Smaller live streaming platforms are offering lucrative contracts to challenge Twitch’s dominance of the market.

Mixer, YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming are poaching well-known streamers in the hopes that they will bring viewers with them.

Twitch is the leader of the live streaming services making up over 75% of the live streaming market, beating out platforms such as Facebook Gaming, YouTube Game and Mixer.

Live streaming of video games — Twitch’s specialty — is becoming more mainstream. The popularity of watching video games like League of Legends, Fortnite and Dota 2 means that big companies want in, setting up their own platforms for streaming and trying to get new viewers by paying millions to live streamers for exclusive streaming rights.

Twitch had an early start in the game streaming industry and has dominated it since 2011. It also helps that Twitch is owned by Amazon. (“Twitch Prime” which involves pairing Amazon Prime with a Twitch account gives benefits to Twitch users.) But now popular live streamers are signing lucrative contracts to stream exclusively on new sites like Mixer, Youtube Gaming and Facebook Gaming, which are eager to dethrone Twitch as the number one live streaming service. 

Since Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, a streamer who had over 13 million followers on Twitch, made the decision to take a contract from Mixer, many other streamers have since signed with other streaming services. Well-known streamers Shroud, KingGothalion and Ewok have all switched to Mixer following the footsteps of Ninja. According to Streamlabs and Newzoo Q3 report, after Ninja switched to Mixer, the total hours streamed on Mixer has tripled but the watchtime has gone down since Q3.

Youtube Gaming signed Jack “Courage” Dunlope, a streamer who first became popular as an esports commentator then turned streamer playing with other big streamers like Ninja and TimTheTatman. Facebook Gaming signed a popular streamer who goes by the name Disguised Toast.

The reason why most streamers are taking contracts is job security. Live streaming is not a safe career. Streamers get paid by ad revenue from viewers as well as donations and subscriptions. Without any viewers a streamer won’t get paid and there is no guarantee a popular streamer now will be popular in the following years or months. If a streamer can secure a contract from a different streaming platform like Mixer than they will be able to ensure a more than healthy paycheck that will allow them to stream without the worry of how relevant they actually are. However big streamers at the level of Ninja and Shroud have both stated that they didn’t leave for more money but rather of for more “freedom” as a content creator. 

Another reason a streamer might leave Twitch for a new streaming platform is the toxicity. Twitch chat is no stranger to users who come in, spread hate, and leave to go terrorize the next streamer. Although it’s not a permanent fix, a streamer may feel they want to leave for a new site because they are more likely to receive less hate in their chat. They hope that the trolls are unlikely to switch over with them to a new platform.

The incredible numbers of eyeballs watching streaming platforms ensures that the battle for dominance over the live streaming market will be intense. Users on Twitch combine to watch nearly a billion hours of streams every month. 

Image credit: Steven String

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