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OPLIN 4Cast #579: The rise of Twitch brings more competitors…and questions

Posted in 4cast, Facebook, and gaming

If you work in a public library, especially after school lets out, you might have noticed a trend with kids: playing video games is still great, but watching someone else play video games might be even cooler. My own son spends almost as much time watching YouTube videos of his Minecraft heroes playing the game, as he spends playing it on his own.

The rise of online gaming as a spectator sport isn’t exactly new:  Twitch, the most popular online game streaming service, has been around since 2011. Twitch’s peak viewership rivaled the average prime-time viewers of some cable networks by 2014.  The rise of Twitch has, of course, created competitors (especially major player Facebook), adjunct services and even discussions over the rights of game streamers.

  • Facebook takes on Twitch and YouTube in game streaming push [Engadget] “Last year Facebook launched a Creator app for video hosts to create more video content for the social network. Now it’s doubling down on the concept, this time for those who make gaming videos. It’s a pretty clear bid to compete with YouTube, Twitch and Mixer for the attention of gaming fans who love watching other people play video games.”
  • The (still) uncertain state of video game streaming online [Ars Technica] “As these streamers and personalities have grown in popularity, so too has the discussion over the rights of streamers and developers in regards to said content. Are streams covered under fair use with content creators allowed to make money off of them? Or should the original creators of the games have a say in how their products are used in the public eye, not to mention a chance to generate profit? “
  • Facebook tests tip jar for videogame streamers, launches gaming creator programme [The Star Online] “The company is now offering select videogamers a chance to monetise their game-play live streams on Facebook by giving their audience a way to tip them as part of a test of new monetisation options.”
  • Facebook’s new game streaming exclusive is a direct challenge to Twitch and YouTube [The Verge] “Two of the more interesting aspects of this deal are that ESL One will make use of Facebook’s cross-posting feature, thus distributing streams across the Facebook pages of pro teams and players, and the promise of offering streams in VR. Cross-posting is a unique hook that Twitch and YouTube don’t really have, and it could serve to drive new viewers to Facebook’s streams, depending on how many followers the most notable players already have.”

From the Ohio Web Library: