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Iconic streamer Pokimane is leaving Twitch for YouTube

Image Credits: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Shorty Awards

Update, 1/31/23 at 1:15 PM ET: Pokimane has now confirmed she left Twitch to stream on YouTube.

One of the most popular streamers on Twitch, Pokimane announced today that she is leaving the platform. It's not yet clear if she's retiring from content creation altogether, or if she's moving from Twitch to another platform.

"twitch has been my home for a decade," Pokimane wrote on X. "but it's time to say thank you for all the memories and love during my League, Fortnite, & Among us days."

When Twitch streamers' payout data was leaked in 2021, Pokimane -- whose real name is Imane Anys -- was the highest-earning woman streamer on the platform. As she departs Twitch, she has 9.3 million followers, making her the tenth most-followed user. As one of the first women of color to emerge to Twitch stardom in a male-dominated gaming culture, Pokimane's influence is palpable.

"What an incredible journey it’s been," Twitch's X account responded to Pokimane's announcement. "We’re so proud of everything you’ve accomplished and what’s ahead in the future. You’ll always have a home on Twitch, Poki."

Over the last few years, many top streamers have left Twitch for exclusive deals with other platforms like YouTube, or the newer Kick. Kick offers creators 95% of their subscription revenue, which is a huge upgrade over Twitch's 50-50 baseline split; streamers in Twitch's Partner Plus program can make a 70-30 split.

Twitch is in a period of disarray. The Amazon-owned platform has conducted multiple rounds of layoffs in the last year as it struggles to turn a profit -- in 2024 alone, Twitch has laid off 500 employees, who made up 35% of the workforce. The company shut down service in South Korea, one of the world's largest esports markets, and it sowed discord in its community over confusing and ever-changing payout structures.

Though Kick gives creators a better revenue share, the grass isn't necessarily greener. Kick is notoriously lax when it comes to content moderation, and has become the new home for some streamers who were banned from Twitch. One such streamer is Adin Ross, who used his Kick to livestream porn and platform self-described neo-Nazis. Some streamers have also turned to Kick because it allows gambling content, which Twitch banned last year.

Pokimane isn't likely to be taking her talents to Kick, though. In June, she said in a stream that profiting from Kick would compromise her "morals and ethics."

Perhaps it's just time for Pokimane to take a break from the internet. Recently, some high-profile YouTube creators like MatPat and Tom Scott have announced their retirement, sparking discourse about how creators decide when it's time to move on.

Without her word, it's hard to know what's next for Pokimane, but her departure from Twitch is a monumental moment for the struggling platform.