Back in June of 2011, Twitch.tv was formed as a live streaming video platform by Amazon-owned Twitch Interactive. It didn’t take long for the channel to blow up; by February 2014, Twitch was considered the fourth largest source of peak internet traffic in the U.S. at 1.8%, more than Hulu AND Facebook. By 2015, the steaming website reached 100 monthly viewers.
Then everything changed when last August, YouTube launched its own video game streaming service called YouTube Gaming. YouTube already had an extensive library of popular “Let’s Play” videos and other gaming-focused channels, so YouTube Gaming really just organized what YouTube already had, while also adding in the live broadcast capabilities.
The creation of YouTube gaming shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, considering Google was originally thinking about buying Twitch.tv when it was up for sale in 2014. After Amazon ended up buying Twitch for $970 million, YouTube began forming its own gaming service.
Ever since the YouTube Gaming launch, Twitch and YouTube have been head-to-head for viewers and subscribers with near-identical video services.
Gamers choose Youtube Gaming by at least a 2:1 margin.
It didn’t take long for YouTube Gaming to dominate the market, a combination of name, status, and an already extensive library that moved seamlessly into the new service. Google’s well-known streaming and video services easily gave it the status it needed to quickly overcome Twitch, and now leads the industry for video game streaming and video services. The research firm Newzoo, which focuses on video game industry research, reported that gamers choose YouTube Gaming by at least a 2:1 margin.
But Twitch has worked hard to catch up in numbers.
In fact, although YouTube has more visitors overall, Twitch reported its average viewers watched more video per month (over seven hours) than YouTube’s viewers.
Twitch has also worked hard to build a strong community. The 2015 TwitchCon included over 20,000 fans in attendance with an additional 1.9 million online viewer. As blogger Andy Smith writes, “For comparison, it took YouTube’s own flagship gathering, VidCon, six gatherings to reach similar numbers”. Twitch slowly developed a personal relationship with the gaming community, and Twitch now appears in games and avatars and even has its own creative language.
Whether or not you think Twitch or YouTube Gaming is the better video streaming service, both are vying for the attention of a huge market. Over 470 million gamers worldwide watch online gaming content, with YouTube Gaming dominating markets across the globe.
Both services need to work hard to foster the online gaming communities that have emerged from these video steaming services. Many gamers count on videos to introduce them to new games and connect with other gamers. With a growing market and huge current user-base, both companies have the potential for growth in the future.