PewDiePie seeks to capitalize on new live streaming platform DLive

TL;DR - DLive, billing itself as a “decentralized live streaming platform”, has brought on the massively popular YouTuber PewDiePie for a recurring weekly live stream.  DLive was launched in 2017 and is built on the Lino Network blockchain. The platform is looking to woo over content creators with its LINO Points monetization strategy, through which viewers can earn real money by engaging with streamers.  Pewds has pledged anywhere from $10k - $50k worth of the points to around 100 other streamers during his first broadcast. Since the announcement, his fans have flocked to the site, where he’s already amassed over 80k followers and $23k in donations.  Creators looking to monetize on DLive must have a PayPal account, and the service promises 90.1% of subscription and donation revenue will go to the streamer. The balance is placed into a “Locked LINO” account which is reserved for the most engaged viewers on the platform.

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New York to be the first home to the Fortnite World Cup

TL;DR - New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium has been named as the venue for the first Fortnite World Cup, slated to begin July 26.  Pre-registration is open, and tickets went on sale April 14th. Anyone attending the event will receive a pass for Season 10 and an undisclosed amount of V-Bucks.  Epic Games will be live-streaming the event both on Mixer and on Twitch, with additional platforms expected to be announced at a later date. Qualifiers for the tournament began this weekend and run through the middle of June.

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Overwatch League viewership struggles to keep pace with prior season

TL;DR - As the second stage of OWL season two kicked off, Twitch viewership was down from 152k CCV last year to 107k.  Viewership dropped off last year as well when the league transitioned from stage one to two, but this year’s drop is more pronounced.  Three of the new teams added to the league are in China, and Twitch is blocked in that market. So these numbers aren’t a truly accurate reflection of total overall viewership, but they do provide some insight into the popularity of the league.  Also worth noting, peak CCV last year on Twitch was north of 160k daily, but this year only managed to hit 117k.

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Edison Park sets new single-month streaming record on Twitch

TL;DR - The streamer set his sights on the record previously held by Zizarin, of 506.5 hours streamed in a single month.  Throughout the month he streamed every day, for a minimum of 17 hours daily, playing a variety of games, to set the new record of 541 hours.  For his grand finale, Park proposed to his girlfriend and sometimes streaming collaborator, Fuslie. She said yes. 😄

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GameWisp’s tech acquired by Lightstream

TL;DR - The back-end technology powering the now-defunct GameWisp has been acquired by Lightstream, which plans to use GameWisp’s monetization platform in some undisclosed fashion.  Lightstream shared that it plans to use this tech to “build out Lightstream Studio” and for “new products” to come later in the year. They made it clear they have no intention of relaunching GameWisp as part of this acquisition.

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Nearly 60 billion hours of gaming content watched online in 2018

TL;DR - Taking data from YouTube, which includes live and recorded content, and combining that with viewing data from Twitch, it seems we collectively watched almost 60 billion hours of gaming content last year.  The author notes it’s not possible to break out gaming from non-gaming content with the data Twitch has shared, but YouTube’s global head of gaming shared their data over the weekend which accounted for 50 billion of those hours.

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Apex Legends Twitch viewership seeing steep decline

TL;DR - Despite a record-setting launch, Respawn Entertainment’s blockbuster battle royale title has been on a drastic decline in terms of Twitch viewership over the last couple of months.  The game was averaging around 300k average viewership in February, the month of its launch. However, up to this point in April, 40,000 viewers seems like a stretch. The drop in popularity is justifiably being blamed on the incredible lack of content since launch.  Combine that with unfixed bugs and issues with hackers, and it’s clear why its popularity has waned.

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NBA2K League ends exclusivity with Twitch, welcomes YouTube

TL;DR - The league’s 2019 season is currently underway, but the exclusive streaming rights enjoyed by Twitch are over.  Twitch was the sole streaming outlet for the league in 2018 and for the first few games of this year, but now the NBA has let YouTube in on the game.  The deal includes 230 regular-season games, playoffs, and the season championship games.

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Caffeine scores global streaming rights to FIFA 19 Global Series

TL;DR - Along with the Global Series events, the live-streaming platform will also enjoy exclusive access to the FIFA eWorld Cup.  21st Century Fox invested $100M in Caffeine last year, so it’s no surprise that Fox Sports has secured the US television and streaming rights for the same matches.  Viewers can also catch games on the Fox Sports app.

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Twitch Sings has officially launched

TL;DR - Twitch Sings is Twitch’s attempt to create a karaoke-style game built specifically for streamering.  The game, Twitch’s first, was teased at TwitchCon last year in San Jose and is completely free to download.  Despite being designed with streaming in mind, it doubles as a single-player game as well. Streaming the game does not require the use of third-party streaming software like OBS.  

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In case you missed it…

At the last TwitchCon, during the keynote, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear introduced us to the concept of “multiplayer entertainment”.  It’s a simple idea - that gathering like-minded people in a single space to enjoy spontaneous content guarantees fun for all. It’s also not a new concept.  Ever been to a sports bar while your favorite team is playing? Or hung out at your friend’s house with the entire crew assembled for game night? Yep - same thing.

What’s different with live-streaming is that the physical boundaries have been removed.  As a result, time constraints are lessened. Convenience - that’s what’s changed.

Live-streaming platforms like Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube facilitate convenience and that’s a major motivator for changing people's behavior.  If you look back to when Twitch was, it was a novelty to watch Justin Kan live-stream his daily routine. But it was nothing more, and that’s why it was headed for failure.  It wasn’t until the team realized people were tuning in to watch streamers play video games that they discovered the direction they needed to take in order to save the company.

That wasn’t that long ago, and already we see the concept of multiplayer entertainment being iterated and experimented upon.  In this article over at The Esports Observer, they interview the head of esports for Twitch, Justin Dellario.  He hits on a few very interesting points we’ve noticed and even covered on the StreamKick blog in the past.  For one:

“Battle Royale games are highly competitive and easy to follow. They translate very well to Twitch.  Twitch viewers thrive on live, shared moments and there is no shortage of that spontaneity in Battle Royale games.

 “Best of all, Battle Royale games are simple – fight to be the last one standing – so nobody is left in the dark when they see a best play or big win.”

 I think it’s safe to say at this point that were it not for live-streaming, the battle royale genre would not have gotten the huge lift it has since PUBG was a break out hit.  That success inspired a genre that’s seen explosive growth and has played a key role in turning many streamers into celebrities in their own right.

 The very nature of the genre lends itself so well to streaming, as Dellario points out.  We’ve covered games in the past that were designed specifically with streaming in mind. And just this week we saw Twitch officially release its karaoke game, Twitch Sings.  Game developers have taken note of precisely what Shear and Dellario are saying, and we’re seeing the industry evolve in response.

 Dellario went on to say:

 “The top personalities on Twitch now single-handedly command audiences just as big, or bigger, than the biggest weekly esports leagues on the platform. So some events are finding new ways to get the best of both worlds through one of the newest trends on Twitch – co-streaming.”

This, I feel, is going to be even more impactful in the long-term.  As Twitch and its contemporaries continue to grow and attract more people to live-streaming (viewers and creators alike), we’ll see more diversity at the top of the ecosystem and we’ll see even bigger personalities than the ones leading the charge today.  The influence these creators will command will undoubtedly be the most valuable currency brands can acquire.

Today, these content creators are connected to their platforms either because they know they’ll shed viewers if they leave, or because the platform has just made it too damn convenient for them to want to leave.  As the strength of their personal brands grows, and they find they can command more from the platforms themselves, I predict we’ll see creators migrate between platforms far more frequently. Subscriber count alone won’t be enough to keep someone when it accounts for such a small portion of their overall revenue.  It’s wise of Twitch to get involved in the management aspect of its creators because, in the long run, they’ll chase the money and their audiences will follow because they love the content.