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Twitch is set to shut down its operations in South Korea in February 2024.
The popular streaming platform cited high network usage fees as the main reason.
Twitch is shutting down in South Korea
X (formerly Twitter) isn’t the only major platform that had to make unpopular decisions this year over high network costs.
The platform will officially leave the country on February 27, 2024.
During the past few years, Twitch did its best to diversify its content, but the platform is still primarily gaming-oriented. With South Korea being one of the largest gaming nations in the world, this move carries some extra weight.
The platform said it will help streamers from the country migrate to other platforms by encouraging them to share links to their new channels.
According to the estimates, Twitch draws about 35 million daily visitors worldwide, 300,000 of which come from South Korea.
Korean legislation and high fees
One of the biggest reasons for the move is South Korea’s newly passed legislation that forces major content providers to pay additionally to use networks in the country. According to some estimates, network fees in Korea were ten times higher than in most other countries.
The decision to leave the country is the result of several years of careful consideration by Twitch’s financial team. For a long time, the company has been operating at a significant loss in South Korea.
With more and more competitors in the field (like Kick and Rumble), Twitch seems to be fighting an uphill battle as of late.
Even after capping video quality at 720p, the expenses were still too high for the company to manage. According to some, this has caused an adverse effect, with many viewers switching to alternative platforms such as YouTube and AfreecaTV.
Twitch isn’t the only global service affected by the country’s new network fee legislation. Netflix dealt with the same problem and was caught up in a years-long battle with Korea’s SK Broadband over usage fees. They finally found common ground in September this year.