It is no secret that most people equate ‘live streaming’ with Twitch. Even though there are many other websites and applications that let you host and watch live streams, Twitch keeps enjoying the topmost position as a streaming website. In August 2015, Google, albeit quietly, launched YouTube Gaming – a section of YouTube designed to be dedicated to live streams, and supposedly a competitor to Twitch. Now, almost 3 months later, YouTube Gaming seems to be almost forgotten.
While YouTube Gaming (YTG) does have a few top streamers that fetch a lot of live views, the number is nowhere near Twitch. We kept a track of live viewers in both websites, and the number of highest views in YTG scarcely gets more than 10% of the number of the highest views on Twitch. Not to mention, the number drops off really fast in the list. At any given time, you will find maybe 3-4 YTG streams with more than 1k viewers, where as in Twitch, the number averages to 50-60 streamers, with more than half of them having 2k+ viewers.
At the time of writing this article, YTG’s top stream has 4.2k viewers, and that of Twitch has 52.1k, and YTG’s fifth stream has 305 viewers, where Twitch’s has 12.2k- that is how fast the number falls. But why is that? We took a look.
Content ID is the Devil
Many of you might be aware of the fact that YouTube uses a Content ID system for their videos. If you use anything in a video that you do not have right to use, you will be cited for copyright violation. Unfortunately, it also applies to certain video game soundtracks. That is why the majority of YTG streamers have the music turned off. It is extremely easy to accidentally show or broadcast something that might cause a copyright violation, and eventually get your account banned. This alone makes streamers uneasy to use YTG. It does not help that many companies would be willing to sue you if your phone rings during the stream, and you have one of their songs as a ringtone.
An Established Community
Twitch was launched as Justin.tv back in 2007 and the gaming portion was dedicated as Twitch back in 2011. That means, Twitch has had years of a head start and has gained a huge community of viewers and streamers. There are many celebrity streamers in Twitch, as well as amateur ones, who are the majority. YTG simply does not give enough incentive to move there from Twitch.
Another important aspect is that Twitch typically has an exclusivity contract in place for its partners, which prevents them from streaming at other competitive websites like YTG or Hitbox. So, if a Twitch veteran partner wants to stream at YTG, he or she would not be able to stream at Twitch as well. If such a streamer leaves Twitch to go to YTG, they will be at a huge risk of losing their entire fan base. Once again, YTG gives nothing that will be worth taking as big a risk. Short of paying experienced and celebrity streamers, YTG would not be able to gain their patronage.
Lack of Innovation
When you are trying to attract a large fan base like Twitch, you need to have something unique, something new to the business, and YTG has offered nothing like that. It is simply another streaming website, with a few minor tweaks and a huge brand name. This is simply not enough to convince people to leave Twitch, especially since YTG comes with the huge burden in form of Content ID.
YTG has its advantages. It allows 9000 kbps upload for 1080p at 60 FPS, while Twitch has a soft limit of 3500 kbps. YTG lets pause and play streams, and get back to live video if you wish. Also, YTG automatically adds streams to your archive. However, it seems that so far these have not been enough for people to pick YTG over stream, especially because of the Content ID system. YTG really needs to pick up their game if they want to be a serious contender against Twitch.