Twitch video resolution will be limited to 720p in South Korea, the streaming giant has announced. The update was posted by the official blog of Twitch Korea, which explains that “the cost of operating Twitch services in South Korea has continued to rise, and this will likely continue for the foreseeable future.” This means that streams will no longer be shown at 1080p for users in the country, though there will still be a choice of lower resolutions on streams with transcoding enabled.
The post in question also explains that Twitch initially tested peer-to-peer technology for sharing streams at their original resolution through July and August 2022, but determined that while it is “currently a viable solution for many service providers, it needs to be considered more deeply before widespread implementation.” As such, Twitch streams in the country will be limited to a maximum resolution of 720p starting on September 30.
Professional esports commentator Wolf Schröder, who is based in Korea and commentates for Riot Games on League of Legends following stints covering StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm, and the Overwatch League, explains that the shift follows the introduction of new Korean Internet regulation. Bandwidth costs previously paid for by Internet service providers are now the responsibility of streaming platforms including YouTube, Netflix, and Twitch.
It seems likely that other such providers could follow suit and replicate this change on their own services – or they might instead look to pass on these increased costs to users. Currently, this regulation is specific to South Korea – but if it proves popular, it’s certainly possible that other countries may look to follow suit. Ookla, the company behind Speedtest.net, currently rates South Korea as the number four country worldwide for average Internet speeds.
Twitch has also recently introduced new Twitch gambling regulations on the platform in the wake of a messy controversy around a gambling scam that affected multiple big-name streamers. It also recently introduced long-rumoured changes to Twitch partner deals that reduce the revenue share offered to the platform’s biggest names after passing a $100k earnings cap.