Twitch withdrew its iconic PogChamp emote a few days ago after the individual it was based on—Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez—posted some tweets urging more mob violence after the Capitol riot. The legacy of PogChamp, nevertheless, will live on: today, Twitch has revealed that it will run through different iterations of the emote every 24 hours, beginning today.
The reason PogChamp was famous was because it was a global hype emote site: anytime something cool occurred on Twitch, you could be sure to see people pogging in the chat. As the writer (and, in full disclosure, my friend) Ryan Broderick put it in his outstanding Garbage Day newsletter, Twitch’s removal of the PogChamp emote was possibly in the interest of a genuinely mainstream platform.
“The other big part of this is that Twitch’s huge goal as a company seems to be fully divorced from the credibility as an ESPN for gamers,” Broderick writes. “So the PogChamp disaster is basically perfect for Twitch—a minor difference that indicates that they are no more associated with Gutierrez and everything within the direct toxic strain of the pro-gaming group he represents.”
Twitch’s drive towards genuinely mainstream relevance did not begin in 2020, and a year spent more on the inside helped shift the platform. Maybe the best victory the best signal—that Twitch was starting to accomplish desired objectives was the stream of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) with some of Twitch’s biggest stars, one of the largest single streams the platform has ever seen.
The belief that there was a disparity between Twitch’s impact and conventional influence evaporated at the very instant AOC’s stream went dark. (Since then, the internet-savvy congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has also streamed Entre Us with a cast of all-star broadcasters.) A Twitch representative told me in an email that the company needed to change the emote because of what occurred this week, and that Sean “Day9” Plott had a brilliant idea. The representative did not say how long the project would run, but said that the company was looking to the Twitch group to see their answer.
In several other terms, PogChamp is deceased. Long live the PogChamps.