Pokimane has made the unprecedented decision to cap any donations she receives from viewers at $5, with likely knock-on effects for other streamers.
Popular Twitch streamer Imane “Pokimane” Anys has announced her plans to put a $5 cap on any donations viewers try to send her. It is common for viewers to send donations to their favorite streamers in exchange for new features, additional content, or simply to contribute to a channel they want to see succeed. The announcement has sent shockwaves throughout Twitch and other streaming communities. Anys’ decision is inspired in large part by the enormous following she has cultivated, amassing over 10,000 subscribers since her first stream in 2017 and attracting regular monthly contributions from dedicated viewers.
Twitch donations represent a murky area. Donations are typically made through Twitch’s Bits tipping system or via third-party software. However, the sheer volume of donations and huge sums that are often sent from viewers to streamers can create a worrisome power dynamic between Twitch and YouTube streamers and their viewers. The potential for all of this to create a toxic environment in which a streamer only makes content to appeal to wealthy viewers never truly disappears.
Anys confirmed that she created the new donation cap in collaboration with live streaming software company StreamLabs. Anys wants fans who would otherwise donate to her channel to focus on growing channels that are in need of monetary help or to use the money to treat themselves. It is worth noting that channel donations are not the only source of income for Anys. She has grown her brand to such an extent that she now receives the majority of her revenue through a lucrative deal she signed with Twitch, which is reported to be in the millions. The successful streamer also has several other revenue options, including merchandise sales and exclusive brand partnerships. Anys averages over 20,000 viewers per stream, positioning her as one of the most prominent streamers globally.
worked with @streamlabs to create a donation cap of $5 for my channel!
Thank you for supporting me to the point where I consider anything more than that unnecessary. To anyone that was more generous- please support growing channels, charities, and treat yourselves.❤️😊 pic.twitter.com/QhrusbDFxD
— pokimane (@pokimanelol) November 2, 2020
Anys’ unprecedented decision to introduce a donation cap has been noted by several other prominent streamers. According to GamingBible, Twitch streamer and YouTube personality Tucker “Jericho” Boner confirmed he would consider a similar donation model. While Anys has been praised since her decision was first made public, there has been some criticism along the way. Other streamers, including Félix “xQc” Lengyel, have reserved their criticism for the precedent the donation cap might establish. Lengyel complains that other streamers will very likely be criticized by their respective fans for not following Anys’ example.
Whether or not other Twitch streamers end up following Anys’ example is irrelevant. What matters most are the intentions behind her decision, and it appears they are generous. It is ridiculous to use Any’s example to criticize other streamers for not doing the same. It should be the subjective decision of each major streamer to introduce a limit on donations. If this ends up happening, it would directly contradict the positive example Anys is attempting to set. Lengyel makes some valid counterarguments. He is right when he claims that “We never, ever celebrate anyone doing something good. We always shame others for not doing it.” I cannot help but question if the other criticisms are part of a much broader topic: the antipathy that is sometimes expressed towards female streamers on Twitch. Unfortunately, this is an area Anys is already familiar with. Considering all of this, a donation cap is a sensible decision that highlights the level of importance Anys places on the relationship with her viewers.
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