Twitch CEO Says He’s Resigning
SAN FRANCISCO — Emmett Shear, the chief executive of live-streaming site Twitch, said Thursday he was stepping down, ending a 16-year tenure for the co-founder of the platform favored by video game enthusiasts.
Mr Shear said in a blog post that he was quitting because he had just had a child. He said Dan Clancy, the president of Twitch, would take over as general manager and that Mr. Shear would remain at Twitch in an advisory role.
“Twitch often makes me feel like a kid I raised too,” he wrote. “And while I still want to be there if Twitch needs me, at 16 I feel like Twitch is ready to leave home and venture out on my own.”
Mr. Shear leaves a platform with great challenges, but also a platform that has grown considerably in recent years and has become the cultural center of the video game world. Now, live streamers who themselves stream games, cook or chat with fans can attract thousands of viewers and earn millions on the Amazon-owned site.
The platform started in 2007 as Justin.tv, a live-streaming project following the life of Justin Kan, who started the site with Mr. Shear and two others. Mr Shear wrote that he ‘thought at the time that we would most likely fail and give up in less than a year’.
Instead, the site became a hub for live video and transitioned to Twitch in 2011, a place where video game players streamed their gameplay. In 2014, Amazon bought the site for $1 billion. .
As Twitch has grown, it has faced the same questions as other social platforms, such as how it should regulate harmful content and keep its users happy. It also faces the question of how best to cater to its star content creators, many of whom have been lured to rival platforms like YouTube. Over the past few years, Twitch creators have called out the platform for not doing enough to protect them from online stalkers and harassment, and complained that the site takes too much of their revenue.
Despite the controversy, Twitch has continued to thrive. The site now attracts seven million streamers each month and 31 million viewers daily.
From now on, Mr. Clancy, who already ran the day-to-day operations of the site, will take over. A long-time Google employee and Nextdoor executive, he lacks the gaming background of Mr. Shear, an avid StarCraft player.
“It’s a strength and a weakness,” Mr Clancy said of his lack of experience in the game during an interview last year. “It’s a strength because I don’t come to Twitch with these preconceptions about Twitch.”