Live-streaming, esports, and gaming news highlights for the week of May 11, 2020

Twitch creates the Safety Advisory Council to help steer policy direction

TL;DR - Twitch’s new Safety Advisory Council will consist of eight members, drawing from both experts and content creators on the platform. The group will be tasked with helping to craft policy and product direction at Twitch, specifically around the areas of safety and moderation, healthy streaming habits, protecting “marginalized” groups, and identifying trends that could affect any of the above. Twitch has been criticized for years over its policy direction and enforcement protocol, but with its recent 48% month over month growth in hours watched due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it decided a new tactic was needed. This surge in viewership is also driving more advertisers to the platform, and those advertisers have clearly noted the community’s frustrations with Twitch’s policies and enforcement to-date.

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Twitch launches digital gift cards for Bits and more

TL;DR - Twitch’s new gift cards are digital-only for the moment, and come in $25, $50, $100, and $200 denominations. The first iteration will be available with a handful of special messages such as happy holidays, congratulations, and happy birthday - among others. Twitch has plans to sell physical versions of the cards at Best Buy and GameStop stores further down the road, where a $15 version will also be available. The gift cards can be used to purchase Bits, subscribing to a streamer’s channel, or for gifting a subscription to a channel.

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Longest continuous broadcast record broken for third time in a month

TL;DR - In April it was LosPollosTV who broke the existing record when he broadcast continuously for nearly 200 hours. A few weeks later it was CallMeCypher, racking up over 200 hours in a single session. This week it’s Welsh Twitch streamer Reecesy claiming the title - at 200 hours and 30 minutes, across 8 days of continuous streaming. Reecesy is known for his long streaming sessions, which are often for the benefit of charities. Much like the former title-holder, Reecesy’s broadcast only stopped when his computer called it quits, also while playing VALORANT. Does this make VALORANT the de facto limiter for future record chasers? Guess we’ll know in about another week!

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VALORANT reshaped the face of Twitch in April

TL;DR - It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally one game can have a huge impact on live streaming. In April, that game was VALORANT. Live-stream viewership surged by 45% month-over-month in April across the board (well, mostly), and was up 99% versus prior year. For Twitch, this meant a boost of nearly 100%, and much of that was driven by VALORANT. In April alone, the game captured over 330M hours watched, peaking at an incredible 1.7M concurrent viewership. More interestingly, the game was responsible for putting some new faces at the top of the directory, including streamers like Anomaly, Onscreen, and Sfory. This evolution is sure to continue as more people gain access to the game and more streams light up.

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