Does Twitch Have any Legs to Stand On?

Every time we look, there’s some new innovative platform that can threaten to disrupt an entire industry or way of thinking and operating a business. First it was Facebook, then it was YouTube – and now it’s Twitch.

The user-created content platform has come out of left field for most people, forcing them to posit the question: “just how much people want to watch others play video games?” The answer is, quite a lot.

Although it gained its infusion of lifeblood by catering predominantly to gamers, Twitch has shown that it’s looking to field much more varied types of content and cater to all sorts of interests – but is the company’s thirst for innovation seeing a positive return?

The data says yes.

Showing almost twofold growth in the amount of streamers on the platform between Q2 and Q3 of 2017, Twitch is the go-to place to find quality stream content out of the pool of competitors that feature the likes of YouTube, Mixer, Facebook, and Periscope. Not only has the purple-icon bearing site managed to bust open the floodgates in terms of concurrent streamers, they’ve also eradicated the competition in terms of concurrent viewers, with peak concurrent viewers sitting at 743.6k in Q2 of 2017.

So, we can’t doubt that Twitch is at the forefront of the wave that is live streaming, but where does it go from here? And how can they incentivize world-class content creators to jump on the bandwagon?

The Livestreaming Advantage

In terms of cutting edge tech, live streaming video is leading the charge among the likes of VR and AR. The possibility to engage with viewers via a comment system has been a longstanding staple of the form, but the inclusion of live chat has in live streaming has fundamentally altered the impact that socialization can have on the way a content creator can interact with their community.

As opposed to skimming through the comments and responding to them piecemeal in a fragmented format, a fanbase can now directly engage with their streamer of choice in live conversation, and even participate and influence the direct outcome of the stream.

While there are a lot of benefits to this method of interaction, there are also pitfalls that lurk in the midst. As anyone who has done any sort of live performance can attest to: it’s not a question of when something will go wrong, but when.

With so many variables thrown into the mix, it’s only a manner of time before any sort of “planned” event goes off-the-rails or some bad agent seeks to spread havoc throughout the community. While this is something that is incredibly infrequent, it is still something that must be accounted for.

That being said, the positives of livestreaming far outweigh the negatives, and with the hordes of streamers and content creators flocking to Twitch, the competition is running on borrowed time.

Making Dat Moolah

Since the demonetization debacle that has occurred with YouTube over the last year, video content creators have been on the hunt for platforms upon which to set up their new digital homes. Where Twitch really stands to set itself apart from the likes of YouTube is that it completely eschews the notion of an algorithm-run method of monetization.

Instead, Twitch allows their viewers to donate directly to the channel they wish to support. With the addition of subscriptions, there’s hardly a shortage of ways for streams to make their money.

Like the increase in concurrent channels and viewers, both the quantity of tipping volume and monetized channels has been on the rise over the past several years. Tipping volume saw its figures peak at 102.8 million in 2016, and monetized channels have begun to slowly become the norm.

At this point, things are only looking up for Twitch and the cohort of creatives that utilize their platform. The competition is going to need to offer up something radically different if they wish to set themselves apart – but thus far nothing significant has materialized.

Indeed, the future of Twitch as the king of all streaming services is looking likelier and likelier – and all we can say is: long live the king.

All data was sourced from TechCrunch.

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