Originally, this article was titled Watch Out YouTube – Someone Is Building A Better Twitch!, which is kinda interesting. It seems fitting that I drafted this weeks ago and now we know that Google is going after Twitch. There’s still no confirmation on the details of this deal but we know it’s going to happen inevitably.
Google can afford to buy out Twitch but they can’t afford to ignore them much longer.
In around three years, Twitch started as a dream and has become something of a big deal. Even if you’re not a gamer, here is why you should pay attention to Twitch developments:
- Twitch already surpasses Facebook and Amazon in peak usage.. In less than half the life span!
- Success in Twitch is more about the message, personalities, and engagement thereof, whereas YouTube places more of a focus on production value.
- There are countless niches and opportunities for partnership within Twitch; by design, Twitch allows even smaller brands to be discovered.
- Gaming is surpassing the movie industry and Twitch is getting ahead of this curve or paradigm shift.
Twitch is a serious business.. and it’s seriously fun. There are a lot of casual streamers but everyone has a chance to build residual income or even do what they love full time. The Google acquisition of Twitch threatens this yet it promises the hope of badly-needed, long-awaited improvements.
But what about eSports and competing technologies?
First of all, what makes Twitch special is the warmth and diversity of the platform. Gamers with aspirations to be pro players can watch skilled players do their thang and borrow some moves from their playbooks. Geeks looking to make new friends can find more engaging, authentic individuals to connect with. There’s something for everyone.
Analysts with no real connection to the gaming industry beyond PR contacts and monetary interest are touting the purchase as a move for Google to break into the multi-billion-dollar eSports market and blah blah blah. That’s fine and dandy but that’s not the real news here. The Verge explains:
Twitch is said to believe that Google can help the company become what it wants to be — the definitive platform for watching and streaming live video gaming. The company raised $20 million from investors in 2013 and is likely to turn a profit this year. But capital isn’t enough to allow Twitch to scale its technology and infrastructure to keep pace with its growth. It had plenty of offers from venture capitalists looking to give it more money, said the source, but what it needs is a partner that can help it handle massive amounts of live and user-generated video on a global scale.
From a business perspective and for the benefit of the gamers, Twitch should be left as-is. The media coverage leads us to believe it will be and Twitch only seeks to keep pace with it’s rapid growth. That means we can finally get the features that we have long awaited:
- Tools for smaller streamers and brands.
- Commenting and native content engagement beyond chat.
- Complete social media integration on an opt-in basis.
- Easier video management, filtering, and showcasing.
- More optimization for mobile and older computers.
- Export options for audio and video files.
- More stable servers – less connections dropped!
- More consistent video stream quality – YAY!
The last one is the most important thing because, as much as YouTube stinks for the little guys, you ultimately keep your content and can take it wherever you want. On Twitch, it can sometimes feel like your content is being held ransom and whored out (pardon the expression). They’re getting better about that but you still have to get creative if you want to extend beyond their ecosystem.
Now that we have all that as a backdrop, let’s talk about the competition and what this all means for eSports. I would say Twitch is in a class of it’s own. There is a wide breadth of content, tons of third-party support, many helpful contributors, a receptive booming community, and so much more going for it. In spite of the massive growth and scope, the community still feels very tightly-knit and everyone has a shot to help it grow and have a stake in the growth. That’s huge. YouTube can’t offer that right now.
So then there’s MLG. I do not see this as a threat or a direct competitor. There are lots of reasons for this but suffice to say GameBattles and the MLG have had plenty of questionable events (I’ve experienced this first-hand). YouTube and Twitch should not merge but they should key off each other. They should not try to be an alternative to MLG because they’re already something bigger. We could all agree that Google+ should not be shoe-horned in either. I feel Twitch has been so successful because of the fact that they balance pro and casual content.
The clueless monkeys in suits are saying that the merger of YouTube and Twitch would be a “synergy nuke”. Stop it. There can be a lot of great integration but to make Twitch and YouTube one and the same would kill everything that makes Twitch special. MLG and countless other platforms can provide the pro-only focus but that should not be what Twitch is all about.
Back to business talk, let’s be honest here: a lot of games and tournaments are becoming more self-sufficient so the need for a dedicated broadcasting platform is not really there. Twitch should continue to support and churn out new personalities that cannot thrive in any other ecosystem. That is their sweet spot and their unfair advantage.
Rumors or not, this deal is happening. Google has to make a move now before Twitch’s value sores any further. It’s quite interesting that suddenly YouTube export is working properly. There’s no doubt that this acquisition has been long in the making. That said, at least it’s Google and not Sony, Microsoft, or any other megacorporation that would make Twitch into a self-serving noise machine.
We need to take this conversation over to HorsePLAY! LIVE and our other shows. Get your thinking caps on, geeks and gamers. These questions still remain:
- When will the deal be finalized?
- How will it take shape?
What do you guys think about Google’s plans for Twitch and their 30-billion-dollar shopping spree? Does it excite you or are you worried? Sound off on t poll and comments area!