Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 is currently underway, and while viewers are enjoying some sweet runs, some have taken issue with Games Done Quick’s decision to gate chat within its Twitch stream to only those who pay a $5 subscription fee.
In response to audience frustrations, Games Done Quick released a statement (per Polygon) explaining why the decision was made to institute the fee:
We take moderation seriously and want to maintain a positive atmosphere in all of our events, especially as we are representing the charities we are benefiting. As Games Done Quick has grown over the years, our channel has now been averaging between 100k-150k concurrent viewers, and moderating a channel of this size has been extremely difficult. We’re currently exploring options to alleviate the situation and have opted to make the chat for AGDQ this year subscription-only. All GDQ subscription revenue in January will be donated to Prevent Cancer Foundation.
The reaction from fans has ranged from simple complaints to other Twitch channels hosting the AGDQ stream and providing free, ungated chats themselves. The practice is allowed through Twitch’s host mode, which also sends all views and revenue to the original streamer, but the streamers who took it upon themselves to host the AGDQ stream have met with some resistance from Twitch.
On the GDQ_Poverty subreddit, various channels hosting the AGDQ stream have been posted, with requests to keep such channels under the radar. The subreddit itself picked up steam after GDQ_Poverty’s own Twitch channel was slapped with a 24-hour ban for hate speech while hosting the speed-running stream. According to a statement on the GDQ_Poverty subreddit, the channel’s creator denied using hate speech, but chose not to appeal the ban. Reading the statement further explains why the ban was rendered and reinforced why Games Done Quick implemented its subscription chat fee in the first place:
For the first half-hour or so it was very nice, everyone was civil and excited to be able to use their favorite emotes. Word of the channel spread quickly, though, and soon the chat became a constant flood of emotes and spam…Eventually things became so hectic that I had to introduce the moderation polls in order to quell the herd. These did an okay job of reducing the spam, but the more the spam got reduced, the more the hate started to spread.
To my dismay, the chat log began to be filled with racist and hateful remarks towards GDQ, runners, and random groups of people…Honestly I’m really not surprised that this happened. The chat at certain points was pretty appalling, and people were just feeding off of one another. That kind of atmosphere wasn’t what I intended to create when I made the channel, but in this situation it was probably (unfortunately) inevitable.
Fans will undoubtedly continue to be frustrated by the paywall, but Games Done Quick’s focus on lowering the toxicity is more valuable to the organization than blanket inclusion, good or bad. Plus, there’s a bit more of an incentive to not be a firestarter when you put your own cash on the line. For those that don’t want to pay, viewing the stream is free, and there should still be plenty of channels hosting the stream with wide-open chat services.
Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 will continue throughout the week over on Twitch.