Another Streaming Site to Rival Twitch?
Is Twitch Our Only Hope?
If you are a streamer or someone who wants interesting live gaming content, there is really only one place you’ll go, Twitch.tv. Sure there is YouTube Gaming, Mixer, Caffeine (OmegaLUL), and Facebook. but they are all second rate services. Though Twitch is an amazing website that is breaking ground in the live streaming market, we need more options for a healthy ecosystem. So who can really stand beside Twitch?
YouTube benefits from being an all in one content solution for streamers, but as far as features go, it’s just a twitch clone that is 6+ months behind. You would think to be able to host high-quality VODs and have your audience see when you’re going live all in one place would be perfect. But it is lagging way behind Twitch. Because of this, there is a significantly smaller audience, so streamers stray away from it. In fact, it’s so bad, streamers use the site to maintain their video content, but stay on twitch when they go live.
Mixer, Microsoft’s attempt at a streaming platform isn’t much different. It seems like a mediocre version of Twitch with fewer viewers. During an evening when comparing numbers of Fortnite, Mixer isn’t even reaching 1/5 the audience as twitch.
Caffeine on the other hand, well to put it lightly, sucks complete ass. You need to log into the site just to watch, that’s a huge barrier to entry that will drive 99% of viewers away from the platform. Their main driver is interaction. They have all chat appears as bubbles below the screen. But what works against it is discovering streamers. You have a long list of “suggested streamers”. You can’t sort by view count or even by the game. There is no easy way to tell view counts because it isn’t visible anywhere, Though this might benefit smaller streamers get discovered, ultimately it works against the viewers, driving them away.
Facebook seems to almost be the worst of them. It has next to no viewers, outside those random family members that happen to watch little Timmy play GTA V. Though they did break down the barrier of getting those first couple viewers from your own social circle, still, no one wants to watch live content on Facebook. The social media platform at this point is 100% passé, with everyone and their grandma on it.
Then What’s Ideal scenario?
We should be at least aiming at a relationship like Vimeo and YouTube. Though YouTube is much larger by a huge margin. Vimeo has a place in the ecosystem. It exists as a place to upload longer, and high quality works. Perfect place for something like a documentary. So what would this look like for streaming?
What I Think
Be a place for people to watch team gameplay. Though twitch has squad mode, this would be the full concept of that. Like the OWL dashboard, make it the biggest and best for that. Excel in it and make it what it should be.
Be the place for fan engagement. There are tons of shows on twitch that bring on fans or other streamers for the show. What if you could host a show and invite people directly on the website to join, instead of using other programs and fiddling with chat rooms. Mods would have access to kick, ban, etc so moderation is the same.
What The Streamers Think
But at the end of the day, we are looking for what streamers want. After speaking with a few streamers, including a friend of the site Luke Croft (@LukePvA), it seems that streamers want a better platform overall. Smaller streamers talk a lot about discoverability, how they would love a place that would help them get noticed. Right now Twitch is really a platform for giants. Most streamers never make it past 2 viewers. Though Twitch is working on this problem, if there was a site that could help bring those streamers to the eyes of a wider audience, you may have a platform worth going to. Smaller streamers also want a better revenue deal. Right now affiliate streamers earn only 50% on subs, which has Twitch pocketing the other half. This split is RIDICULOUS, and maybe other small streamers feel the same way.
As for larger streamers, who don’t have these problems, the main concerns seem to be with Twitch Terms of Service. Many streamers are afraid to death of getting randomly banned for any number of things. Streamer “HasanAbi” recently got banned for moving his phone around his car, while completely stopped. Though he was unbanned soon after disputing it, this isn’t the first time he got an unfair ban. This is a huge problem for many because they have staked their careers on this platform. To think that one day something may happen out of their control to end that, must be pretty scary. If a site could rival Twitch, that had a clear and defined ToS and rules enforcement system, people may move in that direction.
Whether we see another site to rival Twitch is still unknown, but what we do know is that Twitch is here to stay, warts and all. Though there are a lot of issues we wish we could fix with the site, it still is an amazing platform that has helped grow many communities. Communities where we can all share in the interests we love the most.