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Twitch to close down in Korea over ‘prohibitively costly’ community charges

Twitch, the favored video streaming service, plans to close down its enterprise in South Korea on February 27 after discovering that working in one of many world’s largest esports markets is “prohibitively costly.”

Twitch CEO Dan Clancy stated the agency undertook a “important effort” to cut back the community prices to function in Korea, however in the end the charges to function within the East Asian nation was nonetheless 10 instances dearer than in most different international locations. The ceasing of operations in Korea is a “distinctive scenario,” he wrote in a weblog put up.

South Korea’s costly web charges have led to authorized fights — streaming big Netflix unsuccessfully sued an area broadband provider final 12 months to keep away from paying utilization expenses, however Seoul’s court docket dominated that Netflix should contribute to the community prices enabling its half-billion-dollar Korean enterprise.

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Twitch tried to decrease its community prices by experimenting with a peer-to-peer mannequin after which downgrading the streaming high quality to 720p video decision, Clancy stated. Whereas these efforts helped the agency decrease its community prices, it wasn’t sufficient. The Amazon-owned streaming service stated it has been working in Korea at a “important loss,” and there was “no pathway ahead” to run the enterprise sustainably within the nation.

“I need to reiterate that this was a really troublesome resolution and one we’re very disillusioned we needed to make. Korea has all the time and can proceed to play a particular position within the worldwide esports group and we’re extremely grateful for the communities they constructed on Twitch,” wrote Clancy.

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Esports is big in South Korea, with professional gaming a cultural phenomenon and high gamers having fun with movie star standing. Over half the nation’s 50 million inhabitants are esports followers. South Korea dominates aggressive gaming worldwide, particularly in titles like Starcraft and League of Legends, internet hosting a number of main tournaments yearly. Twitch had amassed million of customers in South Korea, which was additionally one of many standard markets for the streaming service.

Like South Korea, telecom operators in lots of different markets are starting to push for content material suppliers to pay for community prices. Telecom operators in India, the second largest wi-fi market, advisable earlier this 12 months that web firms compensate them for utilizing the networks. Community operators in India cited the regulatory modifications in Korea as one among their inspirations.

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