Streaming platform giant Twitch has announced they’re shutting down their operations in the popular esports country South Korea.
Despite esports and streaming being extremely popular in South Korea, Twitch made the “difficult decision” to shut down their branch in Korea effective February 27th, 2024.
In short, Twitch said operating in South Korea has remained “prohibitively expensive” no matter what cost saving measures they’ve implemented – from setting a 720p video quality cap to even rolling out peer-to-peer source quality.
Here’s the word from Twitch CEO Dan Clancy:
This morning, I shared with our community in Korea that we’ve made the difficult decision to shut down the Twitch business in Korea on February 27, 2024 KST. We understand that this is extremely disappointing news, and we want to explain why we made this decision and how we are planning to support those impacted.
Ultimately, the cost to operate Twitch in Korea is prohibitively expensive and we have spent significant effort working to reduce these costs so that we could find a way for the Twitch business to remain in Korea. First, we experimented with a peer-to-peer model for source quality. Then, we adjusted source quality to a maximum of 720p. While we have lowered costs from these efforts, our network fees in Korea are still 10 times more expensive than in most other countries. Twitch has been operating in Korea at a significant loss, and unfortunately there is no pathway forward for our business to run more sustainably in that country.
To all of our global communities, we want to make it clear that this is a unique situation. Operating costs in Korea are significantly higher than they are in other countries and we have been open about this challenge for some time.
Twitch streamers in Korea have devoted significant time and effort into building their communities, and we plan to help these communities find new homes — even if it’s regrettably not on Twitch. We will work to help Twitch streamers in Korea move their communities to alternative livestreaming services in Korea. We are also reaching out to several of these services to help with the transition and will communicate with impacted streamers as those discussions progress.
I want to reiterate that this was a very difficult decision and one we are very disappointed we had to make. Korea has always and will continue to play a special role in the international esports community and we are incredibly grateful for the communities they built on Twitch.
Dan Clancy, Twitch CEO
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