Twitch accused of being greedy by adding ‘Purple Screen of Death’ to embeds

Georgina Smith
Twitch text on purple background

Twitch has been accused of being greedy by streamers and a former staff member after they implemented an unskippable “Purple Screen of Death” in embeds, telling viewers to go onto the actual Twitch site.

Twitch has experienced more traffic than it ever has before in the past year. With 1 trillion minutes watched on the site, 26.5 average daily viewers, and over 6 million unique creators streaming each month, 2020 was certainly a successful period.

With this increase in traffic, the company has also been making changes to their terms of service, and the general operation of the site. But not everyone has been a fan of some of the changes that have been introduced.

The so-called ‘Purple Screen of Death’ refers to a notice that pops up when watching a Twitch embed on an external website, which says: “if you’re seeing this and you’re not already on, click here to get the best Twitch experience.”

Screenshot of the so-called "Purple Screen of Death" in Twitch embeds

They also explain that users with ad-block may find the message appears even if they are watching on the actual site, and encourage those people to turn off ad blocker because “these third-party tools can affect Twitch’s performance.”

The pop-up is 30 seconds long and cannot be skipped, which naturally poses huge problems for many viewers, as significant parts of streams and events can be totally obstructed.

It’s not just viewers who are getting frustrated. Member of the founding team of Twitch from 2011-2018, Ben Goldhaber, posted a thread on Twitter speaking out about the issue, tweeting: “I’ve hesitated to be the one to make a public statement about this, but I feel like I have to say something.”

He explained that the pop-up, “completely ruins the experience and makes embeds a vastly inferior way to engage with streams.” Ben also reminded readers that embeds are mutually beneficial for creators, viewers, and Twitch themselves.

“Views count towards their metric, embeds allow for users to subscribe and follow a channel directly. Developers are creating new experiences around the Twitch player, and facilitating discovery for new communities,” he explained.

Esports insider Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau also had some choice words for the company, saying: “Twitch has added a purple screen of death and popups to embed streams not to combat viewership inflation or fake views, but purely for greed.”

He went on to say: “in turn all Twitch has done is hurt legitimate platforms and communities such Juked, TeamLiquid, and HLTV ”

This issue regarding the interruption of Twitch embeds is undoubtedly a hugely frustrating one for many, and the fact that former employees are speaking out on the issue takes the backlash against Twitch to a new level.

Whether the feature will be adjusted or scrapped altogether as a result of the backlash is yet unclear, but it’s unlikely that viewers and creators alike will be willing to let it go any time soon.

About The Author

Georgina was formerly an entertainment writer for Dexerto. She covered all aspects of influencer culture on TikTok and more, including creators such as Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae. She also wrote about hit reality shows such as Love Island and Below Deck.