Imane “Pokimane” Anys is set to reveal her streaming future on February 8 and if she decides to ditch Twitch for one of the site’s rivals — YouTube, Facebook, or elsewhere — it could be a lethal blow for the iconic purple site.
If the Amazon platform hasn’t won the race for her signature, however, it could be a full-blown disaster for the site, and one that puts YouTube firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to the streaming civil war. They’ve scored several major scalps in recent months, and this would outshine them all.
Pokimane leaving would certainly swing the streaming balance.
Now, Twitch isn’t going anywhere, of course. That’s not up for debate, and no one is expecting the platform to start collapsing once they lose a certain number of their biggest stars. It’s not that simple, and thinking it is would just be silly.
But, YouTube isn’t trying to destroy Twitch. Maybe Amazon’s titanic site going the way of Mixer — likely all but impossible — would be a nice victory for Google, but they won’t be hunting that result. Instead, the red-brand website has one focus: be the “go-to” home of streaming.
Right now, Twitch most certainly holds that title.
When you think of streaming, gaming broadcasts, and the biggest celebrities in the modern era of the internet, you think of Twitch and its rusted-on popularity.
Every day, however, the pendulum is starting to swing. YouTube already boasts stars like Valkyrae, CouRage, TimTheTatman, and Ludwig. Even Dr Disrespect, driven off of Twitch for other reasons, does give them the entirety of his Champions Club streaming fandom.
Poaching Pokimane would be a killer blow in that struggle. Twitch reportedly lowballed Valkyrae because they felt like they already had a similar star, just like TimTheTatman was allowed to leave because NICKMERCS stayed.
Ludwig too felt like he was “undervalued” by Twitch’s powerbrokers because they tipped Mizkif to replace him and scoop in most of his viewers after leaving.
Biggest Twitch stars to join YouTube
- Courage (Nov 5, 2019)
- Valkyrae (Jan 13, 2020)
- Dr Disrespect (Aug 7, 2020)
- DrLupo (Aug 30)
- TimTheTatman (Sep 1)
- Ludwig (Nov 29)
If Twitch loses what they see as “safe” streamers, that leaves them in a dangerous position for retaining others. Pokimane and Valkyrae represent — to Twitch, at least — two options to access the same market. If both are suddenly on their arch-rival instead, that entire community shifts with them.
The shift, if it happens, would strip Twitch of its “destination site” status for that combined streaming fandom, swinging the pendulum towards YouTube.
And, perhaps worse, Pokimane allowed to leave would suggest to other stars they’re “unvalued” too. Whether that’s true or not won’t stop the questions.
Then there’s the issue of Pokimane specifically leaving the site. If YouTube scored NICKMERCS to go alongside their TimTheTatman signing that would be a blow for Twitch too, but Anys is something else entirely.
Pokimane, more than any other superstar streamer, has been a major advocate for broadcasting on Twitch. Even as Valkyrae, TimTheTatman, and Ludwig all took aim at their old site and its practices, Pokimane stepped up to bat for Amazon’s streaming arm, even claiming they’re “a tier above.”
Many streamers are quite critical of Twitch — and Anys is too, at times — but Pokimane regularly stands as the leading voice for the platform and its future. She’s described her site as “fun” and admits that guided her choice two years ago.
Pokimane said: “When I had to first choose between Twitch and YouTube, you know what I decided off of? Not which platform would give me more money, and it is a lot of life-changing money they’re offering. Not which platform was nicer to me. But which platform I would have more f**king fun on!”
To lose that vocal star to a direct rival would leave behind a dearth of supporters still streaming on the website, and help YouTube win the discourse war too.
Now, past evidence does point towards Pokimane re-signing with her preferred purple platform for at least two more years. Things are up in the air though until the 25-year-old actually reveals her choice on February 8.
This Dexerto writer understands she has already knocked back Facebook Gaming. That leaves YouTube and Twitch the only two (real) options left for her to choose between.
Expect Anys to pledge herself to Amazon again this Tuesday. But, if she does defect, it will be all panic stations at Twitch HQ in the ongoing exclusivity wars.