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Twitch is eliminating Host Mode, leaving streamers and viewers baffled

The explanation — that Host Mode prevents interaction — has taken users off guard

Illustration featuring purple and pink graphic lines and a Twitch logo Illustration: Ariel Davis for Polygon
Nicole Clark (she/her) is a culture editor at Polygon, and a critic covering internet culture, video games, books, and TV, with work in the NY Times, Vice, and Catapult.

Twitch is removing Host Mode in October, according to an update to the platform’s “How to Use Host Mode” help-desk page, initially spotted by reporter Zach Bussey. On October 3, the “Host Channel” Stream Manager quick action, along with the backslash “host” command, will no longer be available. The “Autohost” feature will be renamed “Suggested Channels.” The raid feature will remain.

Host Mode was first introduced in 2014 as a way of allowing streamers to promote other channels. It allows streamers to use their channel to display another channel’s stream, similar to a website embed. Raids, on the other hand, allow streamers to send their viewers to another specific channel.

A Twitch representative directed Polygon to the “How to Use Host Mode” FAQ section for clarification on why the feature was removed. “We made the decision to deprecate this feature because the experience it delivers to viewers doesn’t match their expectations when they come to Twitch,” the section reads. “Viewers want to interact with a streamer when they’re live and host mode blocks this from happening. Preventing viewers from interacting with the streamer they’re watching also limits a streamer’s growth potential because they’re not able to build meaningful connections with those new viewers.”

Streamers and viewers alike have been taken off guard by the decision to remove the feature, which was in regular use for eight years. They’re also surprised by the notion that Host Mode “blocks” interaction. Popular streamers took to Twitter to share their confusion and frustration, and streamers and viewers alike mentioned how the feature allowed them to find or share accounts they might otherwise not have discovered. Overall, reactions are mixed.

Omega Jones, known as CriticalBard on Twitter and Twitch, shared his confusion with the decision, noting the different use cases for hosting versus raiding. “I raid after I am immediately done streaming & want to continue the vibes elsewhere,” he tweeted. “I host when I’m currently not live so my unused channel clicks to someone that IS live for more engagement.”

Chris Gamble, former Twitch developer, also weighed in on the feature in a Twitter thread.

Others have suggested that Host and Raid functions are indeed redundant — or have speculated that the feature is due for a revamp or a rebuild.

Regardless, it’s an interesting choice, as smaller Twitch accounts tend to struggle to increase their audience, thanks to the platform’s shaky discoverability features. This fact is so commonly known that it’s basically a meme at this point.

The FAQ portion of Twitch’s Host Mode page has a section advising streamers on how to “help support the growth of other streamers” after Host Mode is removed. Suggestions are basically to use remaining features — like using raids to direct viewers to a recommended channel, using the shoutout command, and populating the “Suggested Channels” list.

When Host Mode was first introduced, Polygon noted that the feature was beneficial to both the original streamer and the channel they were recommending, because the hosting party is able “to highlight friends’ channels or point out interesting streams.” Additionally, “any views tallied on the hosting channel count toward the channel that’s being hosted, and viewers can subscribe directly to the original channel from the host’s page.” This made channels curation platforms, in addition to broadcasts in their own right.

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