The Impact of Twitch on Online Gaming

The Impact of Twitch on Online Gaming

When it was created in 2011, Twitch was already mainly focused on broadcasting video game games. Since then, the streaming and Void platform acquired by Amazon in 2014 for the value of 970 million dollars has evolved, and includes various transmissions also dedicated to art, music, TV series and poker games and tournaments.

Figures that Impress

In recent years, Twitch’s popularity has exploded and the platform has not only positioned itself as one of the essential players on the Internet, but has also reached figures comparable to those of traditional television channels in the United States. In January 2018, the average viewership on Twitch was 962,000, while cable channels like MSNBC were 885,000 and CNN was 783,000. The platform has over 100 million unique visitors per month, 15 million daily active users and over 2 million streamers.

At the end of 2016, the video game site’s audience exceeded even that of giants Netflix and HBO, according to a report by Super Data Research, which indicated that 185 million people had watched videos on Twitch, while HBO had around 130 million. Subscribers, compared to 93 million for Netflix.

Competition Increases the Pressure

Twitch’s main competitor remains YouTube Live, and while the distance between the two remains daunting, with Twitch far ahead in terms of streamers and revenue, Google’s platform live service is catching up at great speed. In 2017 the number of Twitch streamers increased by 197% compared to the previous year, that of YouTube Live increased by 343% in the same period, according to a study made by the streaming application Stream labs. Microsoft and Facebook have also understood the importance of attacking this market: in mid-2017, Microsoft unveiled its Mixer service, while Mark Zuckerberg’s social network was more aggressive with its Facebook Live service by presenting new efforts monetization for streamers in early 2018.

Video Games as the Main Attraction

If the platform seeks to diversify the sources of audience, by having signed, for example, a partnership with the NFL for the transmission of American Football matches, it is true that the success of the site is still largely based on the transmission of online video games and eSport tournaments.

We find among the most watched games on the platform those who are a hit among video game fans. In April 2018, the most-watched game was Fortnight , with 127.9 million minutes, followed by League of Legends with 73.73 million minutes, and Player Unknown’s Battleground , with 49.34 million minutes, according to the Stata site. These preferences are repeated when analyzing the most popular channels on the platform.

Among the most followed channels on Twitch, we find in first place that of the professional gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, which has more than 7 million subscribers and more than 170 million views.  The channel broke the concurrent views record for a single channel with 628,000 concurrent viewers in March 2018, when rapper Drake joined “Ninja” for a game of Fortnight , his game of choice .  Then there is the “Shroud” channel, which usually streams parts of Player Unknown’s Battleground to its nearly 3.2 million followers.

While the 3rd , 4th and 5th most viewed channels also mostly carry Fortnight and Player Unknown Battleground , the number 6 channel, Riot Games, carries League of Legends and garners a total of over 980 million views across its almost 3 million followers.

A Tangible Monetization

During an interview with CNBC, Ninja admitted that he earns more than $500,000 a month playing video games, and that much of that income comes from Twitch. There are many ways to make money on Twitch, and successful streamers know how to use them. The main ones are Twitch subscriptions, through the “prime” service and in which the platform and the streamers share the revenue 50-50. We also find the sale of “Bits”, which are Twitch’s premium emoticons, donations, video ads, and partnership with sponsors, affiliate links, and even the sale of merchandise.

There are even some sites dedicated to sponsorship, aimed exclusively at connecting streamers and companies for advertising purchases. In August 2017, the American telephone company T-Mobile sponsored the Twitch Sports Arena wrestling tournament at the Staple Center in Los Angeles, further proof of the potential of video games for the marketing sector.

Broadcast Poker Games

After online video games, poker is one of the main interests of Twitch viewers, and some of the major online poker sites like bonus jäger have their own channels on the platform. With a delay of a few minutes so as not to reveal their cards to the players present on the table, spectators can follow games of modalities such as Texas Holder or Omaha Hi-lo, while listening to the comments of the streamer. It is also a way for poker fans to improve their game by following the poker hands of pro players in tournaments or cash games. On Twitch, viewers can follow not only online poker games, but also players in real tournaments. One of the most followed poker channels on Twitch is that of the Canadian Parker “Tonkawa Talbot”, with more than 78,000 followers.

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About the Author: Barry Lachey

Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources "Joe Joe." he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.