Live-streaming, esports, and gaming news highlights for the week of August 10, 2020
Amazon rebrands Twitch Prime to Prime Gaming
TL;DR - Twitch Prime, currently available in 200+ countries, is becoming Prime Gaming in a bid to appeal to a wider audience. Amazon re-assured loyalists that the re-branding is in no way a negative reflection on Twitch, but rather a move to reach more gamers globally. Amazon intends to include more family-friendly options to the Prime Gaming line-up of monthly benefits, focusing on games like Roblox, for example. Prime Gaming memberships will continue to be available as part of Amazon Prime or Prime Video, and there are no plans to discontinue current features or benefits.
Shroud makes his return to Twitch
TL;DR - Shroud departed Twitch last year, just a few short months after Ninja made his move to Mixer. Since Mixer’s shutdown, there’s been speculation about where Shroud would ultimately land, and this week we learned he was returning to Twitch. During his return stream, Shroud managed to capture over 500K concurrent viewers, racking up 13K subscribers in under an hour. Twitch and Shroud have entered into an exclusive streaming arrangement, bringing the streamer back to where he left many of his fans when he made the switch to Mixer. And while his numbers eventually tapered off, he leveled off well over 300K viewers.
Ewok lands back on Twitch after Mixer shutdown
TL;DR - FaZe Clan member and pro Fortnite streamer Ewok has returned to Twitch after leaving the platform last year to join Mixer. Her announcement this week made it clear she’ll be exclusive to Twitch for the foreseeable future. The young streamer managed to average over 20K viewers during her three-hour return, peaking at over 30K. Ewok cited Twitch’s massive growth and size as the reason she chose it over rival platforms like YouTube or Facebook Gaming, with Twitch Rivals also a key factor in her decision.
The music industry targets Jeff Bezos over copyright issues on Twitch
TL;DR - The nonprofit group Artist Rights Alliance (ARA) penned a letter last week to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, openly criticizing him for Twitch’s lack of copyright enforcement as it relates to music on the platform. Specifically it took issue with Bezos’s claim of ignorance when asked by Rep. Kelly Armstrong whether or not Twitch permitted streaming of unlicensed music. The ARA’s letter was backed by several ARA board members, artists, and record label executives. Twitch’s perceived unwillingness to proactively address the issue was also mentioned in the letter, in which it was claimed Twitch did the bare minimum and was largely ineffective in its efforts. The letter concluded with an ask of Bezos and Twitch to explain how they’ll address these matters and make artists whole in the process.
Fortnite kicked from app markets by Google and Apple over in-game currency battle
TL;DR - Fortnite was removed this week from the Apple App Store, after Epic Games announced it would be adding a new way for players to purchase in-game currency, circumventing Apple entirely. Pouring salt in the wound, Epic added that there’d be a 20% discount when using this new method, virtually guaranteeing everyone would stop paying Apple and start paying Epic. Apple’s stated reason for the removal is that Epic violated guidelines for in-app payments, but didn’t specifically cite the discount. Google has since removed Fornite from the Play Store after it was announced the same discount would be available to Android users who purchased direct from Epic. The difference being the game is still downloadable for Android using the Epic Games app or the Samsung Galaxy Store, whereas with Apple it’s completely gone. Epic has since filed for injunctive relief in California court.
Subscriber emotes have finally arrived at DLive
TL;DR - Affiliates and Partners streaming on the DLive platform now have the ability to create and publish their own emotes. Prior to this update, the platform featured stickers which could only be sent as a message. Subscribers to the channels of Affiliates, Partners, and Global Partners are now able to use those emotes in any channels, and across any platform (i.e. mobile, web). The number of emotes per channel is determined by the streamer’s partnership status, as noted above, and ranges from three to twenty. Strangely, Dlive is allowing creators to upload their emotes without any kind or review process so we’ll see how that plays out.
Inaugural PUBG Mobile event surpasses incredible 1M viewers
TL;DR - The first ever PUBG Mobile World League (PMWL) wrapped last week, after a month-long run that began in early July. The $850K prize pool was split between East and West regions, but the East dominated in terms of viewership. The online-only event managed to capture over 1.1M viewers during the East’s final match, with an average viewership of just under 400K for the region. The West was a different story, with a peak of 49K viewers and an average of about 17K. That viewership gap is due to the game’s massive popularity in Southeast Asia, whereas in the West the player base is significantly lower. Regardless, this marks the first ever PUBG Mobile event to surpass the 1M viewer mark.
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