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Twitch rocked by high-profile departures

Amid claims it has lost touch with community.

Twitch has recently lost a number of high profile employees amid claims it's losing touch with its community.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, at least six top employees have left since the start of the year, including the chief operating officer, chief content officer, and head of creator development.

Last year over 300 employees left the company, with over 60 more leaving in 2022 alone.

Seven current and former employees told Bloomberg that Twitch was losing touch with its community of game streamers.

As the Amazon-owned streaming platform has experimented with new ways of monetising the service, it had failed to listen to its core users and the employees who serve them.

That included a controversial boost feature where viewers could pay to improve the profile of a streamer. It was found to have little impact.

Another feature added in February offered users who stream at least 40 hours a month financial incentives to run ads on their channel. According to employees, concerns about this feature were ignored.

"Twitch's leadership is uncomfortable with mid-level and lower level employees pushing for change," a former employee said.

Former head of creator development Marcus "DJ Wheat" Graham, who left in January, faulted Twitch for poor hiring decisions.

"We went down the Silicon Valley route-hiring from Facebook, from Twitter," he said. Many new employees had little understanding of gaming or livestreaming and were "unwilling to learn what this community was, why it was special."

"The customer was the content creator. If you're not passionate about the product, you're not really looking at it from the customer's lens. And so you don't have the same level of empathy," said another former employee.

The number of top departures has raised the profile of CEO Emmett Shear, whose engineering and numbers-first approach is believed to be at odds with the wider streaming community.

"It's really hard to help Emmett understand anything qualitative," said a former employee. "It has to be quantitative."

A statement to Bloomberg from a Twitch spokesperson reads: "The common thread for all employees is a drive to serve our community - from staff members who started as streamers themselves, to those who integrate themselves into Twitch culture when they start at Twitch.

"Serving a community as dynamic as Twitch's means there isn't always one clear solution or answer, and as a result we have always believed in being experimental and innovative-even when that means launching a bold product or experiment that might have short-term risks, but will ultimately help us build the best possible solution."

She also noted efforts to hire people with varied backgrounds and skill sets, whose "diversity of thought" help Twitch innovate and improve.

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About the Author
Ed Nightingale avatar

Ed Nightingale

Deputy News Editor

Ed has an interest in streaming, people and communities, and giving a voice to marginalised people.