Twitch Counter Sues Streamer Who Was Banned

A gun-toting avatar in Counter Strike Global Offensive.

The plot thickens in the ongoing case between Twitch and former streamer James Varga. Varga sued Twitch in February for damages related to his being ousted from Twitch and now Twitch is counter-suing Varga for compensatory damages...We're going to need to do a little unpacking here.

As you may remember, Varga made a name for himself through Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Unlike most popular streamers, though, his viewership climbed due to involvement with CSGO Shuffle, a site dedicated to gambling within the game. In short, Steam allowed players to trade gear, with rarer gear obviously earning bigger trades. However, sites like CSGO Shuffle figured out a way to monetize those in-game items, allowing players to sell or gamble with their loot.

As Polygon reminder us, Valve got caught up in that mess a couple of years back, as they were being called out for "allowing gambling in their game." They argued the pretty obvious fact that there was no gambling in CSGO or any of their games with tradeable items, and this was a matter of outside sources taking advantage of the in-game system. They had done their part by reaching out to those types of sites and demanding they stop their activities, but authorities didn't super interested in following up on the matter.

The sites were eventually brought down, along with folks tied to them. Varga was one of those folks, who had been caught numerous times promoting the GSGO gambling site on his Twitch channel.

Earlier this year, and a whopping 600 days after his ban, James Varga sued Twitch for damages. Varga maintains he did nothing wrong and, as a result of his ban, he can no longer generate revenue from his streams. Varga was one of those folks who managed to turn streaming into a full-time occupation, so it's pretty obvious why he would be frustrated with being kicked from Twitch.

Within just a few months, Twitch has now filed their own complaint against Varga, saying that his actions were in clear violation of Twitch's own policies, as well as those from Valve as they pertain to their Steam storefront and the game, CSGO.

What's interesting about Twitch's counter-complaint is the outline of events it lays out. This, according to the company, was not a sudden expulsion from their service. Apparently James Varga had been notified and received penalties for his action a year before his ousting from Twitch. This warnings pertained to violation of Twitch's terms of service and rules of conduct. That first warning was supposedly issued in September of 2015. The account was apparently terminated in June 0f 2016, after a ninth violation in the span of two months had been tallied.

It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out, as the results may very well have a lasting impact on Twitch, Steam, CSGO and gaming in general.

Ryan Winslett

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.