- Twitch, the hugely popular streaming service, has been banned in China.
- The ban came after a spike in popularity, probably caused by users watching an eSports tournament.
- Some users view the ban as an oppression of free speech, and the Chinese government have recently been tightening control on the gaming industry.
Twitch, the streaming giant famous for launching eSports into the stratosphere, has confirmed that it is now banned in China.
Abacus first reported that Twitch’s website was unavailable in mainland China, and that its app had quietly vanished from the Chinese Apple App Store. Twitch confirmed to Business Insider that it has been banned.
Twitch declined to comment on why it had been banned, or whether it had had any prior warning from the Chinese government. Abacus pointed to a recent spike in usership for Twitch, which rocketed to the number three position for free apps after Chinese users tuned in to watch coverage of esports championship the Asian Games, which was not broadcast on state television.
Abacus reports that the ban has enraged Chinese Twitch users, some of whom see the crackdown as oppression of free speech. China has has recently become stricter with the video game industry. The government unexpectedly suspended the approval of new games in August, including Fortnite, sending gaming giant Tencent’s stock tumbling by $US140 billion. Billions of minutes of “Fortnite” gameplay are watched each month on Twitch, according to internal figures.
Twitch has a massive viewership, with 15 million daily active users worldwide. It has also catapulted video game streamers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins to fame and fortune, as thousands tune in to watch him play Fortnite.
The esports industry is also exploding, Goldman Sachs valued the market at $US500 million in 2016, and expects annual compound growth of 22% over the next three years.China in particular has seen a boom in the esports market, and in August Chinese video-streaming stocks surged.
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