Originally Posted Aug 28, 2015
Video games these days have come quite a way from their roots as a simple electronic past time from our living rooms. Something we did in privacy, or with a few friends to idle away the time. Yet some people saw a certain potential with their gaming time, an untapped industry that no one had thought to truly capitalize on. That industry is the video game streamer, the professional gamer. Of course, any good professional needs a medium through which to work, and for the last four year, that medium has been Twitch.tv. Twitch has provided the means for those wishing to broadcast their gaming time, along with their own brand of commentary and personality, to the masses, earning revenue from this venture by means of advertisements, subscriptions, and tips. For a while, Twitch has been the most reliable means by which these pro gamers made their living. Yet any good market needs competition, and although others have tried and failed, Youtube has stepped up to the plate with their new game streaming service, YouTube Gaming. Each has their own features, pros and cons to balance against each other, but which is the better platform. Let’s start with the facts
The first draw a newcomer to the site will notice on YouTube Gaming is the simple layout. A black background is flanked on the left by the most popular games on the site, the current trending games, and the games you have flagged as your favorites. On the right of the screen is a plethora of featured channels from youtubers, indie devs, publishers and other gaming networks, topped by your favorite channels and which from each list are currently live. The site boasts hub pages for over 25,000 games, upon each are lists of various types of videos that game has been flagged with, like lets plays or current live streams. For instance, looking at the League of Legends page, we see a tab explaining what the game is, a tab for live streams, lets plays, videos from game developer Riot, and several other options. This is simple to navigate, and organized very neatly. The site boasts 60fps streaming, with videos streamed uploading as normal videos to your associated channel upon stream conclusion. At the time of writing this, videos can be monetized via advertisements, but no word yet on subscriptions or tipping.
Twitch is, of course, the titan YTG is seeking to fell. Twitch, like YTG, also acts as a platform to stream from, with the user having to run a program like Xplit to broadcast. Games are also hosted on the front page of the site based on what is most popular at the moment, and following your favorite streamers allows you to see when they are live. Twitch’s major advantage is clearly the fact that it has simply been around longer, and as such, has a more dedicated and ingrained community. This community rallies behind their favorite gamers with memes and special emotes for use in the right side chat window, practically its own entity simply called ‘Twitch Chat’, adding to any entertainment value already present in the stream. Streamers on Twitch also have the benefit of multiple forms of income. They can also run ads, but split the five dollar monthly subscription to their channel with Twitch, as well being able to accept direct tips from views which are not split with the site. The final point of strength that Twitch has for itself is none of Google’s ContentID. ContentID is a program on Youtube that flags content on videos based on a database that automatically puts a claim on the video. Say a bit of music or footage on a video triggers it, that video can be taken down, or all the money made from it can be redirected to the company that flagged it. Twitch has no such automated system.
All in all, the two platforms are very similar, with Twitch having the upper hand in its established base, more ways to make money, and less automatic content flagging. The greatest card in YouTube Gaming’s hand, I believe is the fact that it is so new. It can learn from its competitor, and shore up the weaknesses it sees and make those its strengths. For instance, while both sites have game page hubs and favorite games and channels, Twitch can be a bit of a hassle to work through and find someone you enjoy. With YouTube, everything is extremely well presented and, arguably, more aesthetically pleasing. If YouTube enable subscriptions with a better split for the streamer as well as direct donations, perhaps they will have a strong chance of usurping the throne of being king of stream. So what do you guys think? Does YouTube Gaming have a chance, or will Twitch be around for a long time? Let us know in the comments!
Stay Kultured, everyone!