Twitch is the giant in live streaming. Microsoft had to learn this in 2020: They bought the two biggest stars from Twitch, but went down mercilessly with their competitor “Mixer”. In 2022, YouTube Gaming now wants to compete with Twitch and also buys the stars of Twitch, but is much better at selection. MeinMMO author Schuhmann believes that the streamers for whom Twitch cannot provide a replacement are poached away.
This is the situation:
- Twitch is the pioneer in live streaming in the West. The service mainly specializes in gaming. In recent years, however, other topics have also been fueled more intensely – gaming is taking a back seat.
- Twitch is owned by Amazon. But other tech giants also want to get into lucrative live streaming, such as Facebook or Google via YouTube Gaming. Live streaming is seen as an opportunity to broadcast advertising to the young, tech-savvy target group that is so difficult to reach.
- From 2016 to 2020 there was already an attack on Twitch by Microsoft’s Mixer service, but it failed. Now YouTube is coming and is targeting Twtich streamers with lucrative exclusive contracts. They promise: “So much money that it will change your life”.
A huge advantage of Twitch is still Prime Gaming:
Mixer simply bought away the biggest stars from above – totally failed
This was Mixer’s attack on Twitch: In late summer 2019, Mixer launched a major offensive on Twitch.
The then most famous and biggest streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, was poached for an outrageously high sum. Ninja had 14.5 million followers at the time thanks to the success of Fortnite, but by the end of 2019 he was past the peak of his career.
Shortly thereafter, Mixer used Twitch again and signed shroud, a Twitch veteran with 7.1 million followers. shroud is a shooter player with a professional background.
Shortly thereafter, Mixer signed KingGothalion and Ewok, a 14-year-old, deaf Twitch streamer, two more streamers from the shooter environment. Even these two commitments were rather small – after that the poaching offensive broke off completely.
That was the problem: Despite the high-profile signing, Mixer’s attack on Twitch totally fizzled out. Ninja and shroud now had far fewer viewers on the new platform than before.
There was no pull effect that other streamers would now follow shroud and ninja and also switch to mixer.
Twitch hardly lost viewers, but the regular viewers of shroud and Ninja then looked at other streamers on Twitch, such as xQc or summit1g, who were fighting over who would become the new star on Twitch in 2020.
The acquisitions had no positive impact on Mixer either. On the contrary: the existing streamers on Mixer felt that they were no longer as important to Microsoft as the new stars.
Here’s how the attack ended: Less than a year after Ninja signed, Microsoft closed Mixer in June 2020 and merged its service with Facebook.
The tactic of simply buying Twitch’s biggest streamers had failed.
While ninja and shroud are raking in the cash, little mixer streamers are completely wasted
YouTube specifically commits streamers for whom Twitch has no replacement
This is YouTube’s attack now: YouTube’s attack on Mixer is much more targeted and persistent than Mixer’s:
- Mixer just signed “the biggest names” and hoped that would bring down Twitch
- YouTube has been causing unrest on Twitch since 2020 with targeted commitments. Because instead of randomly picking out the biggest streamers, YouTube specifically targets certain types of streamers
YouTube gets these streamers: For more than 2 years, YouTube has been targeting the streamers of Twitch with large offers, the
- are considered “brand-friendly”, i.e. are nice and friendly – appear presentable and make sure that there is a pleasant climate in their streams
- have already established a large presence on YouTube – making them “relatively safe investments”. Because many Twitch streamers use YouTube specifically as a secondary exploitation for their Twitch streams and have huge channels on YouTube with millions of subscribers, which they can then fuel with live streaming
- offer a special “personality”: YouTube specifically engages people who somehow stand out from the masses of streamers and who are seen in a targeted manner – for whom Twitch cannot provide a clear substitute
With Valkyrae, YouTube 2020 brought in an early-career streamer who became the biggest streamer in the world within a year. The loss of Valkyrae particularly hurt Twitch because Twitch hardly has any major female gaming streamers. The biggest gaming streamer on Twitch, Pokimane, has to deal with constant sexist accusations.
With TimTheTatman (32), DrLupo (35) or CouRage (28) they signed “more mature streamers” who serve a target group of around 30 or over and have a high entertainment value. These people are also rather rare on Twitch – there are only a few successful Twitch streamers over the age of 30 who also broadcast for this audience.
Myth was one of the few Twitch streamers in the top 20 who breaks out of the pattern: Myth is the only non-white streamer at the top of Twitch alongside tyler1.
Ludwig also plays a special role, who has even earned the respect of regular streamers like xQc on Twitch and who is considered the most innovative and interesting Twitch streamer in recent years. He’s someone who really belonged to the soul and core of Twitch.
There is one more difference between YouTube and Mixer:
- Mixer had shot his powder within a few months and then no longer wooed streamers
- YouTube has been poaching streamers from Twitch since early 2020 and has stepped up its efforts in 2022
YouTube steers clear of gambling and controversial streamers, only getting the nice ones
Which streamers is YouTube getting?
- “Long-established, established” players, who are known primarily for their shooter skills, like Ninja or shroud back then, are explicitly not brought to YouTube. So summit1g stays on Twitch. There is apparently an oversupply of these streamers.
- Controversial streamers with high viewer numbers are also left on Twitch: tyler1, Tfue, Sodapoppin, Mizkif or Amouranth will probably not receive any offers from YouTube.
- There also seems to be a wide berth when it comes to “gambling”: streamers like Trainwreck or ROSHTEIN are among the 15 most successful streamers on Twitch, but they are probably out of the question for YouTube
- Interesting but controversial streamers like HasanAbi also seem to be left out.
- Even “obvious obligations” like xQc are left on Twitch, probably also because of his gambling, and he goes a different way with Ludwig, but still wants to appeal to his audience.
Ironically, YouTube has the most controversial streamer on Twitch with “DrDisrespect” in its own services, but has not given him an exclusive contract.
Who could Twitch lose next? The most interesting English-language streamers for YouTube are:
- Pokimane, the most famous woman on Twitch, who is considered to be very friendly and scandal-free
- Asmongold, an MMORPG streamer who is already dominant on YouTube, but perhaps serves too much “nerd clichés”.
- Josh Strife Hayes, another scandal-free streamer who’s already made a name for himself on YouTube with his deep analysts
- Nickmercs – fairly scandal-free shooter streamer, would fall into the same pattern as TimTheTatman
Strong growth in Spain and South America helps Twitch
Is this getting tight for Twitch? No, not at the moment. Twitch has now recovered and slightly increased in traffic after a few weak months in the course of the “pandemic easing”.
But that is deceptive: Because Twitch is currently becoming stronger, especially in non-English-speaking countries. On Twitch, entertainers from Spain or South America are coming up and creating extremely high viewership with event-driven content.
In the next few years, however, it doesn’t seem as clear that Twitch will retain the monopoly position in live streaming that it has in recent years.
It now depends on which stones YouTube removes from the Jenga tower until it wobbles.
While Twitch could easily cope with the fact that Microsoft indiscriminately throws a few stones from the top for which there were enough substitutes, YouTube is now targeting streamers from Twitch who occupy their own niches and for which there is no equivalent substitute on Twitch.
The forces in streaming are also shifting in Germany:
After 4 years, Germany has a new biggest Twitch streamer – Berliner finally overtakes MontanaBlack