MMO Business Roundup: Twitch affiliate mess, NFL esports, Skull & Bones boss ousted


Welcome back to another quick roundup of MMO and games industry news relevant to our interests.

First, Twitch is making waves – the bad kind – as it’s announced that its apparently solution to the ongoing deluge of DMCA demands from the music industry (and thousands of videos being stripped from the platform) is to add Monstercat Gold to the company’s affiliate program. Affiliated streamers will be able to use official music freely without fear of random takedowns. There’s a catch: Streamers can now just purchase affiliate access outright, basically changing the way the affiliate program works overnight and raising an outcry from streamers who worked for their place in the ecosystem.

Second, since COVID is actually strengthening rather than reducing this fall, the NFL is making use of – you guessed it – video games to host football games. The National Football League and Electronic Arts announced that the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl will be hosted inside Madden NFL 21. “EA SPORTS and the NFL will create a week-long series of matchups featuring celebrities, NFL Legends, current players, and streamers playing as the official Pro Bowl rosters in Madden NFL 21,” the announcement says. “These matchups will culminate in an action-packed virtual Pro Bowl game played with 2021 Pro Bowl players facing off within Madden NFL 21. These virtual games will be available for fans to watch across a variety of platforms.” Sportsball!

Finally, who remembers Skull and Bones? It was the Ubisoft pirate game that’s been hampered by delays and staff shuffling, stuck in development limbo for years even after its original E3 debut. Apparently, there’s more staff shuffling on deck, as Kotaku reported today that Hugues Ricour, the boss at Ubisoft Singapore, which was working on the game, has been toppled from the position he’d held since 2018. He will apparently be moved elsewhere within the company. Kotaku points out that Ricour had previously been accused of sexual harassment and bullying, making him one of the many problematic Ubisoft staffers who were ousted during Ubisoft’s reckoning with its culture problems this year. It’s not clear whether this will have an impact on the game, but given its long delays, we’re not sure anyone will mind.


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Action packed? this NFL thing sounds like a preplanned disaster with lots of laughing involved.

Hikari Kenzaki

I could write an entire article on why the changes to Twitch only set up more creatives for failure and put more money in Amazon’s pocket (beyond any amount they get via the Monstercat deal directly), but I don’t really want to get into it here.

If you’re really considering this as a way to get past the Affiliate hoops, feel free to ask me privately.


The ads on Twitch are becoming oppressive to the point I’ve just stopped watching it.

No one wants a mid-roll ad on a platform where you’re watching someone do something and you miss out on a big moment because some fast food joint thinks some 10 second ad is going to get me to buy their shitty food. Tuning into someone cause you’re hearing something big only to be greeted with 20 seconds of ads is just a non-starter. I’d literally rather just not watch at all and I’m certainly not going to pay.

They need to find a better way to monetize it cause all it’s making me do is vastly increase the amount of YouTube content I consume instead. If this is it? Fine.

Vanquesse V

Good ol’ twitch burning goodwill like it was going out of style.

Jeremy Barnes

I have no idea what their business strategy is.. unless it’s a research project to see how you can take a dominant market share and really try to force competitors into existence to take that market share from you.

Vanquesse V

And to make matters worse: both youtube and facebook have absolutely massive userbases to draw from if they want more viewers. What does twitch have? a reputation, and that’s what they’re eroding at a swift pace