Move over, football – video games are quickly becoming the most popular “sport” in the world.
Esports (that’s what the kids are calling video games these days) aren’t just for players any more, though. Video games have become a popular spectator event, drawing crowds in the millions for major events.
According to a recent study by Newzoo, the global Esports audience reached 495 million people this year – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Along with the rise of Esports, we’ve also seen a massive increase in online streaming of these games. The most popular video game streaming platform is called Twitch.tv, and it currently averages about 2 million viewers at any given time.
Last month, more than 7.4 million people streamed their video game playing – and their loyal fans tuned in to watch them play for a combined 1.4 billion minutes. (Yes – that’s just in the past month.)
Now, for those of us who grew up with packed stadiums and live action, it can feel a bit strange. But there’s a fascinating, growing world on these streaming platforms. It could very well define the future of spectator sports – while it probably won’t replace live sports any time soon, it’s certainly going to grow.
So, let’s explore this interesting new segment of entertainment, shall we? In this article you’ll learn what Twitch.tv is, who uses it, how it makes money, and whether or not it’s a safe place for kids to hang out.
What is Twitch.tv?
Twitch.tv is an online streaming service that allows anyone to share their video game playing live.
Well, at least it started that way – back in 2011, when it was founded as an offshoot of another streaming platform called Justin.tv (the founder is named Justin Kan).
Now you can find all sorts of entertainment on Twitch, not just video games – from musicians performing live, to chefs teaching you how to bake, to simple conversations about “whatever”.
How do you watch Twitch.tv?
The Twitch platform is divided into channels. Each channel is managed by an individual, who shares their game playing. These people are called “streamers”.
Some streamers choose to focus on a single video game or activity, while others play a wide range of games.
You can watch without creating an account. Simply visit Twitch.tv and start browsing for channels. If you’re a fan of a particular game (or activity), you can search for a channel that may contain content interesting to you.
Who watches Twitch.tv?
In short, most people who play video games regularly have now heard of Twitch, and are likely fans of a channel or two.
The average Twitch user watches 95 minutes per day on average – so as you can imagine, there are many people who spend all day watching someone else play a video game.
Some quick facts:
- The average viewer is 21 years old.
- 55% of Twitch users are between the ages of 18 and 34, while the rest are 13–17 year olds and people over 35.
- More than 100 million people watch Twitch every month.
- The most popular channel is run by a person using the pseudonym “Ninja”, who currently has 16 million followers.
Err… so millions of people are watching, but not actually playing the game? What’s the appeal here?!
There are many reasons why Twitch (and similar platforms) has become so popular.
Many popular streamers are professional video game players. Their audience watches to learn from them.
However, others have gained their large audience simply due to their personality. They may play multiple different games. Their viewers tune in to watch them react, laugh, and even fail at the games they’re playing.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Twitch is that anyone can create an account and start streaming. There are millions of streamers, all vying to satisfy the (many more) millions who crave their unique content.
However, perhaps the biggest appeal is the viewer’s ability to interact with the streamers. Each Twitch channel has a chat section, which allows viewers to send messages to the streamer. Viewers can even donate money or pay for a subscription, which the streamers get a portion of.
How does Twitch make money?
Right now, Twitch makes money from advertisements that play before or during streams, and through “subscriptions”.
Viewers can choose to “subscribe” to a streamer, which costs about $4.99 per month. Twitch takes a portion of this, while the streamer gets the rest.
There are also some more complicated features that bring in extra cash, but these two methods (advertisement and subscriptions) are the main source of income for both the platform and the streamers.
This means there are now “professional streamers”. Yes – playing video games is their full time job!
Professional Twitch streamers make an average of $4,000 per month and stream their playing for about 40 hours a week. Naturally, some of the “superstar” streamers can make much more than that – in fact, some have even been launched into international fame (at least among the video game crowd).
The most popular streamer, “Ninja”, even received his own toy line recently. So it seems games aren’t just for entertainment any more – they can mean serious business!
Is Twitch safe for young audiences?
Overall, Twitch is about as safe as any other online platform where people interact, which naturally comes with the potential for bad actors.
Twitch does their best to monitor content on their platform. They use moderators and have strict rules around sexually suggestive or explicit content.
However, Twitch doesn’t filter the content of the games themselves. That means younger viewers may be exposed to explicit content – either from the games they’re watching, or perhaps from the streamers themselves.
As such, Twitch should only be viewed by mature audiences.
Conclusion: Twitch is opening a new chapter in spectator sports – what do you think?
We’ll be honest… when we first heard of Twitch, we thought it was a bit strange. I mean, who would want to watch someone else play video games?!
However, you can’t deny the explosive popularity of the platform. It’s grown to impressive heights in under a decade – it’s now the 33rd most popular website in the world.
So, what do you think? Have you watched a Twitch streamer? Is it a weird concept, or pretty cool in your book? Let us know in the comments below!
Sources: https://www.businessofapps.com/data/twitch-statistics/ https://www.roundhillinvestments.com/research/esports/esports-viewership-vs-sports https://twitchtracker.com/statistics