To cap or not to cap – the Twitch donation debate

In a somewhat surprising recent move, Twitch streamer Pokimane put a strong cap on the amounts that her viewers can donate in one go. As of the 2nd of November, donations are capped to $5 per tip.

She worked together with Streamlabs in order to create that limitation. Fans can now donate a minimum of $2 and a maximum of $5. In addition to that, she also encouraged her more generous viewers to donate additional money to growing creators, charities, or even to spend it on themselves.

Her move was supported by other creators like Jericho, who wanted the option to limit donations according to their preferences to be available to all streamers. With some viewers donating large amounts to their favourite streamers, the top streamers in the world can easily make a huge amount of money. Though rare, individual donations can run as high as tens of thousands of dollars in one go.

This Twitch donation limit prevents that. Yet, oddly enough, it has sparked some controversy as well. Not all streamers agree that such a limit being a common ‘thing’ is a good development.

Twitch donation cap

Pokimane / xQc / Tyler1

The other side of the Twitch coin

Streamers like xQc see a problem with these limitations – namely that if they become common place, it could reflect badly on streamers who choose not to use them. At the same time, smaller and upcoming streamers may well rely on the occasional bigger donation to keep going, so they could ultimately end up in a catch-22.

xQc went on to clarify that he doesn’t think the limit that Pokimane put on is bad – in fact, he does agree that it’s a good thing. However, he warns that the result of it could end up making it harder for other streamers out there.

“Every time that one creator does something that’s good, for some reason — I don’t know why — everybody, instead of going ‘oh that’s good,’ you know what they do? They don’t do that,” xQc explained. “They say ‘holy s**t, all the other ones not doing it, they’re bad,’ and that’s a really odd way of thinking, and doing things. This happens on Twitch across the board, every time, any time somebody does something it’s always like this.

Riding the coattails?

Content creator Tyler1 is also looking into creating a cap for his donations, though for a somewhat peculiar reason. He says that the usual reaction when someone gives a big donation is that the streamer ends up acting all excited – and he doesn’t want to have to act or appear fake so as to not accidentally anger his followers.

Tyler1 said he hates fake reacts and yet also feels that it would be rude not to react to bigger donations – so when he heard about Pokimane’s limit, he said he wants to look into doing the same thing.

“I mean, people send a hundred dollars, and I feel like an asshole if I’m not like, oh my god, whoa, that’s crazy. People are too stupid not to do that.” Said Tyler1.

With big names leading by example like that, donation limits may in fact become more common – and many of the concerns laid out by xQc can be alleviated by having variable donation limits, to suit the needs of individual creators, rather than a general $5 limit. Twitch itself may even step in and eventually take a clear stance on the topic – for now, Pokimane leads by example with her $5 limit.

It would also be wise audience themselves not to shame content creators into falling in line one way or the other. Donation limits have been a point of debate for a while now.

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