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Games livestreaming platform Twitch is shutting down its business operations in South Korea February 27, 2024.

According to a blog post from CEO Dan Clancy, South Korea was “prohibitively expensive” to operate despite working to reduce costs. Twitch experimented with a peer-to-peer model for source quality and capping quality at 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,” Clancy’s post said. “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.”

Notably, Twitch stressed that the situation in South Korea is unique as operating costs are significantly higher than other markets.

According to stats from Sully Gnome, Korean language channels brought in 98.8 million hours watched over the last 30 days. This accounts for just shy of 5.5% of all hours watched on the platform.

Twitch has offered help to Korean streamers that built their communities on the platform to find a new home on other streaming services. To do this, Twitch plans to reach out to competitors in South Korea to support streamers transitions to other services. According to Sully Gnome, there are about 18,500 active affiliates and partners streaming in Korean.

This closure will likely have a major impact on the esports market. South Korea is a key region for League of Legends among other titles. Major publishers such as Riot will have to shift operations quickly and rebuild their platforms elsewhere during the off season.

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April 2024