Kick just had the biggest weekend of its existence.
It signed xQc–arguably Twitch‘s most prominent streamer in terms of watch time–for a $100 million deal, signed Amouranth for a similar deal reportedly worth $30-40 million, and then scooped up over a million new users between the signings’ June 17 announcements and now.
Whether xQc and Amouranth are fully leaving Twitch isn’t clear. We do know xQc’s Kick contract (which, BTW, is worth more than LeBron James‘ recent Lakers deal) is a two-year, non-exclusive deal, meaning if he wants to keep streaming on Twitch as well as Kick, he’s free to.
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But will he want to? Maybe not.
xQc–IRL name Felix Lengyel–has been openly critical of Twitch’s policies numerous times in the past. And Twitch hasn’t exactly been endearing itself to the creator community as a whole, with its drop from a 70/30 revenue split to a 50/50 split (though it’s walking that back for streamers who can hit stringent requirements) and its recent effort to introduce branded content policies that would’ve strangled streamers’ ability to secure sponsorships.
It decided not to implement that branded content policy, but during the day or so where creators thought the policy would go live, Kick went on the offensive, offering to financially compensate streamers who broke their Partner agreements with Twitch and moved to its platform. The incident brought Kick a record 24 hours of signups and a lot of good will from streamers who are, frankly, tired of having their incomes yanked around.
Lengyel might also be put off by comments from a Twitch staffer who came into his stream post-Kick announcement and wrote, “I think they need to build a better product before giant streamer acquisitions. I think acquisitions first is putting the cart before the horse. If I open a restaurant with the bare minimum food quality or options, I don’t spend 100 million on marketing before my product is there first.”
“Then why the fuck did you take a job at the cart company then, if you’re so worried about the horse?” Lengyel snapped. “Because when you were onboard Twitch, it wasn’t the horse, was it? It wasn’t a fully-fledged product, was it? It was still a work in progress, wasn’t it? Why does everything need to be perfect to be worth anything these days? What do you want from me, you want me to fix the product overnight? What am I supposed to do? You cannot have an instantly perfect product. It will have some kinks, it’s part of the journey.”
Lengyel’s debut stream on Kick did have some kinks: the surge of traffic was enough to cause interruptions in service. Kick says used the downtime to upgrade “services” that “will ensure Kick will be ready to handle exponential growth over these coming weeks.”
His account on Kick now has over 600,000 followers.
Amouranth says Twitch is “squeezing” creators
Amouranth, meanwhile, has also criticized Twitch’s policies, especially in the wake of her many bans. In a June 19 Twitter thread, she aired grievances with Twitch’s monetization, indicating that played a part in her decision to move to Kick.
“Instead of figuring out a novel/better way to tie into Amazon’s rapidly growing as business (possibly not in twitch’s control) twitch decided to squeeze streamers even tho they will never be able to achieve profitability that way,” she wrote. “Taking incremental share of streamer earnings is ham fisted, and you can’t cut your way to profitability that way.”
She added that she thinks Twitch will try to remove Prime channel subscriptions, where Amazon Prime subscribers get one free Twitch channel sub (worth $4.99) per month. That makes sense, considering Twitch’s new requirements to get a 70/30 revenue split include maintaining >350 active subs, excluding Prime and gifted subs, for three months straight.
Like with Lengyel, viewers have followed Amouranth to her new digs; she’s now got upward of 65,000 followers on Kick.
As for Kick itself, it’s continuing to revel in its rise, posting gleeful GIFs of Twitch’s screwups and memes that envision it beating out Twitch and YouTube:
— Kick.com (@KickStreaming) June 20, 2023
— Kick.com (@KickStreaming) June 17, 2023
That’s a long time coming, but Kick–which is co-founded by Stake.com co-founder Ed Craven–has proven it’s willing to spend big in an attempt to get there.