You might not want to count on revisiting that favorite League of Legends match or Playdate stream in a few years' time -- not as long as it's hosted on Twitch, anyway. The game video service has implemented new policies that delete the full copies of past broadcasts after a fixed period. You'll keep them for two weeks if you're a free user, and 60 days if you're either a Turbo subscriber or one of Twitch's partners. Only highlights (up to two hours each) will stick around indefinitely. Your clips are safe for the three weeks following this post, but you'll want to quickly move them elsewhere if you're bent on keeping them for posterity. The site is also starting to mute audio (in recordings, not during live streams) that you don't have the rights to play, so you may not want to blast tunes in between rounds -- it's using the same tech that YouTube used before it launched Content ID, which adds a little more weight to those Google acquisition rumors.
Twitch explains the new time limits as necessary for tackling many of the limitations of its current video on demand system. The company wants to allow on-demand streams on mobile devices, simplify video exports and make backups more secure, but it would simply be too costly to offer those and preserve every video ever made. Something has to give, Twitch says. It also argues that you probably won't notice the difference, since 84 percent of views happen within those first two weeks. The claim likely holds water, unless you're a die-hard spectator.
IM DEAD pic.twitter.com/STP80SAQSD- Xkeeper (@xkeepah) August 6, 2014
Competitors like Hitbox.tv or Azubu.tv may pick up a few streamers unhappy with the new policies, although some users have already noticed that just pausing and resuming the video defeats the muting system. The technology likely needs some tweaking though, as even Twitch's own archives have fallen victim to the Audio Magic silencer. However you feel about all the new changes, it's evident that Twitch is no longer a one-stop shop for game videos; you'll probably have to divide your attention between multiple sites if you want to watch classic tournaments or other long gaming sessions.