Apex Legends usurped Fortnite’s Twitch throne in February

TL;DR - With nearly 670,000 peak concurrent viewers for February, Apex Legends knocked Fortnite out of the top spot on Twitch - a position it has held solidly for eleven months.  The battle royale newcomer also took the top spot in average concurrent viewer count. Not to be undone, Fortnite has come roaring back with the launch of Season 8, and is sitting comfortably ahead of Apex Legends for the moment.  However, with 50 million downloads, Apex is poised to maintain high positioning in Twitch’s home directory, and will be launching its own battle pass next week.

Full story - http://www.egmnow.com/articles/news/apex-legends-broke-fortnites-streak-for-most-watched-game-on-twitch/

Twitch and Gillette partner on new Gaming Alliance

TL;DR - Gillette shaving brand and Twitch have joined forces to create the Gillette Gaming Alliance - comprised of 11 streamers from just as many countries.  Through the alliance, these streamers will create unique content and attend events like TwitchCon Europe to engage with their audiences and fans. An initial “Bits for Blades” campaign will allow viewers to earn Bits through the purchase of Gillette products on Amazon.  The article includes the list of all the streamers and the countries represented in the alliance.

Full story - https://dotesports.com/culture/news/gillette-partners-with-twitch-to-form-streamer-alliance

Camelot’s bounty system seeks to boost streamer / audience interaction

TL;DR - The new startup allows viewers to propose tasks or “bounties” for streamers to perform in exchange for actual currency.  Viewers can post their bounties, to which other viewers can also contribute, boosting their overall value. Streamers can then either accept or reject the bounties, keeping everything private until they’re ready to engage.  The platform is currently open to both Twitch and YouTube streamers.

Full story - https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/07/camelot-lets-twitch-and-youtube-audiences-pay-for-what-they-want-to-see/

iOS Mixer app gets some love from Microsoft

TL;DR - The latest update to Mixer’s iOS app includes the ability for users to change their usernames, will better highlight Ember chat messages, and will showcase more relevant videos specific to the user’s preferred language.  Naturally a slew of bugs were squashed and various minor improvements were also included. For the full list of enhancements check out the article below.

Full story - https://www.onmsft.com/news/microsoft-updates-ios-mixer-app-with-new-features-and-improvements

Chinese streaming platform Panda.tv going permanently dark this month

TL;DR - Panda.tv has run out of money and will be shutting down its servers for good on March 18.  The company recently laid off nearly 500 employees which sparked worry there were dark times ahead.  Word in the Chinese financial sector is that broadband server costs and even the salaries it was paying some of its largest streamers were just unsustainable.  The company’s largest personal shareholder will cover half a month of salary to all employees out of his own pocket.  Aside from Panda.tv, he’s also the owner of the esports org Invictus Gaming.  The platform is only about four years old and has raised almost $150M on a $750M valuation, with aspirations for an IPO down the road.  Panda has been steadily losing viewers, and thus streaming talent, dropping to just 17 million active users in February.

Full story - https://variety.com/2019/digital/asia/china-live-streamer-panda-tv-to-close-1203158142/

FACEIT ends YouTube exclusivity for its ECS League after four seasons

TL;DR - FACEIT’s CS:GO league will begin streaming on Twitch when its new season begins on March 11th.  Prior to this, the last four seasons were broadcast exclusively on YouTube. This is the first time the league has ever streamed to multiple platforms since its inception.  FACEIT’s co-founder released a statement citing audience feedback as the reason for the change this season. There was no indication FACEIT had any issues with YouTube, which is reinforced by its intent to continue streaming on the platform.

Full story - https://esportsobserver.com/faceit-ecs-twitch-broadcast/

Apex Legends earns its own HypeZone channel on Mixer

TL;DR - Following in the very cool tradition it pioneered with PUBG, Mixer has unveiled a HypeZone channel for the massively popular new battle royale title Apex Legends.  It joins a very limited cast of characters which includes PUBG, Fortnite, Black Ops 4, and Rainbow 6 Siege. To be featured, streamers need to ensure the number of players and squads left is unobstructed by their overlays.  Mixer is also adding a weekly leaderboard tracking all wins and kills for the top 10 streamers featured in the HypeZone. Any viewers watching the HypeZone channel through midnight on March 12th are also eligible to win an Apex Legends Starter Pack for Xbox.

Full story - https://www.shacknews.com/article/110304/mixer-launches-new-hypezone-apex-legends-channel

Dedicated esports building coming to Tokyo compliments of Konami

TL;DR - Konami has begun construction on the building in the downtown Ginza district of Tokyo and is expecting to complete construction in November.  Plans for the building include an esports arena, retail space, and a coaching facility. With the building, Konami hopes to elevates Japan’s status on the world stage of esports.  The 12-storey building will be called the Konami Creative Center, and is scheduled to be complete just before the city hosts the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Full story - https://dotesports.com/general/news/konami-has-started-construction-on-a-building-dedicated-to-esports-in-downtown-tokyo

PUBG’s EU League to kick-off March 21st

TL;DR - Phase 1 of the new PUBG European League will be kicking off later this month in Berlin and will feature fifteen teams.  PUBG’s EU League is one of the six that comprises the game’s official competitive circuit. On top of that there are three regional pro circuits that will collectively compete at the FACEIT Global Summit: PUBG Classic in London in April to wrap the first phase.

Full story - https://esportsinsider.com/2019/03/pubg-europe-league-start-date/

In case you missed it…

We’ve written in the past a couple of times about the EU’s Article 13 and what it could mean for live-streaming.  Understandably, it’s something Twitch is taking very seriously. The company has been addressing the legislation with increasing frequency as the European Parliament gets closer to deciding on the final language for the new law.  That’s expected later this month, possibly next month.

As Twitch and other interested parties (i.e. YouTube) continue to bring attention to the matter, the Parliament may push off the final vote even further - hopefully to get this thing “right”, whatever that may mean.

In this week’s episode of the drama, Twitch hosted a town hall during which questions were fielded from the viewing audience about what it could mean for them and for the industry as a whole.  You can catch a short write-up on the event here, along with a VoD from the event itself.

Do your part to get educated about this legislation and what it could mean for you if you’re a streamer.  Make plans as though it were to be implemented in the most authoritarian manner possible, and dial those plans back when/if appropriate.  This isn’t one of those things you want to be surprised by when it’s finally implemented if you taking streaming seriously. Companies have a history of knee-jerk reactions when there are big changes and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if blanket bans were handed out up front while everything else is being sorted out.  Remember, Twitch can’t afford to take any chances. If that means banning streamers until they get their legal house in order, they’ll do it. Don’t wait on that. Prepare.