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Twitch Leaving South Korea Controversy

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Updated Dec 06, 2023 at 03:15PM EST by Adam.

Added Dec 06, 2023 at 02:36PM EST by Adam.

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Overview

Twitch Leaving South Korea Controversy refers to the fallout from Twitch announcing they would cease operations in the country in February of 2024 due to "prohibitively expensive" operating costs which are significantly higher in South Korea than in any other country. The news was met with despair and harsh backlash from Korean streamers and viewers.

Background

On December 5th, 2023, Twitch CEO Dan Clancy announced in a blog post[1] that it would cease operations in South Korea starting February 27th, 2024 due to "prohibitively expensive" networking costs, saying the fees are ten times higher in South Korea than they are in any other country. He also promised to help Korean Twitch streamers find another platform to continue pursuing their livelihood.

The decision was likely influenced by a 2016 "Sender Pays" law passed in Korea that makes Internet Service Providers legally bound to pay a service charge when users access their content.[2] Proposed Korean bills to make this policy more strict could have steep implications for Korean content, as they could make companies like Netflix and YouTube subject to similar fees.

Developments

The news was met with great despair from Korean streamers and viewers. Korean streamer yummy_2 went viral for her reaction to the news, saying she'd basically lost her job (repost by TwitchTVClips shown below).



Others expressed frustration at both Twitch for making the decision to pull out of Korea and the Korean government for allowing companies to engage in price hiking for ISPs. On the former side, user @noteunibuni[3] said that because Twitch is owned by Amazon, they should be able to afford the high prices needed to operate in Korea, gaining over 40 likes in a matter of hours (shown below, left). User @MakoFukasamiTV[4] posted critically of Korea and used the news to stress the importance of Net Neutrality, gaining 15 retweets and over 120 likes in the same time frame (shown below, right).


Euni : ... @noteunibuni Twitch is owned by AMAZON. I need to see how much it costs to operate in Korea bc if a company that generates hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars every year says it's too expensive to keep supporting the creators there, that's insane. Mako Fukasame @MakoFukasameTV | Vershion AU : forcing people to pay extra for certain kinds of traffic has killed twitch korea this is why net neutrality is important, even if korea is a unique situation

Posts critical of the decision and the Korean government were posted in Reddit's /r/technology[5] and /r/korea.[6] A question about the decision was posted to /r/OutOfTheLoop,[7] gaining over 900 points in a matter of hours.

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Top Comments

ObadiahtheSlim
ObadiahtheSlim

in reply to Revic

From reading some outside stuff, sounds like ISPs are charged by the government. The ISPs then pass that cost on the content provider if they want to be able to access their customers.

I could be reading it wrong. But sounds like a massively protectionist law that's just going to kill the South Korean internet.

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