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Shroud Announces His Return to Twitch

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  • Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek will be returning to Twitch as part of an exclusive streaming deal. Details of the agreement remain unknown as of now. 
  • The move comes after Microsoft was forced to buy Shroud out of his exclusive contract when it pulled the plug on its steaming platform Mixer this past June.
  • The deal has also reignited questions about where Tyler “Ninja” Blevins could land now that he is a free agent following Mixer’s end. 
  • Also this week, Amazon rebranded Twitch Prime to Prime Gaming in an effort to broaden its reach to all types of gamers and unify its entertainment offerings. 

Shroud Returns to Twitch 

After weeks of questions and speculations, Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek has finally revealed that he is returning to Twitch with an exclusive streaming deal.

According to reports, the site only saw 0.2% growth year over year. For comparison, Twitch and Facebook Gaming reportedly saw triple-digit growth, while YouTube gaming saw 65% growth.

When Mixer ended, Microsoft was forced to buy its exclusive streamers out of their contracts. That reportedly earned Shroud a cool $10 million and left him as a free agent. Since then, many have been wondering where he would move next, and now, we finally have the answer. 

Details of his Twitch deal were not disclosed, but Shroud made the announcement himself with an epic return video that said “I’m coming home.” 

According to Loaded, a gamer talent management firm that represents Shroud, he considered moving to YouTube and Facebook, but ultimately landed on Twitch.

In a statement to The Washington Post, Shroud said: “As I was exploring options, I realized that there was no better place than Twitch to engage with the best and most loyal gaming community worldwide.”

Meanwhile, Michael Aragon, SVP of Content at Twitch said, “There’s nothing better than a homecoming, so we’re thrilled to welcome Shroud and his incredible community back to Twitch.” 

For now, Loaded said followers will need to re-subscribe to Shroud’s Twitch channel but their subscription tenures will be recognized. 

What’s Going on With Dr.DisRespect and Ninja 

Some view this deal as Twitch’s attempt to strengthen its place at the top of the streaming market, however, others see Shroud’s homecoming as a return to the status quo.  

Still, it’s worth noting that the move comes after Twitch banned one of its top streamers Dr DisRespect. As far as what’s going on with Dr DisRespect, details of his still ban remain quiet.

He has started streaming on YouTube recently, with pretty impressive numbers. His first stream brought it more than half a million viewers, however, he appears to be streaming on YouTube on his own, not as part of any new deal. 

As far as what’s going on with Ninja, Shroud’s return to Twitch has definitely sparked new questions about where he’ll land. Ninja returned to his 15 million follower Twitch channel earlier this month and has also streamed on YouTube, but he hasn’t struck any deal as of yet, so many are still keeping an eye out for what his next move could be. 

Amazon Rebrands Twitch Prime 

In other interesting gaming news, Amazon has rebranded Twitch Prime to Prime Gaming this week as it works to unify its entertainment offerings. 

Prime Gaming is included in standard Amazon Prime subscription and Prime Video subscriptions. Prime Gaming users receive a library of games to play, new monthly releases, a Twitch subscription, and in-game loot for popular games like “Grand Theft Auto Online,” “Apex Legends,” “Red Dead Redemption 2,” and more.

This is pretty much the same as how the service worked when it was known as Twitch Prime, and the Twitch-specific benefits are the same too, which means you still get the premium chat badge and extra emoticons. 

So why did they change it? Well, Amazon, which owns Twitch, is hoping this rebrand will help widen its appeal. It’s likely that some prime members aren’t aware of all the bundled options for Twitch memberships and other related offers. The idea is that rebranding could clarify that Twitch Prime isn’t just live streaming or regular Twitch users. 

Larry Plotnick, director of Prime Gaming said, “It has nothing negative to do about Twitch.”

“We love Twitch. We’re still very deeply partnered with them. But the goal here is really to reach as broad of an audience as possible, reach as many gamers as possible.”

When Twitch Prime launched in 2016, Plotnick said it had a focus on “predominantly core gamers,” but the world of gaming has grown so much over the last few years so this rebrand is part of an overall vision to include different gamers who play on different devices. 

In fact, you might have already noticed that over the last few years, more mobile games have been included in its offerings. According to reports, Prime Gaming will also soon add more family-friendly titles to its lineup. Users can also keep its PC game offerings permanently, even if they choose to end their subscription.

Amazon also hasn’t really seen broad success in its standalone efforts to break into the gaming space. For example, it’s latest game “Crucible” flopped and was then pulled from wide release as a result. Now, Amazon hopes that if members pick up on the benefits of Prime Gaming, it’ll help with their overall marketing efforts and success in the gaming space.  

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (ESPN)

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Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos

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The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.


Bezos Prank

Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. 

According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws. 

For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform. 

The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.

It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end. 

The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions. 

First Twitch Hack 

Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.

That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019. 

It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.

Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already. 

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Forbes) (CNET)

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Twitch Blames Server Configuration Error for Hack, Says There’s No Indication That Login Info Leaked

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The platform also said full credit card numbers were not reaped by hackers, as that data is stored externally. 


Login and Credit Card Info Secure

Twitch released a security update late Wednesday claiming it had seen “no indication” that users’ login credentials were stolen by hackers who leaked the entire platform’s source code earlier in the day.

“Full credit card numbers are not stored by Twitch, so full credit card numbers were not exposed,” the company added in its announcement.

The leaked data, uploaded to 4chan, includes code related to the platform’s security tools, as well as exact totals of how much it has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019. 

Early Thursday, Twitch also announced that it has now reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Streamers looking for their new keys can visit a dashboard set up by the platform, though users may need to manually update their software with the new key before being able to stream again depending on what kind of software they use.

As far as what led to the hackers being able to steal the data, Twitch blamed an error in a “server configuration change that was subsequently accessed by a malicious third party,” confirming that the leak was not the work of a current employee who used internal tools. 

Will Users Go to Other Streaming Platforms?

While no major creators have said they are leaving Twitch for a different streaming platform because of the hack, many small users have either announced their intention to leave Twitch or have said they are considering such a move. 

It’s unclear if the leak, coupled with other ongoing Twitch controversies, will ultimately lead to a significant user exodus, but there’s little doubt that other platforms are ready and willing to leverage this hack in the hopes of attracting new users. 

At least one big-name streamer has already done as much, even if largely only presenting the idea as a playful jab rather than with serious intention. 

“Pretty crazy day today,” YouTube’s Valkyrae said on a stream Wednesday while referencing a tweet she wrote earlier the day.

“YouTube is looking to sign more streamers,” that tweet reads. 

I mean, they are! … No shade to Twitch… Ah! Well…” Valkyrae said on stream before interrupting herself to note that she was not being paid by YouTube to make her comments. 

See what others are saying: (Engadget) (BBC) (Gamerant)

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The Entirety of Twitch Has Been Leaked Online, Including How Much Top Creators Earn

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The data dump, which could be useful for some of Twitch’s biggest competitors, could signify one of the most encompassing platform leaks ever.


Massive Collection of Data Leaked 

Twitch’s full source code was uploaded to 4chan Wednesday morning after it was obtained by hackers.

Among the 125 GB of stolen data is information revealing that Amazon, which owns Twitch, has at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library. That library, codenamed Vapor, would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.

With Amazon being the all-encompassing giant that it is, it’s not too surprising that it would try to develop a Steam rival, but it’s eyecatching news nonetheless considering how much the release of Vapor could shake up the market.

The leaked data also showcased exactly how much Twitch has paid its creators, including the platform’s top accounts, such as the group CriticalRole, as well as steamers xQcOW, Tfue, Ludwig, Moistcr1tikal, Shroud, HasanAbi, Sykkuno, Pokimane, Ninja, and Amouranth.

These figures only represent payouts directly from Twitch. Each creator mentioned has made additional money through donations, sponsorships, and other off-platform ventures. Sill, the information could be massively useful for competitors like YouTube Gaming, which is shelling out big bucks to ink deals with creators. 

Data related to Twitch’s internal security tools, as well as code related to software development kits and its use of Amazon Web Services, was also released with the hack. In fact, so much data was made public that it could constitute one of the most encompassing platform dumps ever.

Creators Respond

Streamer CDawgVA, who has just under 500,000 subscribers on Twitch, tweeted about the severity of the data breach on Wednesday.

“I feel like calling what Twitch just experienced as “leak” is similar to me shitting myself in public and trying to call it a minor inconvenience,” he wrote. “It really doesn’t do the situation justice.”

Despite that, many of the platform’s top streamers have been quite casual about the situation.

“Hey, @twitch EXPLAIN?”xQc tweeted. Amouranth replied with a laughing emoji and the text, “This is our version of the Pandora papers.” 

Meanwhile, Pokimane tweeted, “at least people can’t over-exaggerate me ‘making millions a month off my viewers’ anymore.”

Others, such as Moistcr1tikal and HasanAbi argued that their Twitch earning are already public information given that they can be easily determined with simple calculations. 

Could More Data Come Out?

This may not be the end of the leak, which was labeled as “part one.” If true, there’s no reason to think that the leakers wouldn’t publish a part two. 

For example, they don’t seem to be too fond of Twitch and said they hope this data dump “foster[s] more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.”

They added that the platform is a “disgusting toxic cesspool” and included the hashtag #DoBetterTwitch, which has been used in recent weeks to drive boycotts against the platform as smaller creators protest the ease at which trolls can use bots to spam their chats with racist, sexist, and homophobic messages.

Still, this leak does appear to lack one notable set of data: password and address information of Twitch users.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the leakers don’t have it. It could just mean they are only currently interested in sharing Twitch’s big secrets. 

Regardless, Twitch users and creators are being strongly urged to change their passwords as soon as possible and enable two-factor authentication.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Video Games Chronicle) (Kotaku)

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