Looking at the rising value of the global gaming market, it can be said that the game streaming platform will play a significant role in the gaming industry, and the king will be Twitch.
The global gaming industry is booming with every financial year, and you can say that it will hit the gold very soon. In the year 2018, around 2.3 billion gamers spend about $137 billion on gaming.
In the year 2020, the value is expected to be approximately $165.98 billion, and in 2021 it would increase to $180 billion.
You will find many ways to watch people playing video games online, and they can even watch you. But if we talk about the largest, most accessible, and most innovative platform, the name that will come up is Twitch.
Available on different platforms, such as set-up boxes, mobile, desktop, etc., this Amazon-owned streaming platform is the most popular for real-time gaming broadcasting.
It’s higher adoption rate, ease of use, and ubiquity are some of the significant factors that have made it an editor’s choice. Even through multiple high-profile controversies, Twitch still stands as the #1 gaming live streaming platform. This platform has left all the competitors’ miles behind in the race.
Current Business Model of Twitch
Speaking about the current situation, around 3.8 million steamers registered broadcasted on this platform in February 2020. On the other hand, the average number of concurrent visitors was 1.4 million.
One can view others’ broadcasted videos on Twitch without going through any registration process. But to chat and stream videos, you need to create an account with Twitch, and it’s free.
Apart from streaming, the platform also offers an Application Programming Interface and its own Software development kit to let the developers build games through which they can earn money.
Amazon bought Twitch in August 2014 for $970 million in cash. After the acquisition, the platform’s value has continuously been increasing, and currently, the valuation is around $4 billion.
The platform is now offering non-gaming related content too. These are talk shows, sports, just chatting, music, special events, food & drink, and travel & outdoor.
Twitch makes money through three significant ways: subscription, partner programs, and advertisement.
The most popular subscription pack is “Twitch Turbo,” which costs around $8.99. With this subscription, viewers can enjoy a better viewing experience as there will be no ads.
Additionally, subscribers will get an increased storage limit. Besides, it offers Twitch Prime, which is available for Amazon Prime members. Twitch Prime lets viewers enjoy premium experiences on the platform, including Prime Video and Amazon Prime memberships.
Under this, members can view exclusive in-game content, bonus games can use chat badges and exclusive emotes at no additional cost.
Speaking about Twitch’s partner programs, they are generally the popular broadcasters who stream regularly. The primary requirements to become a Twitch partner are better concurrent viewership, high-quality content, and a three days per week stream frequency.
Also, Twitch and its partners monetize the viewership in different ways, such as channel subscription, merchandise, and advertisement. Twitch partners receive a cut from CPM when the ads are shown on the channels.
To show your support, you can choose a paid channel subscription that enables streamers to get a 50% cut.
Like all the video streaming platforms, Twitch also earns revenue through advertisements. The platform offers video media, native opportunities, and the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) display. The CPM remains between $2 to $10.
Finally, there are cheer bits. This in-stream currency that Twitch uses lets you use it to show your appreciation to your favorite streamers. It acts as a monetary cheer, and 1 bit is equal to 1 cent.
Twitch is quite famous for its gaming content. It has many gaming contents from the different popular games, such as Valorant, Fortnite, Call of Duty Warzone, Grand Theft Auto V, Minecraft, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, FIFA 2020, and more.
Users can broadcast or watch live streaming of these games. They can also stream old school games. There is no limit.
The platform is not just limited to gaming content. It is also a perfect place to get unique, exciting content on sports, music, special events, travel & outdoors, food & drinks, and more.
Besides, to increase its popularity and keep up with this competitive video streaming industry, Twitch also has introduced TwitchCon.
Just imagine a weekend filled with a lot of excitement, meeting thousands of Twitch fans, watching stunning stage shows, participating in a hands-on trial of the new games, and more. Sounds are just amazing, right?
Well, these are all the things that TwitchCon offers. It is one type of event that connects Twitch streamers with viewers, other streamers, popular brands, and more. If you are a streamer or a diehard game fan, then you should not miss the event.
Talking about the recent TwitchCon event, it was held in San Diego in September 2019. More than 28,000 people across the world attended the TwitchCon San Diego event.
How Do They Serve Content Creators?
As discussed above, for content creators or developers, this platform hosts many opportunities and features. The most important thing that it lets the content creators do is live-streaming their work or gameplay and getting in touch with their fans across the world.
Besides, it offers an SDK – Software Development Kit to help gaming companies and developers to integrate Twitch into their products. It enables users to record or live-stream the gameplays more easily.
Furthermore, developers can now also include contests, leader boards, and different community-based content. Its new SDK has enabled mobile game streaming.
On the other hand, Twitch also provides content creators with an API that lets them integrate Twitch functionality into their web applications and sites. They can now easily incorporate broadcasting, chat, and viewing into their videos.
With time, Twitch is now adding more new features to attract more content creators to the platform while helping them to create their presence in the game streaming industry.
Audience and Viewership
If you look at the Twitch tracker data, in February 2020, Twitch witnessed 3.8 million active streamers. Two years ago, the number was 2.2 million. On the other hand, the platform has witnessed 15 million monthly viewership and 140 million monthly users in February.
The above image shows that Twitch witnessed rapid growth between the years 2017 to 2018. In 2017, the monthly broadcasters’ number was 2 million, but in 2018, it increased to 3.39 million.
But the year 2019 and 2020 (Q1) ’s broadcasters numbers show a slowdown, and it is expected to continue in the coming time. The major reason behind this can be rising competition in the game streaming industry.
However, in 2020 (Q1), Twitch witnessed 3.84 million of monthly broadcasters. It is relatively more than 2018’s monthly broadcaster. The reason behind such a huge increase can be the ongoing lockdown due to COVID-19.
On the other hand, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Twitch saw an increase in viewership with a 12% rise in the average concurrent viewers. Between 8th March to 21st March, the total viewership increased by 31%.
Surprisingly, in April 2020, the platform, for the first time, witnessed 4 million concurrent viewers due to the release of Riot’s Valorant.
Demographic of the Audience
The data shows that males dominate the platform. If you look at the 2017’s data, male users made up 81% of its total user base.
In 2019, it recorded a user base that included 35% female and 65% male while a more significant number of users were from the younger age group between 16 to 24 years old.
Twitch’s largest regional market is the US, with around 23% of desktop traffic in terms of region. Germany comes in second place, with 7% of desktop traffic. The third, fourth, and fifth places are cornered by Russia, South Korea, and France.
Some of the Most Popular Twitch Streamers
When it comes to the popular Twitch streamers, most people say just one name, i.e., Ninja (the real name is Tyler Blevins). Even though Ninja has left Twitch and joined Mixer, he helped Twitch become famous with his 14.7 million worldwide followers.
Now Ninja has the 635,000 concurrent viewers record. Meanwhile, here is the list of most-followed active accounts on this platform.
Even though the platform is here to stay for years, it is currently facing tough competition from the rising competitors. Some of them are:
It can be said that YouTube is the only competitor that is trying to tap on the primary audience of Twitch. To keep YouTube away from its audience, Twitch has introduced some high-quality features and semi-permanent video storage features.
Still, YouTube is also promoting its video streaming services quite aggressively and trying to add the Overwatch League feature.
Facebook launched its Facebook Gaming platform in 2018. Between 2018 to 2019, the platform witnessed around a 236% increase in the number of streamers. This proves the real potential of the platform.
It is expected that most of the games have their social media accounts with Facebook, and this can be a plus point for Facebook to attract more audience to its Facebook Gaming platform.
Besides, Facebook has also signed a few deals with some former Twitch streamers like Gonzalo ZeRo Barrios and Jeremy Disguised Toast to create Facebook Gaming content.
Can Amazon’s Ownership of Twitch Bring Positive Results?
Twitch and Amazon are now working together to approach some top creators and well-known celebrities on YouTube. They’re searching for those who can create exciting and unique content that will be exclusive for only Twitch.
With the financial support of Amazon, Twitch can now expand and experiment for content upfront. For example, Amazon is now paying more than $50 million every year for 11 Thursday Night Football games.
The major weakness is that Twitch has its tendency to help steamers with issues voiced, but, for the most part, this is only for popular streamers and not for smaller streamers. Following these controversies, the platform has received a lot of negative comments.
Speaking about a recent controversy, a well-known Twitch streamer, Ferociously Steph, is now facing violence threats as she termed Twitch’s voice chat features as an unfair issue.
Another major drawback of Twitch is poor-quality chat moderation that has led to hate speech and cyberbullying.
It can be said that Twitch is still home for gaming streamers. While some are struggling a little to move into YouTube, others have preferred to go with Twitch.
The platform can bring a lot of fame, and top streamers enjoy six-figure monthly income by joining Twitch. Notable examples include streamers like Summit1G, Dr. Lupo, and Dr. DisRespect.
Some reports show that Twitch is now gradually becoming less gaming-focused. One example is it’s Just Chatting Category. Its non-gaming content has become the most viewed category on the platform.
In December 2019, Just Chatting streams were viewed for around 81 million hours. It includes leading gaming companies Fortnite and League of Legends. This shows that apart from gamers, now non-gamers are also turning to this platform.
Twitch’s social gaming community lets anyone in the world interact with the streamers as they play their favorite games is a unique aspect of the platform.
On the other hand, Twitch has also introduced ‘In Real Life” or IRL. It’s a space designed for users where they can share glimpses into their day-to-day life. This will attract more people to use the platform.
Twitch’s new initiative, TwitchCon, is also getting popular among game streamers and viewers. This has also helped Twitch maintain its presence and popularity among streamers across the world. The recent Amazon takeover will be an added benefit for this platform.