Ninja got to stream Fortnite from Times Square on New Year’s Eve in a watershed moment not only for him, but for streaming platform Twitch, and for gaming more generally. But plenty of other streamers were not happy with Twitch’s promotion of the event, which involved advertising it on their own channels.
Dr Disrespect was one of the critical voices, telling Twitch to “get these ugly-looking New Years’ Eve ad rolls off my page. Don’t ever do it again, either. Ever.” BikeMan has been a little more illuminating on the subject, explaining that he objects not because he doesn’t like Ninja or is otherwise salty, but because it seems unreasonable for Twitch to be promoting a rival streamer on his own channel without his permission.
The ads were seemingly pulled from Twitch on December 28, but the whole affair raises some interesting questions about transparency, ad etiquette, and the degree of control streamers have about what ads run alongside their own content. What if, in future, Twitch wants to run ads for a product to which a streamer has a personal objection? Is it right that their channel and content should effectively promote it?
Ninja himself weighed in on the issue in a now-deleted tweet. A screenshot (via Dexerto) shows that he said “this event is going to be broadcast to millions of people and continue to grant exposure to Twitch, which in turn allows other streamers to gain more viewers. What’s not to like? Or is it just because it’s me?”
BikeMan dismisses this argument as “out of touch” and compares it to letting “the guy that cured polio” live in your house. That metaphor doesn’t quite work for me, but the argument doesn’t seem forceful for other reasons. Apart from anything else there are many more appropriate places to promote this event than within Twitch on channels belonging to Ninja’s fellow creators. But if Twitch insists on advertising there, there are plenty of other ways for it to promote its services without promoting this particular event.