Twitch: A Big, Juicy Target

February 16, 2020

Videogame streamers are some of the Internet’s most popular celebrities and most people have never heard about them. PewDiePie is the reigning streaming king and YouTube is his domain, but dozens of other gamers vie for his throne from the land of Twitch. The San Francisco Gate examines the streaming craze and how tech corporations are trying to hone in on the profits, “Game On: Tech Giants Vs. The Kind Of Streaming.”

Both Facebook and Microsoft have attempted to snag a piece of the streaming profit pie, but nothing rivals Twitch. Twitch started as a startup in San Francisco that Amazon purchased for $1 billion in 2014. Twitch now controls 76% of video game streaming on Europe, North America, and South America. While most people are not aware of the popularity of video game streaming, it is an importance facet in the $180 billion gaming industry and it makes more money than movies and music.

Microsoft is eager to take on Twitch and the company hired one of Twitch’s biggest streamers, Tyler Blevins aka Ninja for an undisclosed amount of amount. Microsoft wants Blevins to promote its streaming service Mixer, but he did little to raise Mixer’s users in 2019. Mixer only accounts for 3.2% of the streaming market, while Twitch continues to grow. Hiring Blevins was not enough for Microsoft, although it was a good move:

“Mixer has been growing steadily since it started, said Ben Decker, head of gaming services at Microsoft, and now has more than 30 million monthly active users. But to really compete with Twitch, which has reported that it has 140 million monthly users, Microsoft needs to do more than spend a few million dollars on a star streamer, said Doron Nir, chief executive of StreamElements. When it comes to having a streaming platform, this is a billion-dollar game,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot more from Mixer to really take away from the enormous audience that Twitch has.”

Nir said he didn’t believe the deal for Blevins was bad for Mixer. It still brought widespread media attention and put it in the conversation. And Microsoft was not discouraged, bringing over Michael Grzesiek, a professional gamer known as Shroud, and Cory Michael, a streamer who goes by King Gothalion, from Twitch.”

Other tech giants are attempting to steal some of Twitch’s success, but Twitch remains strong and will continue to dominant for the time being. There is room for streaming platforms like Mixer and other emerging rivals to join the market, but they will need to bring something new and unique like Twitch did.

Whitney Grace, February 16, 2020

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