Whether or not Twitch is dying is a question a lot of people have had on their minds recently. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Twitch this year, which has come to be expected. However, lately it feels like there’s been a huge shift in how people think of Twitch. A lot of people are unhappy with Twitch’s inconsistency when it comes to enforcing their banning rules. An increasing number of content creators are also considering alternatives such as YouTube or Facebook gaming due to the new revenue split and Twitch’s very strict contracts.
What Does The Data Say ?
In order to gauge whether or not Twitch really is dying we need to take a look at some data and understand what it means. Streamlabs published a Q2 live streaming report with great data from the three major platforms, Twitch, YouTube and Facebook. At a glance the data shows us that there’s an industry wide decline in all metrics.
We will use their unique channels metric in order to compare the decline in YouTube vs Twitch.
- Number of unique channels streaming on Twitch declined by 12% compared to previous quarter.
- Number of unique channels streaming on YouTube declined by 12.6% compared to previous quarter.
Based on this metric alone it would seem to indicate that Twitch is still holding strong. With that being said, it’s important to note that this is data published back in August for Q2.
New Streamer Trends
As mentioned some of the data above may not be a great reflection of the current state in light of recent events. Another way we can see which platform new streamers might be considering is by comparing search trends for each platform.
The two search terms we thought would give us the most accurate data was “how to stream on Twitch” and “how to stream on YouTube”.
This graph we created represents the search volumes of each term over the last 12 months. As you can see in the last few months the interest in streaming on YouTube grew significantly closer to Twitch. Whilst Twitch has still never been surpassed it does tell us something very interesting about YouTube.
Despite Twitch being an absolute titan and still holding the largest percent of market share, it seems like it’s no longer the only platform that new and existing streamers are seriously considering.
Although Twitch is much further ahead, if this trend continues of more streamers deciding to stream on YouTube, you can see how over time YouTube will start to become more and more dominant.
If Twitch Is Dying Then What's Causing It ?
It’s not for no reason that so many people are now wondering if Twitch is on it’s way out. As of late it seems like there is an endless source of controversy surrounding Twitch. We will discuss these controversies and how they could negatively impact both the creators of Twitch and the sentiment surrounding it as a platform.
Revenue Split Changes
You’ve probably heard about the major change from the leading livestream platform Twitch recently. In a controversial announcement Twitch said they would be changing the 70/30 revenue split for top streamers in favour of a 50/50 split. As you can imagine they received a lot backlash from this. In response many streamers have claimed they will begin to migrate to other platforms.
As you can imagine, when a streamer changes platform so too will a majority of their viewers.
YouTube Have Better Contracts
Many big streamers have indicated that the money offered for a streaming contract on YouTube can be significantly higher than the contracts offered by Twitch. In addition to this the contracts given by Twitch are much more strict and have only recently allowed creators to create content on other platforms.
Many of these Twitch contracts also have minimum requirements for how long and often the streamers must stream. As you can imagine these strict rules are a huge turn off for many streamers especially considering YouTube contracts are much less stringent.
Twitch's Inconsistency With Bans
Twitch is infamous for it’s completely inconsistent approach to enforcing its own policy. Some streamers have received permanent bans for seemingly minor offences while others are given small wrist slap for much more serious offences. Ludwig who left Twitch last November has been pretty outspoken agreeing with a lot of others that Twitch is incredibly inconsistent.
Ludwig has been pretty outspoken against Twitch claiming that he believes YouTube will overtake Twitch in 5 years. This factor could certainly attribute to idea that Twitch is dying.
If you look at the comments on any of Twitch’s recent Instagram posts you will notice and overwhelming majority of them have a negative sentiment towards Twitch.
Twitch's Gambling Ban
After a huge scandal, where one famous streamer reportedly scammed 200k+ from his fellow streamers. Twitch addressed the issue by coming out and banning gambling stream from their platform. However This wasn’t a blanket ban, and only covers slots, roulette, and dice game sites.
Although most people agree with this ban, it does mean that a whole bunch of gambling streams will need to find another platform. Keep in mind that the Slots category was one of the fastest growing categories on Twitch, and will certainly have an impact.
Growing A Stream On Twitch Is Difficult
Twitch has become increasingly difficult to build an audience on due to the sheer number of people that are streaming there. Some streamers can stream for years and still not average ten viewers. While it’s true that having a schedule and being consistent helps you grow, it’s simply not enough anymore.
Even if you manage to get 10 viewers to check you out over the course of an 8 hour livestream chances are they won’t stick around long unless something eventful is happening. The reason big streamers can retain new viewers even though nothing eventful is happening is because of social proof. The idea that if 8 thousand other people are watching this stream it must be pretty interesting.
You won’t get this same attitude streaming with a small audience. And that’s why the most effective way to grow on Twitch is by posting the stream highlights on other platforms such as YouTube. YouTube is still such an amazing way to grow an audience. It’s something you can actually study and improve upon. Whether it’s understanding the algorithm or perfecting your thumbnails, there’s many actionable ways to improve.
With more new streamers realising this meta if you are growing your audience on YouTube then it also makes sense to stream there.
YouTube Lacking Features
Whether or not Twitch really is dying, one thing is certain. The Twitch experience is much more engaging and interactive. Although the YouTube streaming experience is improving drastically and rapidly, there is still a lot of work to do in terms of creating a streaming experience close to what Twitch have achieved. The Twitch chat is a much better experience that that of it’s rival’s YouTube.
In addition to the chat, YouTube’s layout for livestreaming is nowhere as good as Twitch. Twitch which has easily navigable categories makes it much easier to discover streamers.