This article was updated on 8/8/20.
The man can generate hype, I’ll give him that. After a mysterious disappearance that lasted longer than a month, Dr Disrespect has returned to streaming today on YouTube, his apparent new home after his permanent Twitch ban.
Yesterday afternoon Doc started running a static stream, and after the first hour or so, revealed that he’d return today at 3 PM ET. Well, that was pushed to 4 PM, and now he is indeed live to over 500,000 viewers at the time of this writing and no, naturally he does not have any concrete answers for us about his famous Twitch ban. He addressed the ban, saying that he still has no idea why Twitch banned him, and that he cannot think of anything he would have done to have warranted the ban. This remains difficult to believe, and yet Doc pushed back on critics that don’t believe this line about the ban, calling it a “cockroach approach” to speculate on what happened. The “last thing” he said he was going to say about it was “let the legal professionals do what they need to do, that’s it.”
Quite literally nothing has leaked out about Doc’s Twitch ban in the last month. Not from him, Twitch or inside sources. Twitch abruptly ended a recently signed, multi-million dollar contract with Dr Disrespect just months after the deal was made, and gave no reason for doing so, only saying that all creators are subject to the same rules, no matter their size. Dr Disrespect maintained that he had not been told why he was banned, and managed to get through a lot of major interviews revealing absolutely nothing about what was going on in a PR-sanitized tour where he kept saying he couldn’t talk about what was going on with Twitch for legal reasons.
What legal reasons? That remains unclear. Perhaps more unclear than ever, now. At first, given that Doc’s ban came immediately after a wave of #MeToo allegations in the gaming industry, many of which led to Twitch bans, the logical leap was that perhaps something of that nature, and/or something criminal, might be going on behind the scenes.
But there were no public accusations ever made against Doc. He has not been arrested or charged with anything in the last month. So now he is essentially mounting a “comeback” from something that…no one knows the details of. It’s a very strange situation. This is, of course, the type of speculation that Doc has pushed back against, yet has offered no plausible theories of his own about the ban, and is now content to be quiet and let lawyers work it out.
It does feel a little weird to see such massive support for Doc’s return without ever getting clarity on the Twitch situation. The line among his fans seems to be that since nothing bad has come out, there’s no reason not to support him, and they assume that Twitch just screwed him over in some way, and whatever “legal” issues are ongoing, they must be contractual, not criminal. It’s possible, but it’s also probably too soon to rule anything out, even if it’s been over a month now.
So, here’s the comeback, which does not involve Doc signing a new contract, but instead just heading to YouTube to stream without any sort of high dollar deal, just to…stream. And of course he can make money anyway and has already raked in tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in subscriptions and donations for the lead-up to his return and now the return itself. Since we do not know what he did to get banned from Twitch, we have no idea if that same thing could have him end up getting banned on YouTube, but he certainly doesn’t seem to think so, hence all the hype and set-up for this grand return.
It really is one of the most confounding mysteries in gaming. I had little interest in Doc before any of this, but this situation has just been so perplexing it’s hard not to be engrossed in the mystery of it all. In this industry, the truth has to leak out at some point about what happened here, but I am frankly stunned it hasn’t already, so who knows.
It appears that for now, YouTube is Doc’s new home, with or without a contract, and sources are saying that no deals from YT or any other streaming services are imminent, and yet he’s free to stream elsewhere like anyone normally would be. Even if Doc gets back to regular streaming, it’s a changed situation. He’s not allowed to stream with any of his old Twitch buddies (part of the nature of a ban), and yet he can continue creating content on YouTube unless a new ban takes effect. And since we don’t know what caused the last one, it’s impossible to say what happens next.
If you want to be one of the hundreds of thousands of people watching Doc’s return, you can view his comeback stream here. This story is not over, and if anything, is really only getting more confusing the longer answers remain out of sight.
Now that the dust has settled, we can sort through some impressive numbers for Doc’s return stream, and his recent growth on YouTube now that it appears it will be his main (and only) platform of choice.
At its peak, Doc’s return stream brought in around 510,000 concurrent viewers, dwarfing the likes of Ninja’s YouTube stream after Mixer’s shutdown, which was more around 130,000. But Ninja did not have the big air of mystery around his departure from his old platform, and many, many viewers were tuning in to see Doc explain the reason for his Twitch ban, and the end result was that he maintained he didn’t know.
Ever since Doc started teasing a streaming return on YouTube, his subs have blown up. Since the move became clear, Doc has gained about 500,000 subscribers in the last 48-72 hours, taking up to 2.25 million at the moment. Again, impressive when viewed against Ninja, who has a built-in 24 million subscribers at baseline, but his stream debut was a quarter of Doc’s.
Doc’s first stream back ended up racking up 7.2 million viewers, though that does include the lengthy amount of time where it was just essentially a loading screen.
The real test will be when Doc returns to stream with regularity, which seems to be imminent. I would imagine he will still pull in big numbers, but that 500K total is not likely to be repeated, nor anything remotely close to that, barring some big news event. Again, it does not appear that Doc has signed any sort of deal with YouTube, and unlike Ninja’s return, which was him just flexing his muscle for contract negotiations (which he later did with a Twitch stream too), Doc is simply trying to get back to streaming regularly. Whatever is happening with his Twitch ban will likely mean that he will not be able to sign a new contract until that’s resolved, so whatever money he makes will be more traditional means, donations, paid subs, merch, ad revenue, the usual. And that should be plenty.
More to come in this saga, no doubt. Stay tuned.
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