[Update: Confirmed] Twitter code teardown hints that it may shut down Periscope in 2021

[Update: Confirmed] Twitter code teardown hints that it may shut down Periscope in 2021

Update 1 (12/15/2020 @ 08:26 PM ET): Twitter has confirmed that it will pull the plug on the Periscope app next year. Click here for information. The article as published on December 11, 2020, is preserved below.

Twitter video-sharing app Periscope hasn’t been on the tip of anyone’s tongue recently – apart from in the context of phone cameras. With TikTok being the flavor of 2020, and Twitter’s focus on its disappearing Tweet service Fleets, it’s clear that time has moved on. Indeed, when Twitter decided to buy the site before it even launched in 2015, it was as a spoiler to a similar app, Meerkat, and when was the last time we heard about that? (Actually, it was this year, it’s now video-call service House Party).

As time, technology, and zeitgeist move on, it’s quite common to see these “next great hope” apps fall by the wayside. Heck, that’s basically Google’s business model. So it’s not a huge surprise that we’re getting the first hints that Periscope is not long for this world. A developer by the name of Jane Machun Wong (@wongmjane) has been exploring a teardown of the latest Twitter app code and discovered an ominous thing.

Periscope Close Code

Hidden in a currently orphaned line of code is a (dead) link under the string “ps_app_shutdown_learn_more_url”. It could be seen as something of a “smoking gun”, though we’ve got no further details, and nothing official from Twitter so far. That said, it does feel like Periscope has served its purpose. Twitter Live has been active in the main app since 2016, long enough that it has now seen itself used for its second US Presidential Election. Live streaming in Twitter is still referred to as being powered “by Periscope”, but these days, it is more of a nod to history than an active partnership.

Whatever happens now, it’ll seem like something of a hollow end to Periscope. Twitter killed off another acquisition, Vine, in order to focus on Periscope, a fact much maligned at the time. If Periscope is near the end too, it’ll mark a sad end to two projects that could, in the right hands, have given TikTok a run for its money.

Periscope - Live Video
Periscope - Live Video
Developer: Twitter, Inc.
Price: Free

Update: Say Farewell to Periscope in 2021

Update written by Mishaal Rahman

In a blog post, Twitter-owned Periscope has announced that the mobile app will be discontinued by March of 2021. The app is being discontinued as it “is in an unsustainable maintenance-mode state”, has seen “declining usage”, and “the cost to support the app will only continue to go up over time.” As live video streaming has already been available in the main Twitter app since late 2016, it doesn’t make much sense for Periscope to continue to exist as a separate application. As such, the app will be removed from app stores by March of next year, and no new accounts can be created within the app starting with the next release rolling out today.

For any creators that have broadcasts that haven’t been shared to Twitter already, they will be able to download an archive before the app is removed next year. The Periscope website will be active as a read-only archive of public broadcasts. The requirements to become a “Super Broadcaster” have been relaxed, and any tips that haven’t been cashed out can be claimed until April 30th, 2021. More details can be found here regarding the transition process, including how you can go live on Twitter going forward.

About author

Chris Merriman
Chris Merriman

I am the UK News Editor at XDA Developers. I’ve been writing about technology for over a decade for the likes of The Inquirer, where I was Associate Editor, Computer Shopper UK, and IT Pro. I’ve also appeared on Sky News, BBC, Al Jazeera and recently left a long-running weekly tech news spot on TalkRadio UK. My love of technology comes from my family who hail from the pioneering days of Silicon Valley - in fact my Grandfather worked on Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. I’ve been using smartphones (and reading XDA) since the HTC Canary in 2003. I’m also a smart home obsessive. You can find me tweeting as @ChrisTheDJ or email me at [email protected]