Twitch may be disabling autoplay for streamers that abuse autoplay. While not an official announcement, this news comes soon after many of the top streamers criticize the use of embedding on popular websites.

In a recent clip, long-time streamer KingGothalion apparently reads from an email that Dan Clancy, the CEO of Twitch, sent him. The message addresses a “quick and dirty” method to tackle the hotly debated topic of embedding. If you’re unfamiliar, embedding, though not explicitly against the ToS of Twitch, has led to accusations against numerous sites for allegedly using it to artificially boost their views, similar to viewbotting.

Prominent streamers like Ludwig and Asmongold (on his Zackrawrr channel) have voiced their concerns about this practice. Ludwig has even claimed that the channel Fextralife, known for its popular wiki pages, is stealing views from other smaller channels.

What exactly is embedding and why the outrage?

Embedding allows you to display your Twitch channel and chat on an external website. Typically, streamers embed their channels on websites they own or manage. As of October 4th, 2023, Fextralife has embedded their channel in the sidebar of their wiki pages with autoplay activated.

This means every visitor to their wiki pages counts as a viewer for their channel. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with embedding, the issue arises on Twitch where these embedded views elevate a channel in the directory they’re streaming under. Meaning the streamers with more active communities won’t be at the top of the directory!

For instance, if you’re embedding your channel on a site with high traffic while streaming Dark Souls, your channel might display hundreds or even thousands of viewers. In reality, you have a dead chat and the majority of viewers merely visiting a website for another purpose.

This is where the comparison of viewbotting comes in, leading many streamers to equate these “unengaged” views with bots. This also means that visitors of the site are using bandwidth on a video stream that they might not be interested in viewing.

Furthermore, these creators gain an advantage over their peers when seeking sponsorships, as inflated viewer counts can potentially lure advertisers.

What should change with Twitch stream embedding?

This is a bit tricky of a situation. Some sites can use embedding the right way. For example, you could include your stream on a self-managed website where it was obvious that the visitor’s intent was to view your channel.

To be honest, around 2017 or so (can’t remember that far back), we experiemented with embedding for this website! The original idea was simply to let people know that we were live so if they had any streaming or customer support related questions, they could hop into our stream and get them answered immediately.

At the time, it made sense to us. However, we quickly found it to not be valuable to ourselves, other creators, or our website visitors.

Eventually, we tried putting the channel on the contact page, hoping that we could alert visitors that they could get their Twitch overlay questions answered immediately with live video responses. After that, maybe they’d stay around to watch some design or coding (RIP Creative). This method actually had a lot more effect on our stream. We noticed more engaged viewers and happier customers.

Did we have it right? No, definitely not.

If I could go back and change how we did it from the start, I’d only include our stream on the contact page, but I’d like it to be set to bring in a live thumbnail every so often. I’d also hope that Twitch wouldn’t count a view until the visitor interacted with the stream or chat.

Let’s be honest. High viewer numbers might feel good, but I’m sure we’d all prefer to see a healthy and active chat.

What’s happening to embedding?

Nothing has been officially announced just yet. We recommend checking out the Twitch guidelines here for more information.

It seems that some streamers are compiling a list of channels they feel are abusing the system which they’ll then send to Dan Clancy or someone at Twitch. After that, it’s up to Twitch to decide what to do. From the sounds of it, the first step will be disabling autoplay for channels that Twitch deems to be using this feature inappropriately.

We’re glad to see these changes coming and we hope that Twitch listens to more feedback from what has always been a tight-knit community.