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Twitch’s CEO is stepping down to spend time with his IRL family

‘I want to be fully there for my son as he enters this world’

A photo of Twitch Emmett Shear on stage at TwitchCon 2022 San Diego. Photo: Robin L Marshall/Getty Images
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Emmett Shear, the CEO of Twitch, announced he is stepping down from his role as the head of the streaming platform via Twitter on Thursday. Shear has been with the Amazon-owned livestreaming platform since its inception and has been the only CEO the company has ever had for over 16 years. He is succeeded by Twitch’s president, Dan Clancy who took over as CEO immediately after he announced his resignation.

In a blog post shared on Twitter, Shear cited wanting to be able to spend more time with his young son, and give him more time and effort. Moving forward, Shear will continue to be involved with the company in an advisory role.

“It’s hard to put into words how much Twitch has been for me. Twitch has been a place of community for streamers and viewers, but also for me. Twitch has been like my family, the place I’ve spent more of my waking hours than anywhere else. With the arrival of my son, the time has come for me to focus my energies on building that tiny little startup family, and I’m ready to dedicate my energies there,” Shear said in a tweet thread containing images with text.

In his resignation blog post, Shear talked about the platform's history, his personal connection, likening the startup to a “family.” You can read the full thread below.

The Twitch we know today was founded under the name by Emmett Shear, Michael Seibel, Kyle Vogt, and Justin Kan in 2007. The concept started with a content stunt: Kan livestreamed his entire life 24 hours a day seven days a week. The stunt didn’t work out, but it unearthed an appetite for livestream content and the same year the company announced it would be opening itself for anyone to livestream.

In 2011, the team focused on the most popular section of content, video games, and started a project called Fast forward to 2014, and the company officially rebranded to Twitch Interactive and Amazon bought the platform for $1 billion in the same year. The livestreaming platform saw a boom over the Covid-19 pandemic, and today, Shear touts that the platform has over 8 million streamers a month.

Shear’s resignation comes at a precarious time for the platform. A batch of popular streamers — including top names like Ludwig, DrLupo — have left the platforms after accepting deals at its competitor, YouTube. On top of that, Pokimane, who chose to stick with Twitch, later announced in September that she wouldn’t be leaving the platform, but that she would be streaming less.

The exits come on top of a slew of policy issues related to streaming on the platform. In September, the company announced it would alter its revenue share to 50/50 from 70/30, and cut the revenues share for its top streamers. In another instance, top streamers called the platform out for lax policies in regard to gambling content on the platform. Twitch also had to respond to a deepfake scandal, and it updated its non-consensual exploitative images policies in early March.

Considering everything that’s happened, it’s looking like Dan Clancy’s plate will be more than full as he enters the position of the new CEO.

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