Emmett Shear, longtime CEO of video game-centric livestreaming platform Twitch, announced that he’s leaving the post effectively immediately.
Dan Clancy, currently Twitch’s president, will succeed Shear as CEO, effective immediately. In a blog post Thursday announcing the decision, Shear said he will continue to work at Twitch in an advisory role.
Shear said he was stepping down as Twitch CEO following the birth of his first child. “With my first child just born, I’ve been reflecting on my future with Twitch. Twitch often feels to me like a child I’ve been raising as well,” he wrote. “And while I will always want to be there if Twitch needs me, at 16 years old it feels to me Twitch is ready to move out of the house and venture alone. So it is with great poignancy that I share my decision to resign from Twitch as CEO. I want to be fully there for my son as he enters this world and I feel ready for this change to tackle new challenges.”
Shear had served as CEO of Twitch since 2011. It was acquired by Amazon in 2014 for a reported $970 million. In his blog post, Shear thanked Amazon “for being the best acquirer I could have hoped for. Amazon truly supported us and really allowed a product as different as Twitch the room to grow and to be itself.
“It’s hard to put into words how much Twitch has been for me,” Shear continued. “Twitch has been a place of community for streamers and viewers, but also for me. Twitch has been like my family, the place I’ve spent more of my waking hours than anywhere else.”
Shear recalled the origins of Twitch, which started as a project in the fall of 2006 to make a 24/7 live reality TV show about Justin Kan’s life. That morphed into Justin.tv, a website designed to let users “lifecast” themselves via online video, which was co-founded by Shear, Kan, Michael Seibel and Kyle Vogt. After gamers began using Justin.tv to broadcast their gameplay, the company launched the dedicated Twitch.tv service in mid-2011 and officially renamed itself Twitch Interactive in February 2014. In addition the founders of Justin.tv, Kevin Lin, Jacob Woodsey, Jon Shipman and Mike Ossareh formed the core team that led the Twitch pivot within Justin.tv, according to Shear.
Today, Twitch counts more than 8 million streamers per month. “While the 24/7 reality television show was in fact a bad idea, interactive live video on the internet has turned out to be a pretty good idea,” Shear wrote.
Following the November 2020 departure of Lin, who was formerly Twitch’s COO, Shear had been the only co-founder still at the company.