Twitch critcized for “selling viewbots” with stream Boost feature as ‘pay-to-win’

Calum Patterson
twitch with money
Twitch/Unsplash, @sharonmccutcheon

Twitch has announced plans to allow viewers to boost streams with payments, in an effort to elevate smaller channels. However, the initiative has been met with swift backlash among the community, with it being labeled “selling viewbots.”

In 2021, Twitch has made several changes affecting both creators and viewers, alike. These include several different features, including lower sub-prices for viewers in other countries, as well as adding phone number verification options to combat the ongoing hate-raid issues.

On Twitch’s ‘Patch Notes’ stream on September 30, DJ Wheat was joined by Product Manager Jacob Rosok, who told viewers about the boost feature.

“Communities want us to make boost more available, and second, communities want us to make it more impactful,” Rosok said. “We’re going to be running a small experiment, over the next few weeks, with a select group of creators.

“In this experiment, we’ll allow viewers to directly purchase Boost for their favorite creators.”

Streamers criticize new Boost options

This new feature would essentially allow viewers to pay for a streamer to get more exposure on the site, by recommending the channel to more people. Twitch’s intention is to help grow smaller communities.

However, this isn’t an idea that many other streamers appear to be on board with. Some have called it “pay to win”, and others argue that it will actually benefit streamers who have a big fanbase to start with, as they will have more viewers willing to pay.

YouTuber CaptainSauce called it “the grossest thing I’ve seen any new-media platform do.” Partnered streamer Naysy called the idea “exploitative.”

Sodapoppin, who has over 3 million followers on Twitch, also mocked the proposal, joking that “no one cares about small streamers,” and that he will be “boosting” his channel to stay ahead.

Long-time streamer CohhCarnage, another big streamer on Twitch who was one of the first members of Twitch’s Safety Advisory Council, said he didn’t have the words to explain how much he disliked “this direction.”

Some have even pointed out that this new feature might in fact go against Twitch’s own guidelines, which state it is prohibited to ‘resell Twitch services or features.’

Right now, this function is only being run as a small test, so potentially, given the backlash, it may be shelved by Twitch following the test period.