Twitch posts impressive Q1 viewership of nearly 3 billion hours

TL;DR - At 2.7 billion hours watched, Twitch has grown viewership by 35% versus the same quarter last year.  Much of that growth is the result of the popularity of Fortnite and Apex Legends, the first and third most popular games on the platform respectively for Q1.  League of Legends continues to shoulder a huge chunk of those hours, at just over 300 million. During this same period, Mixer grew to 89 million hours versus 22 last year, while YouTube Live doubled to over 700 million hours.

Full story - https://venturebeat.com/2019/04/18/fortnite-and-apex-legends-propel-twitch-to-2-7-billion-hours-watched-in-q1-2019/

Live-action series “Artificial” returning to Twitch for second season

TL;DR - The second season of “Artificial”, the live-action sci-fi series on Twitch, returned on April 17th for its second season.  Episodes of the scripted series air every other week, where the Twitch audience is invited to influence the direction of the story.  Viewers can interact through voting polls, question submissions, and by sending fan mail and gifts to the series’s characters. The article includes an interview with the show’s co-creator, Bernie Su, and it’s worth the short read.

Full story - https://deadline.com/2019/04/artificial-experimental-twitch-series-returns-for-season-2-on-april-17-1202595949/

$50k FACEIT PUBG showmatch promises 64-streamer throwdown

TL;DR - The FACEIT Global Summit: Sunday Roast Showmatch took place in London this weekend, pitting 32 duos of streamers against each other for a $50k prize pool.  Contestants were awarded bounties for completing achievements across all three of PUBG’s maps, not just for winning. Competitors included Cyanide, Scoom, and several TSM members, along with streamers from all over the world.  The Showdown was part of the greater FACEIT Global Summit: PUBG Classic, which ran from April 16 - 21. Completion of the Classic wraps phase 1 for this year’s PUBG esports league.

Full story - https://www.tweaktown.com/pressrelease/13047/star-studded-streamer-lineup-perform-50k-faceit-global-summit-pubg-classic-showmatch/index.html

Microsoft adding Mixer support to Windows 10 Gamebar

TL;DR - During an installment of Microsoft’s “Inside Xbox” series, the software publisher announced a big update coming to the Windows 10 Gamebar.  Users will be able to add a shortcut of sorts to their favorite streamers’ channels to the Gamebar that will function like a picture-in-picture feature.  Viewers can keep the stream visible on their screen while they go about their business, such as playing a game themselves.

Full story - https://www.gamerevolution.com/news/526721-spotify-mixer-windows-10-gamebar

Mixer and Make.tv join forces for Mixer Matchups series

TL;DR - Mixer has teamed up with Make.tv, a service built to “handle live video in the cloud”, to level up the Mixer Matchups series.  These live-streamed competitive gaming events are hosted at Microsoft Stores around the country, and the deal with Make.tv will allow for competitors at the stores, and those gaming remotely, to broadcast to a single stream - something previously not possible.  Using Make.tv’s Live Video Cloud, the Mixer Matchup team can pull together all of the streams, curate them, and then merge them into a single stream on the Mixer platform.

Full story - https://advanced-television.com/2019/04/16/make-tv-microsofts-mixer-team-for-live-gaming-events/

MLS to stream Generation Adidas Cup on Twitch

TL;DR - Major League Soccer’s upcoming Generation Adidas Cup academy tournament will be streamed on Twitch as part of a new deal between the two companies.  66 matches from the tournament, taking place in Toyota Stadium (Dallas, TX), will air on Twitch this week. This year’s tournament is set to be the largest in the league’s history, with several expansions of eligible participants having occurred.

Full story - http://www.sportspromedia.com/news/mls-soccer-generation-adidas-cup-twitch

Magic: The Gathering emerges as challenger to Hearthstone’s Twitch dominance

TL;DR - Based on recent analysis from Gamesights Report, Hearthstone’s notable drop in Twitch viewership may be linked to the spike in MTG Arena popularity.  Since it launched last summer, MTG Arena has been on a steady climb whereas Hearthstone has progressively declined. Both will be hosting major tournaments at the end of the month which could prove telling in who will take (or retain) the top DCCG spot on Twitch.  MTG’s second Mythic Championship will take place in London and features a $500k prize pool. Hearthstone’s HTC Tour will conclude in Taipei with its World Championship, complete with a $1 million prize pool.

Full story - https://dotesports.com/news/mtg-closing-in-on-hearthstone

Caffeine and DreamHack firm up streaming arrangement

TL;DR - This new, non-exclusive arrangement means Caffeine can start streaming DreamHack events beginning straight away with the DreamHack Open in Rio, and then continue across the globe.  The emphasis will be on CS:GO and DotA 2 DreamHack events, and also includes the production of a new overtime show for each of the 10 events covered by the deal. The overtime show will feature interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage with opportunities for viewer interaction throughout.  Caffeine streamers will also be allowed to host their own shows using the DreamHack content and receive featured positioning by the platform.

Full story - https://esportsobserver.com/dreamhack-caffeine-partnership/

TwitchCon Europe provides big viewership boost to Twitch Rivals

TL;DR - The Apex Legends and League of Legends Twitch Rivals events last week at TwitchCon EU were the first live events in the series’s history.  The two competitions combined posted 440k hours watched - the bulk of that coming from Apex Legends. On Saturday alone, the channel averaged 24k concurrents, making it the top channel for Apex for the week.  The previous viewership record for Twitch Rivals was achieved back in February for another Apex Legends event, where it peaked at 427k hours consumed.

Full story - https://esportsobserver.com/rivals-twitchcon-europe-2019/

European countries band together to form esports federation

TL;DR - Twelve European countries have agreed on the formation of a European Esports Federation tasked to be a “moderating partner” for the industry.  The members have created “The Berlin Declaration” to define esports and its constituent parts, and structure the organization as a non-profit that will not accept third-parties or private entities as members.  Participating countries include the UK, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, France, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia, Sweden, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Full story - https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2019-04-19-european-esports-federation-to-be-formed-with-12-countries

In case you missed it…

Data excites us.  So, this week when I saw that Streamlabs and Newzoo had joined forces for a “state of streaming” report, I was pumped.  The report is limited to the first quarter of 2019 but, as the data reveals, there are still interesting stories to be told.

Before we get to our thoughts on the data, it’s worth noting that YouTube hasn’t been forthcoming with its data until recently.  Because of this, we’re lacking some context but we can still reach some reasonable conclusions.

YouTube is widely regarded as the closest competitor to Twitch - for now.  According to the report, YouTube Live’s viewership has reached about 24% that of Twitch’s and we know that number is growing.  Here’s why that matters. The overall traffic coming to YouTube in just the last month was just over 25 billion.  During that same period, Twitch pulled in just under 900 million.  Combine that with the fact that YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, and the numbers become incredibly compelling.  

YouTube is designed to make discovery simple.  With about 25 times the amount of inbound traffic and a system designed to make finding content easy, YouTube has the variables for a successful formula - it just hasn’t assembled them correctly yet.  That or the process just takes time. We really don’t know yet. The difference in the viewing experience for the average user, in terms of features, isn’t that much different just yet. And it may never be.  We can speculate a lot here but from what we’ve observed over the last couple of years is that one platform will roll out a feature and the other will follow suit. From a features standpoint, it doesn’t feel like there’s much competition.

Next is monetization.  Both platforms make their money primarily through advertising.  The advantage is YouTube’s here as well. Twitch relies on viewers coming for live content to serve up its ads.  You’ll find ads in VoDs as well but viewership for those is remarkably low in comparison. This is underscored by the fact that most streamers will either upload their VoDs or create highlight videos that end up on YouTube.  Twitch streamers are using YouTube as a means of discovery because it’s a great environment for it. As we said, it’s built for discovery.

Back to the report.  We learned that YouTube Live has the highest ratio of hours streamed versus hours watched.  Additionally, YouTube Live streams average 52.2 viewers versus 26.1 for Twitch and 10.9 for Mixer.  More of the content being created on YouTube Live is being consumed and there’s less disparity between channels.  

For streamers there’s a lot to unpack here.  YouTube Live clearly isn’t as saturated as Twitch, but a dearth of streamers isn’t reason enough to choose one platform over another.  But when you combine this with YouTube’s relatively better discovery capabilities, higher average viewer counts per stream, and a higher ratio of hours streamed to hours watched, there’s a compelling case for YouTube to continue closing the gap with Twitch.

Twitch must do more to support its creators and aid in their growth if it’s going to retain the top spot in live streaming.  YouTube remains the place where the bulk of gaming content is consumed, and it only makes sense that viewers will switch between live and recorded content.  We know convenience is king, so if it’s possible to do this all in one place, why not do it there? It also explains why Twitch began pushing recorded content more heavily last year.  Live is great, but it’s not possible to catch every live stream you want every day.  

So while Twitch may have revolutionized live streaming, YouTube owns the market on recorded content and has built a massive audience around it.  Twitch is very weak on that front, and relies on introducing new people to live streaming for continued growth. If YouTube focuses more heavily on live streaming, and converting its existing audience into live streaming enthusiasts, it stands to put a considerable dent in Twitch’s ownership of the medium.