Twitch, the Amazon-owned livestreaming network, has stated that it would cease operations in South Korea on February 27th, 2024.
Twitch CEO Dan Clancy noted in a blog post that the firm is exiting the South Korean market due to the high costs of doing business in the nation, with no obvious means for the company to offset these costs.
Twitch said the reforms will allow Korean-based streamers transfer their networks to other sites available in the nation when they go into force in February 2024.
Twitch claims that operating costs in South Korea are up to ten times greater than in most other countries, making it ‘prohibitively expensive’.
“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 said in a post on his blog.
According to The New York Times, the high charges are due to local rules that require international corporations to pay significant network usage fees in order to operate in the country. Because international content producers must pay additional data use fees, the numbers quickly stacked up with the high volume of traffic generated by livestreaming.
Other livestreaming providers, such as AfreecaTV and YouTube, continue to operate in the country. Meanwhile, Naver, a significant telecommunications company in South Korea, launched a closed beta test of a new game streaming service, with a full rollout scheduled in 2024.
Twitch had already made measures to reduce its internet traffic in the country in order to remain online, including lowering source quality to 720p and conducting peer-to-peer experiments. However, according to the corporation, none of these attempts reduced costs sufficiently.
It is unclear how this would affect the local esports sector and communities, however many local leagues and tournaments, including as the LCK, use Twitch to broadcast esports. South Korea is a significant esports market, especially for League of Legends.