Twitch CEO announces service's closure in South Korea citing 'prohibitively expensive' costs

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(Image credit: Twitch)

Twitch will officially be closing down services in South Korea at the beginning of next year due to high operating costs. 

The news of Twitch shutting down in South Korea came after the CEO, Dan Clancy, explained the decision in a blog post. "We’ve made the difficult decision to shut down the Twitch business in Korea on February 27, 2024, KST. We understand this is extremely disappointing news, and we want to explain why we made this decision and how we plan to support those impacted."

Clancy explains how the cost to maintain business in South Korea is "prohibitively expensive." After significant efforts to solve this problem, such as experimenting with a peer-to-peer model for source quality and adjusting the quality to a maximum of 720p, the cost saved was still insufficient to maintain business. 

"Our network fees in Korea are still 10 times more expensive than in most other countries," Clancy said. "Twitch has been operating in Korea at a significant loss, and unfortunately, there is no pathway forward for our business to run more sustainably in that country."

Unfortunately, this will impact all Twitch streamers in Korea who have devoted a significant amount of time and effort to building their individual communities. To ease the blow, Twitch plans "to help these communities find new homes — even if it’s regrettably not on Twitch," Clancy explains. "We will work to help Twitch streamers in Korea move their communities to alternative live streaming services in Korea. We are also reaching out to several of these services to help with the transition and will communicate with impacted streamers."

Twitch isn't alone; multiple other online businesses have communicated difficulties with operating in South Korea. In September, Netflix finally agreed on network fees with the South Korean internet provider SK Broadband (ABC News). This is largely due to Korean ISPs forcing content and application providers to pay network fees for the internet traffic they send over the networks of ISPs within the country. 

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Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.