Amazon’s streaming platform Twitch announced on Tuesday its decision to cease operations in South Korea by February next year due to high operating costs and network fees.
In a blog post, CEO Dan Clancy stated, “Twitch has been operating in Korea at a significant loss, and unfortunately, there is no pathway forward for our business to run more sustainably in that country.” Clancy highlighted that network fees in Korea are 10 times higher than in most other countries, making it challenging for the platform to continue operations.
Despite efforts to reduce operating costs, including experimenting with a peer-to-peer model and downgrading streaming quality to 720p, Twitch found it insufficient to offset the losses. The streaming service expressed disappointment in having to make the challenging decision and acknowledged the special role Korea plays in the international esports community.
“Twitch streamers in Korea have devoted significant time and effort into building their communities, and we plan to help these communities find new homes — even if it’s regrettably not on Twitch. We will work to help Twitch streamers in Korea move their communities to alternative livestreaming services in Korea. We are also reaching out to several of these services to help with the transition and will communicate with impacted streamers as those discussions progress,” wrote Clancy.
“I want to reiterate that this was a very difficult decision and one we are very disappointed we had to make. Korea has always and will continue to play a special role in the international esports community and we are incredibly grateful for the communities they built on Twitch,” said Clancy.