Mixer unveils Mixer Loot rewards program for loyal viewers

TL;DR - According to the release from Microsoft, Mixer Loot will use the same AI powering the HypeZone to look for moments of peak content across streams.  If the channel is part of the Mixer Loot program, and if one of those moments occurs, viewers of the channel will be able to earn in-game items and content.  Mixer is adding the “Loot” icon next to the stream’s title so viewers know up front if they’ll be eligible. The new feature will get a hefty test run during the Xbox-exclusive Sea of Thieves anniversary update happening on April 30th.

Full story - https://www.onmsft.com/news/mixer-loot-a-new-ai-powered-rewards-program-for-watching-mixer-debuts-next-week

Chinese streaming platform Douyu files for US IPO

TL;DR - The Tencent-backed platform has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a $500 million US IPO.  Tencent is currently the company’s largest shareholder with a 40.1% stake, and also a major advertising spender on the platform.  Its involvement with Douyu competitor Huya could complicate things for investors, as the two live-streaming platforms are the leaders at the moment in the Chinese market.  In Q4 of 2018, Douyu reported 153.5 million monthly active users versus 134.4 million in the same period the year prior. In that time, 86% of its revenue came from viewer purchases of virtual items for tipping streamers.

Full story - https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/22/douyu-us-ipo/

Twitch app forcibly removed from Samsung smart TVs

TL;DR - Samsung smart TV owners attempting to use the Twitch app this week were greeted with a message that it was no longer available.  Looking to the Samsung app store they would find it wasn’t available there for download any longer either. Viewers are understandably upset, and Samsung is directing all of that frustration at Twitch support based upon the social media posts we’ve seen.  There’s also speculation that this wasn’t an official Twitch app, leading one to think a replacement from Twitch may be on the way. Twitch support hasn’t addressed the news as of the writing of this.

Full story - https://luckbox.com/esports-news/article/twitch-app-removed-from-samsung-tv

Paladins Premier League introducing revenue sharing for Mixer streamers

TL;DR - Starting this week, viewers of the Paladins Premier League streams on Mixer can purchase Embers to support their favorite teams.  50% of the revenue from those Ember purchases will be split amongst the teams in the league, with the remaining 50% applied to the league’s two biggest competitive events of the year.  This effectively mirrors the program implemented earlier this year for Hi-Rez Studio’s SMITE Pro League.

Full story - https://esportsobserver.com/ppl-mixer-profit-sharing/

Twitch reduces payout delay for eligible Partners and Affiliates

TL;DR - On April 15th Twitch lowered the payout delay from 45 days (net-45) to 15 days (net-15) from the end of each month for all eligible Partners, Affiliates, and Extension developers.  The $100 minimum earnings threshold must still be met, but this significantly expedites payment for a big chunk of income-earners on Twitch. Enrollment is automatic, and all currently supported payout methods are eligible.

Full story - https://help.twitch.tv/s/article/net-15-payout-faq?language=en_US

PUBG hit nearly $1 billion in revenue in 2018

TL;DR - Driven mainly by its dedicated legion of PC gamers, PUBG Corp. took in $920 million in revenue last year - $790 million of which came from those PC gamers.  Mobile players accounted for $65 million of the balance, but that doesn’t take into account mobile revenues in most parts of Asia, as Tencent controls the publishing rights to the game there.  53% of the company’s total revenue, however, did originate in the Asian market.

Full story - https://www.shacknews.com/article/111368/pubg-revenues-hit-920-million-in-2018-driven-by-pc-sales

The Overwatch World Cup is returning for a fourth run

TL;DR - Fans of Overwatch can expect to see the fourth installment of the Overwatch World Cup at this year’s BlizzCon in Anaheim in late October.  The ten teams placing highest in past World Cups will have their full expenses covered for attending, while others wishing to participate will only receive some minor assistance from Blizzard.  The full tournament this year will be held at BlizzCon, rather than being scattered across several host countries as it was in the past. Players must represent their home countries and will be selected from the OWL, Contenders, and Overwatch ranked play.

Full story - https://esportsobserver.com/blizzard-overwatch-world-cup/

Call of Duty franchise bidding may have pushed the price to nearly $40 million

TL;DR - Earlier this year, Activision confirmed that competitive Call of Duty would be moving to a franchise model, mirroring that of Blizzard’s Overwatch League and Riot’s LCS.  Initially the price tag for those franchise spots was reported to be around $25 million, more than either of the two aforementioned titles. But after the sellout of the recent OWL Dallas event, the bidding for those CoD city slots may be pushing $40 million each.  Jacob Wolf at ESPN later tweeted that bidding had NOT reached $40 million, so we’ll see how this ultimately plays out. The actual details of the CoD esports league are sparse at the moment, but it’s clear it will adopt a city-based model similar to that of the OWL.  Current OWL franchisees may have first right of refusal for their respective cities given the Activision tie-in.

Full story - https://www.dexerto.com/call-of-duty/call-of-duty-franchise-cost-double-overwatch-league-582485

Data indicates Twitch viewership may have no effect on Call of Duty popularity

TL;DR - It’s no surprise to most that Black Ops 4’s viewership has declined sharply since release, when several of the most popular streamers on Twitch were playing the game daily.  Interestingly, however, that seems to have had little effect at all on the overall popularity of the game. Despite averaging only about 5,000 - 10,000 viewers at a given time, the total player base for the game has held strong since launch.  Not only that, games in the CoD franchise remain some of the best selling games year after year. This challenges the developing notion that streaming viewership is a clear predictor of success for newly released titles.

Full story - https://www.dexerto.com/call-of-duty/black-ops-4-twitch-viewership-game-sales-581178

Full Sail’s esports arena set to open next month

TL;DR - Full Sail University’s esports arena, dubbed “The Fortress”, is on track to open next month in Orlando, FL.  The university has poured $6 million into the 500-person capacity facility, which will support up to 100 players at once.  By opening The Fortress, Full Sail aims to establish Central Florida as a focal point for gaming and esports - something we at StreamKick can definitely support.

Full story - https://esportsinsider.com/2019/04/full-sail-university-to-open-6m-esports-arena-next-month/

In case you missed it…

Several weeks back in this section we shared some comments from Ninja in which he voiced his frustration about the enormous pressure to remain at the top of his game.  In that piece we drew comparisons between the challenges larger streamers face with those smaller streamers face. This week, in an article published by Dexerto, The Doc responds to a viewer’s innocent question about why he’s playing Apex Legends if he doesn’t really enjoy the game.  And it’s something streamers of all sizes have been struggling with for a while: finding a game they really enjoy streaming.

Going live and putting on an entertaining show for an audience can be taxing.  Whether a streamer finds it easy or challenging, it’s still a drain to be that active for a long period of time.  So it’s of crucial importance that whatever it is someone is streaming, that they actually enjoy their time doing it.  I’d go so far as to say that’s one of the main reasons video game streaming took off. People had been live-streaming for years and it seemed like it was just a fad (Justin.tv).  It wasn’t until people started streaming video games that the medium really took off and Twitch became a mainstay.

The not-so-secret sauce to live-streaming is the viewer to streamer interaction, and the access viewers gain to a streamer’s life.  Watching someone meander through their daily life is entertaining to a degree, but when there’s a common interest (e.g. video games), that connection is stronger, and there’s a more stable foundation upon which to build a community.  Prior to video game streaming being on Justin.tv, it was primarily voyeurism that attracted an audience. They didn’t stick around unless they saw something that scratched their itch. But, with video games, there’s almost always something going on.

Doc’s beef is legit.  With the meteoric rise of the battle royale genre (thanks, PUBG!), if you’re primarily an FPS streamer, your options are limited.  Summit1g found success dabbling in Sea of Thieves but ultimately he has to love the game he’s playing. If he’s an FPS gamer at heart, SoT will serve as a temporary break from the monotony of the BR genre, but little more.

To our original point, this issue is affecting streamers of all sizes.  In fairness I think smaller streamers have a slight advantage in this instance.  While very large streamers can bring large swaths of their audiences to “new” games, it’s vitally important that they keep those viewership numbers consistently high.  Smaller streamers aren’t burdened with maintaining high concurrent viewership.

However in the end that does little to dispel the feelings of uncertainty and repetitiveness a streamer may feel when there’s a dearth of exciting games.  It leads to lower energy on stream, less viewer interaction, and even more infrequent streams. Video games have always had periods of highs and lows, but with the popularity of streaming, those peaks and valleys are more pronounced.  The good news?  We’ve always come out of it and we’ve got some pretty amazing titles to show for it. Hang in there. It will get better!