Why in the world would anyone rather watch someone else play a video game rather than play it themselves? Or why would anyone want to watch as someone tries to stay awake for 72 hours straight? If the current trend of livestreaming baffles you, then you might want to read and learn about Twitch, the most popular site for streamers.
What is Twitch?
At its core, Twitch is platform that allows users to live stream video. It’s best known for and widely used to stream video games. It hosts some of the biggest and most watched international Esport tournaments and championship games for League of Legends, DoTA 2, Fortnite, NBA 2k, and Overwatch.
But Twitch isn’t just for gamers anymore. With over 15 million active daily users, their user base has grown to include musicians, chefs, teachers, and other social media influencers.
Typically the person streaming will have two videos captures happening at once. One feed showing the video game/sheet music/cutting board/etc., and anther feed showing the content creator. This second feed allows viewers to feel as though they’re getting to know the streamer’s personality. Many streamers will also have a live chat, which allows the streamer and other people watching to communicate with one another. This can make viewers feel as though they have a connection with the streamer and also with the larger community watching.
Who uses Twitch?
There are 2 types of users on Twitch, viewers and streamers. In terms of viewership, in the 1st quarter of 2021 the number of hours watched on Twitch reached a record of 6.34 billion. Because you don’t need to register for an account to watch a Twitch stream, demographic data on viewers is incomplete. However, in terms of the top Twitch streamers, the top 20 most followed channels show a variety of nationalities including Americans, Canadians, and Spanish creators.
Some celebrities have also jumped into the Twitch stream phenomenon and you can find everyone from musicians like Snoop Dogg and T-Pain, to athletes like CJ Anderson and Juju Smith-Schuster, even congress woman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, better known as AOC have been known to boot up their computers and live stream with their followers.
Why is Twitch in the news?
Twitch has recently been in the news due to a few different types of incidents. They’ve banned popular creators and a popular type of content which led to the claims that Twitch’s polices are sexist and had one of their top streamers publicly announce their return to the platform with an exclusive multi-year deal after having left in 2019 to Microsoft’s Mixer platform. Additionally Twitch is seeing a growing trend streams with crypto-currency gambling and since 21% of registered users are under 18 years old, they’re facing a major problem finding way to enforce their Terms and Conditions. Twitch streamers who participate in these gambling sites or advertise with them face big risks as well.
The Future of Twitch
Livestreaming is a way for creators to connect more directly and honestly with their audiences. The live aspect makes the interactions feel more authentic and for many of Gen Z that authenticity is what draws them in. For streamers, it’s like a dream come true. The ability to be a professional video gamer player, or to become an online “influencer” is something that can now be a reality. With Twitch as an Amazon subsidiary we can be sure this is one site that has the power to continue its dominance of the live streaming market.