The Streamer Awards Made Me Feel Too Old for Twitch

QTCINDERELLA & POKIMANE at the Streamer Awards
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On Saturday, the Streamer Awards returned for its third year to celebrate the top talent in the live-streaming space. Hosted by QTCinderella and Pokimane, dozens of top content creators from Twitch, YouTube, and even a couple from Kick managed to leave their homes to spend a few hours in The Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California.

There were musical performances, a second win for Kai Cenat for streamer of the year, and even an alleged broken men’s restroom. But the whole show felt like it slogged, full of names and faces I barely recognized, which made me think I was just out of the culture.  

Not counting the pre-show, where fans could control cameras around the venue or a live-streamed red carpet featuring a mix of legacies streamers like Hasan Piker and new faces I’d never heard of, the show was nearly four hours long. Segments that reviewed the top clips of each month and streamer montages dragged on for dozens of minutes, to the point where I just lost attention.

To honor fighting game YouTuber and pioneer Maximilian Dood with their Legacy Award, the show streamed a loving compilation of his top clips that was wrought with technical issues and felt a lot longer than its four-minute run time. 

I consider myself fairly plugged into the world of digital culture since I’ve been writing about it for the past decade and have yet to shake off my crippling Twitter addiction. But there were so many faces and moments I felt out of the loop on.

Speed runner Liam won the Streamer’s Choice Award, and before that moment, I had no idea he existed. LowTierGod was considered to be one of the most toxic fighting game streamers of all time, with compilations of him raging over the past decade pulling in hundreds of thousands of views. But apparently, he’s been streaming on Twitch to a newer audience that believes he’s reformed, though his rage still seems to come out. 

Leading up to the event, QT tweeted that the show needed more advertisers to stay profitable, but the brands were still out in force. AT&T was plastered all over the pre-show. Ludwig Ahgren’s creative agency Offbrand ran ads during the show, and Twitch was a partner.

New Twitch president Dan Clancy appeared all over the show, getting interviewed in the audience AustinShow, playing a musical number on the piano with rapper bbno$, and presenting Valkyrae with the Sapphire Award, which is “dedicated to streamers who identify as female or a marginalized gender,” according to the award’s site. On social media, viewers wrote that they “love” him and he is “actually there and looking like he gives a shit.” 

Clancy took over as CEO in March 2023 and has been way more in the spotlight than his predecessor, Emmett Shear. He streams on Twitch and has appeared on other creators’ streams to help build a bond with the community, even personally apologizing in June when new advertising rules were announced that would make streamers lose money on brand deals. The Streamer Awards was just another chance for him to build goodwill with the audience and streamers, which just felt off. 

The Streamer Awards serve as an excuse for top streaming talent to get together and pat each other on the back, which I have no issue with. If the Oscars and the Grammys can inflate the egos of traditional celebrities, streamers should get the same privilege.

But the show felt like a slog to watch, packed with personalities that made me feel ostracized on the beat I’ve been covering since some of these streamers were in middle school. The internet is a constantly moving place, and I only hope they put next year’s Streamer Awards on at my retirement home. 

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