It’s safe to say if you work in the games industry you’ll know about Twitch. Even with the pandemic seeing the downfall of many businesses, the same cannot be said for Twitch which just continues to grow as the uncontested front runner of streaming platforms, enjoying a 97% increase in hours watched year on year. Twitch reached new heights in 2020 with their engagement and viewership skyrocketing as the go-to destination for gamers stuck at home.
Since its launch in 2011, and acquisition by Amazon in 2014, it’s gone from strength to strength (and created quite a few celebrities on the way) but today we’re focusing on how the channel has influenced the games industry since its launch and how the positive impacts weigh up against the bad.
But before we get into that, here are some numbers which might blow your mind. Twitch has:
- More Than 26.5 Million Daily Active Users
- 54 Million Monthly Broadcasters in 2020
- 93 Billion Minutes Watched Per Month
- 9,006,466 Channels
What impact has Twitch had on the Games Industry?
So, numbers aside - has the platform affected the industry we work in and if so, how?
Socialising the games industry
Twitch and other similar platforms have allowed the gaming communities to grow and socialise in even more epic numbers than ever before. Where previously gaming was seen as a single person activity it’s now more social than ever.
Twitch brought out the “Community Room” area which is an online stream chat, discussions of new games, a way to meet new players and a good chance to chat to your favourite streamer. Not only this, but their ‘just chatting’ category has hugely evolved over the past year, accounting for 754 million hours in Q1 2021 a huge 44% increase from the previous year.
This can have a huge impact on the games industry as it allows developers and publishers the chance to see which games are being talked about and enjoyed the most. Information that previously would’ve been a lot more difficult to find out about competitors is now right in front of you! And while it’s difficult to completely separate how this information has affected the way that games are made – there’s sure to be a continuing impact on the games that succeed and therefore how games are designed and developed in future.
A powerful marketing tool
In February 2019, EA released Apex Legends on Twitch without prior announcement or much traditional marketing. This led to the game gaining more than 2.5 million players within 24 hours of release and racked up 25 million players by the end of its first week.
The game also generated more hours watched than any other game on Twitch in its launch week.
It’s of course difficult to know how this launch would’ve gone without using Twitch but it shows that using Twitch as your main marketing channel is something for studios to seriously consider. There are a whole host of marketing opportunities through Twitch directly but a lot is also done through partnerships with influencers and brands as well as giveaways and promotions. People on twitch don’t want a banner showing a fun shot of a game, they want to see someone they have a relationship with play the game and have a great time!
The most successful Twitch event so far saw 2.5 million people tuning in to watch the iconic Fortnite streamer, TheGrefg, unveiling his Fortnite skin – a huge privilege offered to a select few top streamers. Events such as this help to keep enthusiasm high for games that previously could have started losing momentum without Twitch.
Source: Art Station
And as well as game events, Twitch is also now a key place for people to watch company announcements and get involved with games industry events. At almost all games industry events now, companies will have a dedicated Twitch channel which allows people that wouldn’t normally be able to attend, a chance to feel more included. Gone are the days when you had to wait for the journalists to finish writing up their reports – you’re right there with them!
Inclusive identity tags
Something positive we can definitely take from Twitch is their advancement in discoverability for the LGBTQIA+ community. This feature allows users to look for streamers based on what they can relate to, making a huge step forward for these communities.
Having tags such as this means that game creators will need to be aware of how different identities and their views on each game will be making an impact. Hopefully this means that studios will only look to further the diversity and inclusion that we’ve been starting to see in particular over the last few years.
And even with trolls unfortunately being rife on platforms such as Twitch, these new tags offered by the platform so far seem to be successful in inviting the right people to channels, without bringing the hate with them. Lets hope it stays this way and they can be enjoyed as they should!
A second chance at life
Twitch gives older games another chance to be played and loved by nostalgic viewers as well as a whole new audience. All it takes is one popular streamer to revive a game completely, expanding the lifespan of the game as well as giving the developers an often-unexpected boost. This naturally gives developers a cause to adjust their thinking when they create games in terms of culture and history.
Inspiring the next generation of game creators
The games industry is growing and it’s a popular career choice for many. In the UK alone there are 60 universities or colleges providing 215 undergraduate and 40 master video game courses and whilst we can’t be sure the popularity is down to Twitch and similar platforms; we can assume that it may have something to do with it!
As well as inspiring generations to pursue a career in games (potentially!) Twitch is also home to a number of channels which house tutorials, hints and tips, and career advice to those looking to get into games such as DevChatter where aspiring developers can learn to code—or, at least, watch a coder work his wizardry and try to follow along.
So, has Twitch affected the games industry?
A big Yes! Not only has Twitch influenced players, gamers, and celebrities alike it’s helping studios get their games in front of more eyes than ever before, in a shorter time scale. Twitch has created a new community of game lovers and enthusiasts and most importantly it's inspiring a new generation of game industry workers!
And finally, we can’t talk about Twitch without mentioning some it’s ‘stars’! Love ‘em or hate ‘em these influencers have become celebrities in their own right and it doesn’t look like they are disappearing any time soon.
Shroud - Followers: 9.3M
Michael Grzesiek (Shroud) is a former professional Counter Strike Player for Cloud9. He is one of the most well-known players and most entertaining twitch streamers. He usually live streams whenever he is playing, which is almost 50 hours per week, amounting to a total of 9,880 hours streamed as of July 2021. Stroud streams competitive tournaments to a casual game of Counter Strike, he averages 29,000 viewers per stream, so you better have a strong internet connection to join!
Tfue - Followers: 10.5M
With the fourth-highest follower count, Tfue has the second most-watched Fortnite channel on Twitch.
This Twitch streamer also has the fastest-growing Twitch channel overall and for Fortnite and is one of the top Twitch streamers. He is also one of the most active Twitch streamers and spends ~70 hours live on Twitch every week.
TimTheTatman - Followers: 6.8M
Timothy (TimTheTatman) is a full-time streamer from the USA, he considers streaming the “Dream Job”. Tim is a family man; his twitch channel is family-friendly with his Wife occasionally joining in. TimTheTatman favourite video game is World of Warcraft and Counterstrike, you can usually see him live streaming these games along with Fortnite. Tim averages 20,000 viewers per stream! He is one to watch out for.
Happy streaming everyone!