Twitch made a drastic decision by discarding its Host Mode from the platform – According to a change to the platform’s “How to Use Host Mode” help-desk page, first noticed by writer Zach Bussey, Twitch is getting rid of Host Mode in October. On October 3, the backslash “host” command and the “Host Channel” Stream Manager quick action will no longer be accessible. The raid function will continue, however, the “Autohost” option will now be called “Suggested Channels.”
Host Mode was initially launched in 2014 to provide broadcasters a means to advertise other channels. Similar to a website embed, it enables streamers to utilize their channel to show the broadcast of another channel. Contrarily, raids provide streams with the ability to direct people to a single channel. When asked why the feature was deleted, a Twitch spokesman pointed Polygon to the “How to Use Host Mode” FAQ section.
Twitch made a drastic decision by discarding its Host Mode from the platform
“We made the decision to deprecate this feature because the experience it delivers to viewers doesn’t match their expectations when they come to Twitch,” the section stated. “Viewers want to interact with a streamer when they’re live and host mode blocks this from happening. Preventing viewers from interacting with the streamer they’re watching also limits a streamer’s growth potential because they’re not able to build meaningful connections with those new viewers.”
The decision to eliminate the function, which has been regularly used for eight years, has surprised both streamers and watchers. The idea that Host Mode “blocks” engagement also surprises them. Popular streamers used Twitter to vent their uncertainty and annoyance, and both they and their viewers remarked how the function made it possible to find or share accounts they would not have otherwise known about. Overall, opinions are conflicting.
The choice confused Omega Jones, also known as CriticalBard on Twitter and Twitch, who pointed out the many use cases for hosting versus raiding.“I raid after I am immediately done streaming & want to continue the vibes elsewhere,” he tweeted. “I host when I’m currently not live so my unused channel clicks to someone that IS live for more engagement.”
Raiding =\= Hosting, @Twitch.— CB ➔ DRAGONCON! (@CriticalBard) September 6, 2022
I raid after I am immediately done streaming & want to continue the vibes elsewhere.
I host when I’m currently not live so my unused channel clicks to someone that IS live for more engagement.
This was a highly unnecessary decision. https://t.co/Ptk450Oy0a
Others have hypothesized that the Host and Raid functionalities are in fact unnecessary, or that the functionality is overdue for an upgrade or rebuild. In any case, it’s an interesting decision because lesser Twitch accounts frequently struggle to grow their following because of the unstable discoverability aspects of the network. This truth is now so well-known that it almost seems like a meme.
Streams are instructed on how to “help encourage the growth of other streamers” in a part of the FAQ on Twitch’s Host Mode page. The major recommendations are to make advantage of the tools that are still available, such as utilizing raids to point viewers toward a suggested channel, the shoutout command, and filling up the “Suggested Channels” list.
The first time Host Mode was released, Polygon highlighted that the function benefited both the original broadcaster and the channel they were suggesting since the hosting party is able “to highlight friends’ channels or point out interesting streams.” Additionally, “any views tallied on the hosting channel count toward the channel that’s being hosted, and viewers can subscribe directly to the original channel from the host’s page.” This turned channels into venues for channel curating in addition to broadcasts in and of themselves.