Twitch Viewers Elect Meme Lizard As New Permanent Pogchamp

Illustration for article titled Twitch Viewers Elect Meme Lizard As New Permanent Pogchamp
Image: Twitch

Today, Twitch let viewers vote on a new permanent Pogchamp emote. A lizard won. Frankly, it was inevitable.

KomodoHype first got to be Pogchamp for a day last month as part of the intermittently disastrous Pogchamp-a-day promotion that brought us to this point, which Twitch decided to run after the original face of the popular emote, Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez encouraged further “civil unrest” following the insurrection at the Capitol Building. KomodoHype had two (of four) legs up on the competition: 1) It is a lizard, rather than a human, and 2) history.

As I wrote last month, when KomodoHype briefly became the non-permanent face of the Pogchamp emote:

But like so many other elements of Twitch, this emote has history. Meme history. KomodoHype has been around for more than half a decade, and one of the longer-running jokes surrounding it imagines a war between supporters of Pogchamp and supporters of KomodoHype, since the two emotes more or less accomplish the same thing.

Members of the Twitch community were meme-ing KomodoHype before deposed Pogchamp patriarch Ryan “Gootecks’’ Gutierrez fell down the conspiracy hole, so of course, when Twitch announced that it’d be giving Gutierrez’s face the boot, many Twitch users suggested replacing it with KomodoHype. If recent usage statistics (via Dot Esports) are anything to go on, a great many also started using it instead of Pogchamp. But nobody thought it was actually going to replace Pogchamp.

Now Twitch users are greeting KomodoHype’s total domination with cheers of “We won!” Some are even going so far as to call for KomodoHype to permanently take Pogchamp’s place. As a long-term solution, this makes sense. After all, a probably-photoshopped lizard cannot pull a milkshake duck or get bombarded with harassment. It’s about as uncontroversial as you can get.

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Back then, KomodoHype did not become the new permanent Pogchamp, but a little time and one fan vote later, here we are. This saves Twitch the trouble of having to somehow maybe do something to mitigate another harassment campaign, so I’m sure it’s thankful. It’s a shame that Twitch wasn’t able to use the removal of somebody who endorsed conspiracy theories concocted by white supremacists as a springboard into improving representation on the platform—if only in a small way—but Twitch ultimately proved that it’s not ready for that. That (and everything else surrounding Pogchamp) in mind, perhaps it’s time to reexamine the practice of turning real people into official, platform-wide emotes in general.

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Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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We regret to inform you that the lizard is racist.