Channels garnering followers through 'bots' are becoming common now. Recently, the fastest growing channels on Twitch, the leading live-streaming platform for gamers, were overtaken by one such bot-run channel. Surfacing on April 9, the now-banned 01sh01 streamed for 14 minutes promoting an online casino called SlotV and amassed huge followers in the shortest span of time.
Casinos are not hugely popular on Twitch, and amassing 5,69,067 followers in a single stream with only had 3,223 views is a bit odd. The channel overtook Michael 'shroud' Grzesiek and Turner 'Tfue' Tenney, two of the biggest channels on the platform, in terms of growth.
Shroud is a former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive champion whose popularity has been growing even faster since the release of the first-person battle-royale game, Apex: Legends.
As is now clear, the 01sh01 channel was using bots to increase the number of followers and advertise a casino. This is just one in several such attacks on the popular live-streaming website. Last month another casino advertising channel, Novat0r_Konb, beat Shroud to gain the top spot with 4,87,419 followers from just 2,652 views. It was also subsequently banned.
Bots are a serious problem for Twitch and its partners. Often subscription gifts like stickers and badges offered for legitimate followers get received by these bots too. Twitch has an official page with details on botting and how to deal with them, advising users to not feed online trolls and providing an option to report them for botting.
Shroud has been quite vocal previously about bots bringing viewership. He usually condemns bots, but in a stream in February this year, he said that bots may be the reason behind his success with Apex: Legends. "11pm, 2am, 3am - there are a hundred thousand people just hanging out. Like, I don't even believe it is real. I believe it is being botted. Someone out there I believe is botting something. I just don't believe it is real, personally. But, okay I'll take it," Shroud said.
Twitch is host to a multitude of streamers who play a variety of games including League of Legends, Fortnite, GTA V and PUBG among others. Bots are difficult to track for moderators if they operate on lower scales.
Meanwhile, the new list of free games offered to Twitch Prime members is out. Whispering Willows, Stealth Bastard Deluxe, The Little Acre, Majesty 1, and Majesty 2 will be available for free from the 1st of May. Prime members have till 30 April to grab Her Story, InnerSpace, Joggernauts, and Keep in Mind.