The twin evils of the videogame industry – streaming service Twitch and game publisher Activision Blizzard – have reached new lows, crossing the threshold of user exploitation with the promotion of gambling.
Not content with raking in millions of dollars a day from the sales of their products, or in the case of Twitch, through advertising to its streaming audience, these companies are now profiting from real-world addiction, and they’re doing so by normalizing gambling as a healthy activity.
One of Twitch’s biggest streamers, Quebec-based Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel – whose claim to fame came from professionally streaming the Activision Blizzard game ‘Overwatch’ – has recently come under fire for hosting sponsored streams for online casinos.
In a recent stream, Lengyel boasted that over $119 million had been wagered through his referral links to an online casino, used exclusively by members of his audience. His remarks attracted condemnation from fellow streamer Hasan Piker, who pointed out that the losses incurred by his viewers quite possibly resulted in him earning more income from the sponsorship.
“A lot of these websites, Stake and all of them, if they have a code, if you are offering a code, that means that Stake is tracking all of your losses, and you are getting a percentage of your fanbase’s losses,” Piker said on stream. “That is quite literally the truth. That is how f***ing bad it is. They let you in on it, dude. They let you in on the losses of your f***ing fanbase.”