The combination of gamers trying to get free access to the hottest esport going and streamers attempting to maximize viewership has led Twitch to change its rules regarding live drops. The streaming service announced yesterday on its social media channels that new guideline bans streams running 24 hours a day and labeling themselves as being live for the purposes of drawing in viewers looking to receive beta keys to be cheating, and therefore are prohibited. This comes as a direct response to streamers currently part of the closed beta for Valorant–Riot’s 5-on-5 PC shooter meant to take on the likes of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch–and its promotion of handing out random beta keys to viewers who tune into streams showing the game. The new restrictions will have an effect on other games with drops, such as Rocket League, Rainbow Six: Siege, and more.
We’ve heard concerns about creators continuously streaming VODs while tagging the channel as “Live” to farm Valorant Drops. 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.
— Twitch Support (@TwitchSupport) April 28, 2020
The massive flood of viewers attempting to get a free beta key to Valorant led to record viewership numbers for Twitch, with over 1.7 million concurrent viewers tuning into streams of the game on its first day. Much like the California gold rush, this led to the big streamers all fighting to retain as many viewers as possible, for as long as possible. The end result is Valorant streams that are running at all hours of the day, but showing archived footage of the game while the stream itself is labeled as being live. Twitch updated their community guidelines to consider such actions as a breach, saying that it is considered “cheating a Twitch rewards system (such as the Drops or channel points systems).”
The ban doesn’t just affect the PC-only Valorant, as other games across multiple platforms may see a drop in viewership numbers due to a reduction in viewers and streamers gaming the system. That said, it appears Twitch only cares about 24/7 streams breaking this rule if it involves drops, as otherwise, the new restrictions don’t seem to place a limit on non-live streams labeled as such.