For those not too familiar with the gaming world, Twitch.tv is the live streaming video platform broadcasting video gaming content. The site's primary transmissions are video game walkthroughs (the steps needed to complete the tasks of the game) by users, e-sports competitions (multiplayer gaming tournaments), updates on gaming events and news, and other gaming-related content. This content can be accessed either on-demand or live webcasts.
Originally created as a spinoff of Justin.tv in 2011, Twitch was purchased by Amazon.com Inc ( AMZN ) in September 2014 for $970 million . This concept of watching individuals play video games through the internet is a relatively new phenomenon, yet it is increasing in popularity. In January of this year, The Wall Street Journalreported Twitch had "averaged 100 million viewers a month world-wide as of the end of December…more than double the 45 million monthly viewers it attracted just a year ago."
The 2015 E3 Twitch channel alone had more than 21 million viewers , almost doubling the number of viewers the previous year.
Google Joins the Multiplayer Action
Earlier today, Google ( GOOGL ) launched its own gaming-centric website under its YouTube subsidiary called " YouTube Gaming. " Google was reportedly interested in acquiring Twitch.tv last year - they clearly want to get into the gaming industry.
YouTube Gaming's goal is to make gaming content easier to access compared to the large amount already existing on YouTube. The primary focus of this new video streaming site will be the live streams. This year, YouTube began to streaming live content at 60 frames per second to enable for smooth live streaming videos.
With this focus on live streams, popular YouTube gaming channels should have a seamless transition into playing the games live instead of posting after the fact, while maintaining and potentially growing the popularity of the channel.
Does Twitch Have Anything to Fear?
Cosmetically, both YouTube Gaming and Twitch are very user friendly to navigate. Both have search tabs at the top of the page, with a trending live stream video as the focal point. There are easy access 'games' and 'channel' tabs on the YouTube Gaming site. When browsing by game, the user can see the popular and trending games of the moment.
Twitch's access to these popular games is equally as easy to aproach. Simply scroll down the page and its trending and popular games and channels are all conveniently located in their respective sections. This layout is great for users to know about large scale gaming events or competitions for their favorite games.
Joining in the conversation for the websites, especially YouTube Gaming, is simple. Despite not actually being in the room with any of these individuals, users can have this rather highly social experience without having to be present. You get the same sensations being on YouTube Gaming and Twitch as you do or did when you went to a friend's basement and watch him or her play any RPG or 1 st -person shooter games on mission mode.
Because the two websites are so similar in the product they offer, the content is going to be the key for the success of either Twitch or YouTube Gaming. Currently, there is no reason for Twitch users to switch over the YouTube Gaming - Twitch offers a more comprehensive product. Romain Dillet of Techcrunch.com provides a perfect scenario where the tables can turn in favor of YouTube Gaming. He writes, "If YouTube can convince Riot to stream its League of Legends competitions on YouTube Gaming instead of Twitch, it could make millions of people tune in YouTube Gaming overnight. Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone and Dota 2 are going to be important games as well."
YouTube Gaming will need time to collect content to rival Twitch. With Google and YouTube as the primary resources to obtain this content, YouTube Gaming has the highest potential to be Twitch's adversary in the near future.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report