Twitch Into Prime


The increasingly user-blind decisions made by Twitch, and their attempts at deflecting criticism by acting like they care by doing things like banning the term “blind playthrough” and potentially placing any future streams of mediocre Dukes of Hazzard games in jeopardy, they really don’t know what they’re doing in terms of running a site for user-generated content. This really seems to imply that they’re going to eventually turn Twitch into a heavily curated site where only authorized applicants are able to stream, and who knows if chat will even stick around through that overhaul.

Something else to consider is that these changes will likely be done under the guise of “protecting the users”. Pornhub of all sites is leading that idea due to being under fire for apparently having some percentage of content being illegal exploitation and such. Now any content uploaded there has to be done through purely verified users, and anything else is getting wiped. I’m not exactly a pornography consumer, but some implications pushed through a press release insist that any other site should do the same, which is really just Facebook’s ideal world coming to light, where everything you do will have to explicitly be tied to a real-world identity instead of just the casual connections that a dedicated detective might be able to weasel out. And it’s all to protect children, so they claim.

In no way am I going to take the side of actual problem people, such as those child exploiting types, but any policy change done in the name of protecting the children has to be questioned on how it’s going to affect most people, and not just the criminals. Say that the sweeping changes take place on major sites and nobody’s able to register at Twitter or YouTube under a pseudonym, even if they’re not wanting in on the 2 cents of ad money a month they may or may not get. And for those who did, suddenly they’re facing a verification screen or else all their content’s getting wiped, even if they’re not some terrible criminal. Those people who remain generally anonymous for non-illicit reasons will have to find alternatives that are running out, and it really comes down to making their own in the end. Keeping backups of whatever you’re getting up to is ever more important, as well as backups of certain historical data to keep all the records in order in case someone is actively attempting to alter history.

In this effective transitional period, any move that any corporation makes may be a veiled attempt to kill off certain types of users, possibly without actually killing people, but who knows how removing a possible source of income will turn out in modern times. They’re mainly after those who aren’t bringing in major ad revenue, anyone who’s not a big moneymaker that’s effectively free to violate TOS whenever as long as they bring in cash. Recently, the streaming of the overall mediocre as usual Game Awards was encouraged to have a co-stream for Twitch streamers, and of course the event was filled with licensed music, which is unlicensed for those co-streams, and therefore Twitch will gladly kill off any channel that streamed the stream with audio. They’re also not very fond of any kind of creative or art streams and actively aim to suppress their growth because they don’t bring in the big money, and they hope they never will since they’ll be shoved to the furthest corner of the site to die.

Once they’ve eliminated enough of their “problem”, they’ll make the move to effectively be a gaming-focused Amazon Prime channel where people can pay whatever godawful amount it’s going to cost by then to watch everyone play the exact same game at the exact same time. With that move, they’ll be able to cover all the exorbitant licensing fees as enforced by the RIAA’s hired PMCs and such, because they’ll only have a handful of “shows” to worry about. The end goal is just having to pay very little out and collect whatever’s left after the licensing. There are roots to this Prime connection after all, with the appearance of Watch Parties, as they capitalize them, requiring a Prime account to even participate. How convenient would it be to watch along with a “top 40” streamer watching a Prime show without having to change sites or apps or whatever? That’s how they’ll market it.

As the advent of music streaming continues to convince people that owning a recording of music is inconvenient, just so they can keep getting a stream of subscription revenue from people only looking for the latest tracks to be produced, maybe it’s a good idea to keep a copy of any videos you like before the user-generated content era comes crashing to a halt in the public realm. Of course, it’s a good idea only given that the videos themselves aren’t illegal and exploitative content, but maybe there’s a good review or sketch or whatever other content people get into that’s not terrible. Maybe even highlights from before game streaming gets killed off.

The user content movement would just move underground on file-sharing sites or whatever other solution the tech people who haven’t sold out completely to Facebook are working on, but it might take several attempts for it to work out. When the big corporations go fully corporate and cut out user input without an extensive vetting process that requires submission of every piece of personal documentation someone can manage to scrap together, someone else will figure out a way to let people upload their random items of information. The question is if that option will eventually go corporate as well, which seems likely given that it happens to most things that get big. And if not, if it just ends up dying off due to pressure from everyone else pushing their ad-filled subscription services.

Between the push to eliminate physical media and for subscription services with rotating content, it’s unsurprisingly just what the major companies want people to see, and ignore all the rest. Anything they don’t feature is considered unimportant regardless of what impact it’s actually had previously, especially considering any episodes or movies with celebrities who have been removed from the timeline, and therefore those recordings can’t exist on a service because they apparently don’t exist in the current timeline. Redbox removed video rental places, streaming aims to remove Redbox kiosks, and ultimately piracy is going to be a problem again for these corporations.

As shows manage to succeed on broadcast TV, they’ll get put behind paywalls and replaced with some other show on the TV until they have enough terrible shows that people just stop watching TV completely. Out of everything, I’d welcome a free ad-supported option to watch recorded shows, just like on broadcast TV but on demand, but they just really don’t want to do that, which I swear is just leaving money on the table. They’d rather just take everyone else’s money who’s willing to buy into it, and somehow Hulu got the idea to combine both a subscription and ad support which makes no sense on that platform, as well as completely ditching the free option.

It’s when the ads interrupt live content that they become a problem, and not being timed with something like the sports teams taking a break or multiple uneventful laps on a track. Ads end up becoming a quasi-necessary evil in the capitalist world for free content, and it’s when they actively make the experience worse that adblock comes in. Trying to bypass adblock itself is a violation of user trust, effectively their power move to try to force subservience in the user to acknowledge just what the corporations want, and that’s apparently to make game streams as unwatchable as possible.

Maybe after this post one might have a better or worse clarity as to my avoidance to paying a bunch of subscription fees to random things. I pay for services that are currently necessary, such as water and power and getting online, and avoid those such as landline phones since I have a cellphone I actually use instead. A lot of other things fall into the “unnecessary” category typically. Maybe there’ll be a one-off month if I want to watch a few shows I’ve heard about over the years when just about everyone’s gotten a subscription to one of these services. Maybe. It’s just getting less likely that I actually want to pay for these things and all that they bring with them in the name of watching something that might actually be not great.

Trials are pretty important here to bring people in to watch what they claim is quality programming. It’s not helping that they’re really cutting back on anything people might be able to check out for free, even if it’s a single episode of a show, which just rarely ever happens to my knowledge. I’ve really only seen it happen the most with Star Trek and CBS’s go at putting anything Star Trek on their very specific service. If you’re lucky, though, you can pick up some local broadcast channels that might show some classic episodes at times. Even if they’ve tried adding some weird CGI for external shots to the oldest shows for some reason because I guess they take after George Lucas’s inability to stop fiddling with the final product. Seriously, it’s fine leaving in the giant button switch computers and rubber alien suits, but you just gotta remake all the space scenes? It’s a bizarre juxtaposition for a series that’s had some very strange plots in general.