A little history.
Twitch has its roots from way back in 2005 as justin.tv and then being acquired for $970 million in 2014 by Amazon. Twitch proved that streaming and watching games was popular, built up a massive user base and helped to build the careers of many a full-time streamer who garnered wide-spread support, sponsorship and fame. Typical peak viewer counts run at around 1.2 million with average daily lows at 350,000 with around 32,000 average streamers. The vast majority of games that actually make up those statistics consist of just 4 games – League of Legends, Counterstrike: Go, Dota 2, and Hearthstone. While it’s interesting to also note that Twitch as a platform itself has seen very little growth of viewership in the previous 12 months according to their own stats.
Why would this be? There are Twitch apps, and streaming options on PS4, and Xbox One, yes to find variety other than the top 4 games actually takes work digging beneath top streamers, streamers who have fake viewers, streamers who are sponsored by overpriced energy drinks, and beneath what often appears to be incredibly dubious self promotion for donations and where the chat channel is full of ‘what color is your panties?’ with a Cam taking up huge portions of the screen and not really pointed at the face without any moderation.
The Twitch audience is not getting any more mature – despite the gaming and streaming audience actually growing up. The demographics are changing, and Twitch isn’t changing with it. The culture of Twitch has a history of selfishness, of memes and trolls, Doxxing and swatting. As a viewer its quality and response times are still an issue typing and. As a streamer you’re entering a vast barren desert of only being discovered and gaining an audience by chance, you may stream with the passion and dream of sharing your love of games and playing with the community but it’s a long road (and by road
Of course to some extent Twitch brought this upon itself, Some insight to this is found on the front page. Twitch has promoted streams, where frequently the top games listed seem to be ‘paid for’ advertising. The mighty Amazon has started investing more into Twitch, Prime members now get twitch membership, and the ability to subscribe to a partnered streamer as part of their amazon prime subscription, which should in theory have driven way more traffic to the Twitch site. The stats show otherwise.
It’s time for the new kid on the block to step up.