pokimane” Anys announced earlier this week she was leaving Twitch and has taken to her podcast to explain why.
In short, her exclusivity deal with the Amazon-owned streaming platform came to an end and Pokimane decided not to renew the contract. “The end of an era,” she posted on X, formerly Twitter. “Twitch has been my home for a decade…but it’s time to say thank you for all the memories and love during my League, Fortnite, and Among Us days.”
It means Twitch – a platform derided for its lack of diversity – has just lost one of its most popular and high profile female streamers and, on her podcast series Don’t Tell Anyone, she detailed her concerns about the platform.
Pokimane firstly noted that Twitch no longer signs exclusivity deals like it used to, meaning she has more room for growth if she no longer streams exclusively on the platform. She is grateful, though, for the contracts she has had with Twitch.
Further, she lamented the male-dominated community, stating Twitch has “regressed a lot” – especially with “the rise of so much manosphere, red pill bullshit – I feel like that stuff has flourished within the male-dominated livestreaming sphere”.
“During the pandemic there were so many people watching, streaming and caring about games,” she said. “There were so many more girls, there was such diversity in the demographic. And I felt so much more seen and heard. And I was like, ‘Wow, this is what I’ve always wanted for streaming.'”
Now, however, she’s disappointed to see the community “relish, almost, in this shit”. “It’s hard for me to exist in an industry and community and watch that shit happen and act like it’s no big deal, to see it be normalised – the kind of bigotry and shit-spewing and just so much stuff that I frankly don’t agree with,” she said.
And while she saw appealing to more men as the only way to become more successful, she said: “There’s no point expressing your opinion to people that you’re never gonna change anyways.”
Pokimane also described Twitch as “messy”, citing recent examples like the sexual content and attire updates and the way the company often backtracks on changes. She wished that Amazon would take a stronger lead in improving the infrastructure of the company.
She also called out Twitch for its lack of safety for minorities and the prevalence of harassment and stalking due to a lack of IP bans.
“[Twitch’s] priority is making money,” she said. “My priority is making a cool, safe environment and community for many, many, many people. I think there are a lot of problems that minorities on Twitch still face and that I wish they could do more about.
“I do think they try and I appreciate that a tonne. I really do give them credit for that. But girl, it’s 2024. We still got so many of these damn problems.”
Now, though, she’s “free as a bird” so is aiming to stream across multiple platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Her first YouTube stream will be later today, 1st February.
Indeed, she admitted she would still be on Twitch “sometimes” and still had a lot of love for the company. Twitch even responded to her social media announcement: “You’ll always have a home on Twitch, Poki”.
However, she won’t be streaming on Kick due to it being funded by “online crypto gambling websites that are not legal in a lot of countries that in my opinion are kind of shady”.
Pokimane leaving Twitch follows high profile departures like Ludwig, DrLupo and TimTheTatMan in 2021.
Still, last week it introduced an expansion of its programme for improved revenue share for streamers.
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