Live-streaming, esports, and gaming news highlights for the week of April 6, 2020
VALORANT sets new single-day watch record on Twitch during closed beta
TL;DR - Riot’s new squad shooter is having the best week ever on Twitch. During the game’s closed beta this week, it broke the Twitch record for single-day hours watched, racking up 34M hours. The previous record holder was the 2019 League of Legends World Championship finals. VALORANT had already secured the single-day viewership record during it’s reveal in the week prior.
Twitch’s content creation hit all-time high in March thanks to the Coronavirus
TL;DR - Due almost exclusively to global stay-at-home orders, Twitch set a new record in March for the number of hours watched at 1.1B. That number represents a 20% increase over the month prior. The data comes compliments of StreamElements and Arsenal.gg.
Twitch opens Watch Parties access for all of its US streamers
TL;DR - The Watch Parties feature was previously available only to US-based Twitch Partners, but that’s changing soon. Expanded access will roll out in the coming week, allowing any streamers in the US to watch select Prime Video content live with their audiences. Twitch promises the feature will come to key international markets in the near future. Certain Amazon Originals are included in the Watch Parties playlist, such as Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Troop Zero, and Hunters.
Twitch pushes broad update to attire and nudity rules after controversial bans
TL;DR - Following the ban of body art streamer Forkgirl back in February, Twitch responded this week to the ensuing controversy with a broad update to its policies. Specifically, the platform’s nudity and attire rules have been further clarified to spell out exactly what’s allowed and what isn’t. Some of the more obvious infractions have been upheld, but things like cleavage and body painting have been expanded upon so that there are now clearer guidelines on what’s permitted. For example, during IRL streams, the attire of people in the background should not result in the streamer being banned, however streamers are expected to move away from nudity and remove it from their content post-stream. Body paint streamers must keep their genitals and nipples covered but otherwise they should be good. Restrictions were also relaxed for beach and swimming pool streams.
Streamlabs’ beta goes live on Apple’s macOS
TL;DR - Streamlabs has finally come to the macOS ecosystem, with the launch of its free open beta this week. Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS) can be downloaded for Mac from the Streamlabs website, with a $12/month (annual) subscription option to unlock additional overlays, themes, and widgets. It’s not clear if all of the platform’s features available on PC made it to the Mac, but the bulk of the most popular features were noted. For a full rundown, interested Mac users should hit up the Streamlabs website.
Upstart TV network VENN seeks to differentiate with the help of Twitch and YouTube creators
TL;DR - The Video Game and Entertainment News Network (VENN) is hoping to appeal to esports enthusiasts and casual video game fans by pulling Twitch and YouTube content creators into its lineup. With a format of “highly produced” shows centered on video game current events, overall gaming culture, and professional esports, VENN is hoping to capitalize on the current upsurge in video gaming and streaming to succeed where G4TV ultimately failed. The network will be headed by former Vivendi executive Ben Kusin, and Riot Games’ former head of production Ariel Horn. The two are pledging to work in tandem with streamers and content creators, potentially integrating their streams and channels into the network’s original programming.
Tencent acquires majority stake in Chinese streaming platform Huya
TL;DR - Tencent exercised its option to increase its stake in Chinese streaming platform Huya to 50.1% last week, effectively making it the majority shareholder. Tencent previously led Huya’s series B round with an initial investment of just over $460M. This latest purchase carried a price tag of about $262M. Strangely, Tencent also holds a significant position in Huya’s chief national rival, DouYu.
Twitch streamer LosPollosTV sets new world record for longest single stream
TL;DR - LosPollosTV kicked off an otherwise ordinary stream on March 29th during which he was running a sub-a-thon, whereby each new subscription would extend his session by two minutes. Things apparently went better than expected, and as he neared the world record he opted to continue streaming to secure the title. The previous record was set by Hulu, at just over 161 hours. LosPollosTV wrapped his session at the 195 hour and 36 minute mark, with assistance from his brother and father so that he could take sleep breaks.
Esports and gaming Twitter conversations are up 71%
TL;DR - In just the second half of March, Twitter conversations focused on esports and gaming jumped 71% versus the two week prior. Based on Twitter’s data, Fortnite is the fifth most tweeted about game on the platform. The surge in traffic is explained by the global Coronavirus quarantine, which has also led to an increase of 38% in unique Twitter authors during the same period. Overwatch is enjoying a bump as well thanks to OWL matches kicking off in late March.
New update to Twitch Studio beta deploys
TL;DR - Twitch’s free broadcasting software received some love this week as Twitch deployed an update with four new features. One-click green screen brings auto-detection to the app making it easier for streamers to configure their chroma key settings. A new Chrome-capture feature makes window-capture more reliable and less resource intensive. Vulkan game-capture gives streamers playing games using the Vulkan graphics API a way to use the Twitch Studio game-capture feature where they previously could not. And the app now makes it possible to capture audio from multiple sources after Twitch gave the underlying audio system a hefty rework.
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