Riot’s new competitive multiplayer shooter Valorant continues to dominate Twitch in terms of average active viewers, ranking in the top three games (with most of its time spent in the number one slot) since its closed beta test started earlier this month. People are undeniably excited for Valorant for the reasons you’d expect, what with it being one of the very first non-League of Legends games from the League of Legends people, but its explosive Twitch presence has a lot to do with one very important detail: To get into the beta, you have to watch Valorant streams.
Capitalizing on this, some Valorant streamers have been running their channels 24 hours a day, seven days a week, filling the hours they’d normally be offline with re-runs of their previous streams. Not only has this served to boost Valorant‘s average viewership numbers, but it’s also disproportionately boosted the metrics of channels performing such “services,” who may or may not be looking to raise their average viewer/chatter ratings in an effort to make partner. This has been going on for as long as Valorant streams have existed, but it wasn’t until yesterday that Twitch finally addressed the issue.
“We’ve heard concerns about creators continuously streaming VODs while tagging the channel as “Live” to farm Valorant Drops,” Twitch said through its official Twitter support account. “This harms the integrity of our Drops Program so we’ve updated our Community Guidelines to clarify that cheating any Twitch rewards system is prohibited.”
Specifically, Twitch’s Community Guidelines now list “cheating a Twitch rewards system (such as the Drops or channel points systems)” as a prohibited form of “Spam, Scams, and Other Malicious Conduct.” Other forms of prohibited activity in this category include spreading malware, “artificially inflating follow or live viewer stats” (which these streams would arguably qualify as doing anyway), and “distributing unauthorized advertisements,” which I’d never considered before but am now heavily invested in the comedic potential of.
As of press time, the number one Valorant stream on Twitch has 35,194 viewers and advertises itself as a “✅DROPS ON ?LIVE 24 HOUR+ STREAM,” as can be seen above, so it seems like Twitch is putting a lot of effort into enforcing the new clause in its Community Guidelines.
If you’ve been following along at home, by now you already know that Riot Games is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tencent Holdings Inc., which also happens to own the company that owns Fanbyte Media. You also probably know that I’m not technically an employee of Fanbyte Media, and am instead an independent contractor hired to perform certain services (specifically the PM/overnight news shift), which means that there is no direct chain of command between Ma Huateng, the Chairman and CEO of Tencent, and me, a small frog in central Texas. My buck stops at John Warren, Fanbyte’s former Editor in Chief who now oversees all of Fanbyte Media. Thus, you can trust the integrity of my reporting on Riot-related issues, secure in the knowledge that I really do mean it when I say that Valorant looks super boring, and that its aesthetic is almost entirely lifeless. Upside-down smiley face, everybody!