Streamlabs partners with Facebook Gaming to integrate new features

TL;DR - Streamlabs and Facebook announced an integration that will hopefully ease the process of streaming to the social media giant’s gaming service.  Among the features to come are embedded chat, auto-fill of stream info, automated notifications, and pushing a notification when a stream is scheduled.  Much of this is available on other platforms already, so it’s more like Facebook Gaming is playing catch-up here and Streamlabs is helping them across the line.  However, additional features like alerts for likes, follows, and shares are planned for a later release and those will be Facebook specific.

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Summit1G nabs Twitch subscriber crown from Ninja

TL;DR - Summit’s move to Sea of Thieves is paying dividends in big ways.  It’s being reported that he’s overtaken Ninja with the most subscribers on the platform, sitting comfortably at over 40,000.  Tfue tweeted this week as well that he’s cleared 50,000 subs, but it’s important to remember that it’s impossible to confirm any personal claims or stats from third-party websites, because subscriber count isn’t something Twitch publicly discloses.  Nevertheless, these are huge numbers and represent hundreds of thousands of dollars from subs alone going to the upper echelon of Twitch streamers.

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Fortnite raked in $2.4 billion for Epic Games last year

TL;DR - At $2.4B, Fortnite has generated more digital revenue in a single year than any game - ever.  That number also contributed to an 11% year-over-year increase in overall digital game revenue, which neared $110B in 2018.  Free-to-play (FTP) games accounted for 80% of this amount, with 62% of that originating from China. Meanwhile, PUBG is doing more than just hanging on.  The second place battle royale title took in over $1B last year, despite not being a FTP title.

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Mixer begins Embers rollout

TL;DR - Mixer’s new virtual currency, Embers, has begun rolling out to partnered channels.  The Mixer team stated that Embers will grow to include more streamers on the platform, but will be limited to partners at launch.  Viewers can purchase Embers with actual money, and go on to use them to purchase premium skills which include animated stickers and full-screen effects.  When those skills are used in a streamer’s channel, that streamer will receive a cut of the value of the skill used, further enabling Mixer streamers to monetize their content.  It’s important to note, Embers are completely different from Sparks, which are earned simply by spending time watching streams on the platform.

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New Twitch feature makes emotes a powerful discovery tool

TL;DR - A new feature Twitch has been steadily rolling out to users allows for clicking an emote and pulling up details about where it comes from and how to acquire it.  Users can also see other emotes available by subscribing to that streamer’s channel. Virtually everyone on Twitch at one point or another has seen an amazing emote and wanted to know where to find it, which could ultimately drive more traffic into channels they may otherwise never have found.

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EU LCS successor posts encouraging viewership after recent rebranding

TL;DR - Riot Games’ former EU LCS underwent rebranding last year after it introduced a franchise model mirroring that of the NA LCS.  The inaugural season for the “new” league kicked off strong with over 400,000 viewers across all platforms. Included in that number is viewership on Twitch, YouTube, and various channels on each of those platforms.  Last year’s EU LCS Spring Split averaged 154,000 viewers in comparison, a number far lower than the NA series. Partly fueling this growth is Riot offering viewers rewards for watching LEC (the new league) matches which can be redeemed in-game.

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World of Warcraft esports receives much needed love from Blizzard

TL;DR - In an effort to revamp its esports footprint, Blizzard has announced it will be revisiting the competitive aspects of some of its core titles - with WoW first up to bat.  To start, the game developer is introducing a crowdfunding mechanism that will allow both players and viewers to boost prize pools with in-game purchases. This new funding strategy will support both the Arena World Championship and the Mythic Dungeon Invitational.  These event will also be split into multiple events throughout the year, with each receiving financial support from Blizzard ranging from $10k to $100k.

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$1 million PUBG prize pool and NA event schedule announced

TL;DR - The National PUBG League (NPL) has unveiled its 2019 competitive schedule for North America, which will feature a series of qualifying events all leading up to global finals in November.  In total, the whole package will feature a prize pool of $1M, of which $100k has been awarded in the 2019 pre-season. All NPL events are to be streamed from the OGN Super Arena in Manhattan Beach, CA.  The full list of participating teams and the tournament structure can be found in the article linked below. Interestingly, relegation has also been introduced into the series so expect to see the salt mines overflow as the season progresses.

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In case you missed it…

It turns out building, growing, and maintaining a community is a challenge that every streamer, regardless of size, faces.  Both in his interview with ESPN The Magazine and on his stream recently, Ninja shared his frustration and anxiety about maintaining the top spot on Twitch.  And while it may be difficult for struggling, aspiring streamers to relate to Ninja’s troubles, looking just below the surface the two are facing very similar challenges but at a different scale.

There’s no disputing how challenging it is to build an audience on Twitch, Mixer, YouTube - you name it.  That’s specifically why we’re doing what we’re doing at StreamKick. Streamers need to be everywhere all the time it seems just to realize a trickle of viewership.  Once those viewers are in, the next challenge is keeping them interested and returning. We won’t get into achieving Affiliate or Partner status and acquiring subscribers.  That’s another tier entirely.

Every day we read stories and posts all over from people trying to break into streaming wondering where to start (just start - that’s it) or why they can’t attract viewers after being at it for weeks or months.  There’ve been articles written on this specifically and there are loads of discussions strewn across the internet about what they can do differently to clear the zero-viewer hurdle.

With the vast majority of Twitch streamers in this camp, it’s actually quite easy to lose sight of the fact that the folks at the top face challenges that aren’t all that dissimilar.  Ninja’s gripe is less about “getting there” and all about staying there. And, when you think about it, it’s no different than any competitively structured platform. Some make it to the top, they stay for a while, and then they’re replaced.  Everyone not at the top is fighting for their slice of the pie, just like those at the top are fighting to keep their slice of the pie.

In Ninja’s case, he’s faced with having to always be on, in some capacity.  Whether it’s at a PR event, competing in nearly every Fortnite tournament, staying active on social media, keeping clips and highlights fresh and circulating, it all involves staying front and center and making noise.  For the aspiring streamer all of those same boxes need to be checked, just at a different scale. It could be staying involved with your local Twitch community, pushing out a highlight video or a few great clips to Instagram or Reddit consistently - whatever.  In the end it’s just a matter of scale.

Then there’s the question of which game(s) to play.  Bear in mind, Ninja was nowhere near the size he is now before Fortnite came out.  With that game he’s been able to build everything he has today atop the foundation he built playing competitive Halo.  But today he struggles with maintaining viewership when doing literally anything other than playing Fortnite. When he branches out and tries something different, he catches shit for it from the community.  People tune in, but that sort of behavior takes a toll.

For smaller streamers there’s the question of whether to stick with a single game or go down the variety streamer path.  Variety is appealing because it gives you more flexibility but it can be much more difficult to build an audience when you’re switching games on the regular.  On the other hand, getting stuck playing a single game can drive you insane. There will come a time that Ninja has to pass on the Fortnite train and move on to the next big thing - whatever that might be.  So, again, it’s the exact same problem just at a different scale.

For those of you reading this the biggest lesson to take away is that success doesn’t change everything.  The challenges you’re facing today, and the anxiety you feel today about your channel and your community, everyone is in the same boat.  Getting to the top of the top doesn’t mean those challenges evaporate. If anything, they’re magnified. So while you’re thinking through everything holding you back, or everything in your way, or all of the things you haven’t thought of but you know they’re out there, just remember that those feelings never go away.  How you handle them, and what you do on that journey is the true measure. Reaching the top is great, but it’s just another step in that journey.