Twitch Has Announced Its Replacement For PogChamp

Friendship ended with PogChamp; who will be Twitch's best friend now?

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After the face behind one of Twitch's most popular emotes, PogChamp, used social media to incite further civil unrest during the riots at the US Capitol on Wednesday, the emote has been removed from the streaming service.

Twitch took to Twitter to announce the decision, stating "We've made the decision to remove the PogChamp emote following statements from the face of the emote encouraging further violence after what took place in the Capitol today."

But just because the face of the emote is gone, that doesn't mean Twitch wants to remove the spirit of it. In its Twitter thread the streaming company said: "We want the sentiment and use of Pog to live on-its meaning is much bigger than the person depicted or image itself-and it has a big place in Twitch culture. However, we can't in good conscience continue to enable use of the image. We will work with the community to design a new emote for the most hype moments on Twitch." And following people's suggestions, Twitch is taking action.

Fans and streamers have already jumped on the notion of redesigning Pog. Zombaekillz, the streamer who led the charge on getting PogChamp removed in the first place, has put forth Spawn On Me host/founder Kahlief Adams. Others are advocating for the new face of Pog to be someone from the fighting game community, or a Twitch brand ambassador--ideally a Black content creator. There have been several incidents where streamers and their communities have felt Twitch has not done enough to address issues of racism and harassment on their platform, so moving in this direction may help address some of these concerns. Another streamer, Sean Plott, has argued that there should be a variety of faces to choose from when people in chat want to use Pog to encourage more diversity and inclusion in the streaming space. It seems Twitch found this option to be the most favorable, as it's going ahead with just that starting today.

However, not everyone is on board with this idea, or with replacing PogChamp with a real person at all. As Chris Hanel, lead producer for Games Done Quick pointed out on Twitter, the idea of tying cultural language to actual people's likenesses is fraught and short sighted considering people are imperfect. In short, having a whole ecosystem based on inside jokes tied to real people's faces may not be the best call, from Hanel's point of view.

There are tons of options for who--or what--the next face of PogChamp could be, but all of them share the same open-mouth, wide-eyed astonishment present in the original. While Twitch has made its decision on a rebrand for its hype emote, there were still a lot of fun ideas thrown out for potential replacements. Here are some highlights of suggestions.

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