Channel Points Are Gone

Channel Points were something I never asked for. One day, Twitch dumped this feature on us where viewers passively accrue a fantasy currency as they watch streams, and then they purchase stuff with them. The problem is, Twitch didn’t furnish creators with enough built-in ways to let people redeem channel points, and this feature was enabled by default. I was expected to come up with my own ways to let people redeem them, and frankly I’ve been stumped as to what they should even be used for.

Part of this might have been because I thought Channel Points couldn’t be disabled. I had looked for the option a long time ago and couldn’t find it, so I assumed I was obligated to use them. Recently I discovered I could turn them off, so I did. People who have their own Twitch channels can tell you that the Dashboard on Twitch is really poorly organized and is constantly changing.

Anyways, the Channel Points are gone now, and here’s a bullet list of the various reasons why I turned them off.

Why Channel Points are not a good fit for Mike Matei Live

  • I can’t have audio or visual popups on my stream
    I used to have audio alerts when people subbed or sent out bits. Unfortunately, this didn’t work because I like to edit my stream footage into compilations later, and bells, whistles and graphics onscreen can interfere with that process. So, I can’t have people redeem Channel Points for alerts like I see some other streamers do.
  • I have a hard time committing to gimmicks for long term
    Long time fans remember I used to do all sorts of stuff that I no longer do. I used to have a big physical lever I’d pull that would show Thunder in Paradise clips. There comes a point where segments need to be retired, and I think it’s the right thing to do. I don’t want to run things into the ground.
  • Most Channel Point redemption ideas would involve copying other streamers
    I like to do my own thing, and frankly I’m not particularly interested in borrowing other people’s ideas for my own stream. People would say “just let people redeem their points for X like such and such streamer does” and the idea of just copying someone else doesn’t exactly thrill me. I’m not saying Mike Matei Live is the cutting edge of innovation in live entertainment, but I think it’s reasonable to say that for the most part this channel has its own distinct style that we came up with over the years, and we do our own thing.
  • I don’t believe in highlighted comments
    In my streams, I try and replicate the feeling of the 80’s/90’s when you’d go over a friends house and hang out. Imagine for a second, it was 1991 and you are over your friends house. You want to talk to him while you are both sitting on the couch, but you can’t get his attention unless you used a point system. You would think your friend is a crazy. That is not the type of atmosphere I want in my stream. I want to talk to people like they are human beings. Not to where they have to acquire points to get my attention for a highlighted message. I do not believe in the system and I don’t want it as a part of my chat.
  • The economy of Channel Points is impossible to balance properly
    So let’s say one of the Channel Points redemption ideas is I draw you a picture of anything you want onstream. Okay, I can do that. Here’s the problem: how much should it cost?
    For the sake of argument, let’s say I made Draw You a Picture cost 100 channel points. Well, guess what? Now I have to draw hundreds of pictures for everyone in the channel because it’s too inexpensive.
    Okay, so what’s the solution? Make them absurdly expensive? How expensive should they be? The problem is, I can make them really expensive, but they still have to be affordable by SOMEONE. But, there’s a cluster of people who have tons of Channel Points, so I still run into the problem of a bunch of people purchasing Draw You a Picture all at once. The amount of people with tons and tons of Channel Points is actually a pretty big group of people.
    What if all these Channel Point millionaires buy a picture simultaneously and I can’t draw all the pictures at once? I have to keep track of who bought what and then promise to draw them a picture later? Now I have to keep appointments with people? Instead of streaming video games, which is the main reason the channel exists? I don’t want to do it.
    Being able to balance the economy of Channel Points requires a lot of math. It feels as complicated as game developers balancing stats in an RPG game or people working in government passing laws to help the real world economy. It’s actually quite difficult to figure out how much these Channel Point redemptions should even cost, and Twitch doesn’t exactly provide me with tools to figure these questions out.
  • I never wanted this feature
    Literally, one day I woke up and now there’s Channel Points. There was no warning, it was dumped on me. I never asked for this feature, I never once had a single thought in my head to the effect of “I wish people would earn a fantasy currency for watch time on my streams.” Never asked for it, don’t want it, never did.
    When Channel Points were introduced, I felt no excitement. There were no butterflies in my stomach fantasizing about all the possibilities for fun ideas involving Channel Points. Quite the contrary, they have been a huge thorn in my side and since the beginning I have wanted to disable them and for a long time, I believed I was unable to.

    I could probably make more bullet points, but that’s good for now. I know some of you guys care about the Channel Points but… I’ve been pretty transparent about how I have never cared about them and didn’t want them on my channel.

    So, from me to you… sorry about your Channel Points. I hope you guys can see my point of view, and thanks for reading this and at least understanding my reasoning.