Pokimane speaks out on Twitch payout leaks and lack of diversity

Pokimane calls out Twitch viewers as the reason why the platform isn't more diverse at the top.

Screengrab via Pokimane on Twitch

Before playing VALORANT on her Twitch stream yesterday, Pokimane took some time to respond to the Twitch data that was leaked on top streamer payouts earlier on Oct. 6. 

On her stream, Pokimane said she wasn’t surprised by the purported highest earners on Twitch, specifically xQc.

“It actually makes sense to me that xQc is at the top,” Poki said. “He is who he is, he streams hella long hours, he has made such an xQcL community. He’s like the poster child of streaming.”

Pokimane was also asked by her chat if she thinks it’s fair to call Twitch out on the lack of female and BIPOC representation in its top-earning streamers. She said that in her opinion, it’s not Twitch’s fault because “those numbers are just reflective of how many people subscribe to a certain channel… So this has a lot more to do with the demographic of Twitch, i.e. you guys right now, and which channels you decide to support.”

Source: via KnowNothing

Poki admitted the whole issue should be a much longer conversation and there are many different reasons why viewers are choosing to support the top Twitch streamers, but that it’s partly rooted in social issues.

“Twitch can’t force people to subscribe to female streamers more, or to creators of color, or anything like that. That’s on you guys,” Pokimane said, pointing directly at her camera. 

Poki wasn’t afraid to call out the Twitch community as a whole. She asked her chat why Twitch viewers don’t subscribe as much to underrepresented groups.

“When you think about that, of course, there will be misogynistic things, or sexist issues that might go into it… and obviously racism,” Poki said. She added that it’s likely many in the Twitch community have been “influenced or brainwashed in some capacity.” 

Poki hopes the issue will get better with time but thinks that “the demographic of Twitch also needs to change” for more female and other diverse creators to become more successful on Twitch. But Pokimane asserted her belief that viewers on Twitch, YouTube, and other content creation platforms prefer to watch creators they relate to the most.

“So as long as the majority of the gaming community is white male, the majority of the top [earners] will also be white men,” Poki said. 

According to Poki, if people want to see change on Twitch, the gaming community needs to change. Gamers need to be more welcoming and inclusive to all types of people. Once this happens, the top Twitch earners will organically become a more diverse group over time.

After speaking out about the lack of diversity among the top Twitch earners, Pokimane discussed Twitch content creation and working in the U.S. more generally. She thinks that the reason people care about Twitch streamers’ high incomes is in part due to natural curiosity but also due to jealousy and national wealth inequality. 

“People in the U.S. deserve a much better baseline quality of life and I think that would lead to a lot less frustration and anger at anyone who is making more,” Poki said. In response to anyone who might be angry at the fact that a streamer can earn millions while others may be working harder jobs for lower pay, Poki said she did not blame those people for feeling that way. But she also took a moment to explain Twitch from a creator’s point of view.

“Many of your top favorite streamers are putting their health and overall well-being on the back burner just to maximize the amount of hours that they stream and money that they make,” she said. She added that over time, she’s confident it will lead to severe health issues for some streamers. “We have an obsession with numbers that is really, really unhealthy.” 

Twitch has confirmed the data breach is real and it is working to determine the extent of the leak. Twitch released an updated statement regarding the breach earlier today, explaining that it has reset all stream keys and that “data was exposed to the internet due to an error in a Twitch server configuration change.”