With Twitch.tv recently being purchased for $970 million by Amazon, the world of streaming games is becoming big business. YouTube is also awash with walkthroughs and people having fun playing any games you can imagine, from the latest major releases to relatively small indie games. We take a look at how gaming and eSports have become more mainstream and the rise of Twitch.tv. Over recent years there’s been a noted increase in the amount of content produced by gamers online, from live streams to YouTube videos and the more traditional written guides.
From humble beginnings
Twitch started back in June 2011, focussing on video games and playthroughs by users. Over the last few years it’s grown vastly and now covers many of the top eSports events and competitions, allowing viewers to watch live or on-demand. Earlier in 2014 rumours began to emerge that Google were looking to acquire Twitch and add them to their portfolio, however this did not emerge. Instead there was an announcement that Amazon.com were to buy Twitch for $970million, with the deal expected to be complete by the end of the year.
Twitch bandwidth increase
Twitch traffic is definitely growing, over the last few months we’ve seen around a 27% increase in bandwidth to Twitch.tv alone. Towards the start of the year Twitch was ranked 4th in peak Internet traffic in the US. Although not yet at those levels over here the figures are increasing and with more people now having access to superfast fibre speeds and the increased upload speeds that come along with these, we’ll probably continue to see this rise.
Alongside the streamers are those who produce videos for YouTube, some do straddle the divide and do content for both. One of the most successful and popular YouTuber’s is Felix Kjellberg, known as PewDiePie. He currently has 27 million (yes million) subscribers to his YouTube channel and pulls in around $4 million in ad sales on his channel per year according to an article in the The Wall Street Journal (paywalled). PewDiePie’s videos regularly attract several million views.
With streaming and video content so accessible, it’s no surprise that eSports are coming more in to the mainstream. Some recent competitions have attracted high viewing figures with the recent ESL Cologne One event having over 3 million unique views and at one point reaching 400,000 concurrent sessions. Couple this with the huge prize funds on offer and we can safely say that eSports will be around for many years to come.
The light hearted side of streaming
A lot of the content on Twitch follows a similar format, the streamer playing a game whilst interacting with people in their chat. Recently there have been some variations in this, with a couple of the more creative ones hitting more mainstream media too. These include 2 fish playing the classic beat-em-up Streetfighter. In February 2014 a social experiment was launched on Twitch, to try and complete video games by parsing commands sent by viewers through the chat. This was known as Twitch Plays Pokémon and received over 55 million views during the course of the experiment. Do you enjoy watching people play games? Maybe you’re a streamer or post videos to YouTube. Click the share buttons below and let us know what you think.