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Twitch Responds To Korean Government Bill By Limiting Stream Quality To 720p

Twitch will soon limit stream video quality in South Korea to just 720p, apparently in response to a government proposal that would have global content providers pay local service providers for congestion on their networks.

South Korea is one of the most connected countries on earth, with streaming in 1080p (HD) being the norm. However, the Korean government has been increasingly looking to content platforms such as Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch to shoulder some of the financial burden of all that data flowing through Korean networks.

The Korean government's proposal is a network usage fee applied to platforms that cause heavy network traffic loads. If passed, the bill would require content platforms to partner with local ISPs to pay a standardized fee.

Response to the proposal from content platforms has been uniformly negative, with both Netflix and YouTube threatening changes to their services for Korean residents. Twitch has gone a step further and responded to the bill by limiting the quality at which viewers can stream content.

"Twitch has consistently complied with South Korea's local regulations and requirements, while faithfully paying all network fees and other related costs. However, the cost of running a Twitch service in South Korea has continued to increase, and this is likely to continue in the future," wrote Twitch on its Korean blog (thanks, ResetEra). "As a result, new solutions are needed to maintain service operations in Korea.

"In order to find a new solution so that we can continue to operate our service in Korea, we will adjust the original quality for Korean viewers on channels where transcode (quality adjustment) is available from September 30th. In other words, the video quality in Korea will be up to 720p on channels where transcode is provided."

Just as platforms have been uniformly against the proposed bill, Twitch users are in an uproar over having their stream quality capped at 720p.

In addition to government regulations seeking to siphon away corporate profits, Twitch is also having to deal with a mysterious flood of bots. The platform reportedly received over 4 million bots in under 24 hours, with more arriving by the hour. Twitch is aware of the issue and is currently investigating methods to stop the flood.

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