Most of the conversation between Twitch streamers like Destiny, Sodapoppin and xQc, the former Dallas Fuel player who was recently dismissed by the Overwatch League, focused on the reaction to Summit1G playing Fortnite with Jake Paul. Summit1G is one of the most watched Twitch streamers who, like many other casters, is trying to get in on the Fortnite action. Summit1G’s decision to “duo” with Paul, however, left viewers and subscribers complaining in Summit1G’s Twitch chat, and on Reddit and Twitter. He spoke about the incident quite a bit on Twitter.
“I played like 5 end of the night squad games with Jake Paul and his friends last night,” he said on Twitter directly afterward. “I had fun, everyone is pissed. And you know what Twitter? You disappoint me. Sup. I expect apologies raining in quick now. You messed up.”
Summit1G acknowledged that parts of his community were riled up, but said he wanted to move past the incident.
“Def don’t want to stream, but I think everyone hates me enough so I can’t afford more,” he tweeted. “Will be getting on, will not be talking to chat or acknowledging subs/donations. I’ll just simply show up and turn on autopilot ... Alright listen, truce, everything that was said today sucks. Normal stream tomorrow. Let’s be friends again. Don’t let my channel die more. Thanks.”
The visceral reaction from a portion of the Twitch community led to conversations about whether streamers should partner with the prototypical YouTube vloggers and well-known Fortnite casters dominating Twitch right now. It’s largely referred to as the “normie invasion,” alluding to the large influx of viewers on the platform who aren’t part of the core culture. These may be people, for example, who purchased a Twitch Prime subscription to get exclusive Fortnite gear and happened to tune into Twitch, but don’t understand the reasoning behind certain terms or emotes used on the platform.
Sodapoppin, one of the more popular Twitch streamers, commented on the situation, saying that he understood why Summit1G might want to duo with Jake Paul but didn’t think it was a good business decision.
“I’ve actually had friends who’ve messaged me saying, ‘Hey man, what do you think about playing with him?’ and I was like, ‘I wouldn’t,’” he said. “If they asked me to play games. I would say yes, but only under the condition [that] I can say whatever the fuck I want to him. If I play with Logan Paul, I’m going to make a joke about him in the fucking forest, and he better not get mad. With that being said, he probably won’t want to play with me. If you’re going to look at it from a business perspective, playing with them, it ain’t good for you. Who gives a fuck how many subs they have? They’re fucking kids, are they not? We’re playing Fortnite, and Logan Paul manages to get a kill, I’m going to say, ‘Don’t film it this time,’” because I’m going to make jokes about it.
“Is there actually any benefit business-wise?”
It’s a view that Felix “xQc” Lengyel shares. Lengyel commented on Sodapoppin’s stream — and on the effect of Twitch Prime on Twitch chats. Twitch chat is a big part of Twitch culture. It’s where streamers talk to people, where memes are often born and where the community congregates. Many top streamers will put on a “subscriber only” chat, which can both be an incentive for people to subscribe to their favorite streamer for a base $5 fee and a way to weed out too many people chatting at once.
The issue, Lengyel points out, is that kids are signing up for Twitch Prime to get Fortnite gear and support streamers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. That means the chat controls that other streamers put into effect — to try and keep their chat local to their community — become incredibly toxic.
“You care because if you’re Soda, [and] he puts sub mode [on] a bunch of times, if you have a horde of kids that come because of Fortnite [who have Twitch Prime] and are all subs, then your sub mode becomes completely cancer,” Lengyel said. “Your entire environment in the channel becomes garbage.”
There seems to be an underlying concern that Twitch culture, as it’s recognized by specific, high-profile streamers, will change. Search “Twitch normies” on Twitter and you’ll see a flood of tweets from people who don’t want YouTubers like the Paul brothers, or even huge streamers like Ninja, becoming the face of their platform. There’s a sense of putting in time to specific parts of Twitch culture — of earning a badge of acceptance — that people seem to be worried about, amid the extra attention on Twitch from “normies.”
Clint Stevens, another popular streamer, spoke about this a couple of weeks ago — and unlike his fellow casters, found the phenomenon positive.
“They’re the people that you turn into your dedicated people that watch,” he said. “You need to get those normies, because eventually the dedicated people are going to get jobs, they’re going to get families, they’re going to get people who love them, and then they’re not going to watch you anymore. Everyone goes around from game to game, striking the ground, trying to find the vein — the oil vein of the normies [...] and then eventually a game like Fortnite comes around, and they just burst out of the ground.”
Other major streamers in the community, like Destiny, also don’t see the influx in viewers — even if they are kids or “normies” — as a bad thing. Destiny called Sodapoppin’s line about kids being subscribers a “dumb comment,” pointing out that revenue from a subscriber is still revenue.
“Who cares if subs are kids or not? Money is money,” Destiny said on a stream. “You think it matters if the money comes from a 15-year-old versus a 25-year-old? What a dumb comment.”
Destiny further explained that children make up a large demographic of gamers and people who spend time on Twitch. The counterpoint, Destiny argues, is that children who come to Twitch as subscribers, or even as regular viewers, are great for business.
“You can monetize children, you just can. This is inarguable,” Destiny said. “Children buy merchandise, children make up a huge demographic of gamers. Children watch advertisers because they don’t ad-block as much as older people. I don’t understand. Just on its head, the idea that children make for bad subs — in a business sense — is really fucking stupid.”
There’s no question that the Paul brothers — who collectively have more than 30 million subscribers on YouTube — will impact Twitch culture. Just like the arrival of other popular YouTubers like Casey Neistat will. The first few minutes of Logan Paul’s initial Fortnite stream on Twitch resulted in crude emoticons in his chat and spams from other fans of popular streamers, like Forsen.
Whether it’s good for business is still in question, but there has certainly never been this much attention paid to Twitch — and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.