What does the future hold for video game live streaming?

After a surge in the pandemic, how will the biggest platforms maintain their momentum as the world opens up

Some of us streamed series; lots of us streamed video games. At one point last year, Twitch viewers were watching 1.645 billion hours per month! It’s safe to say video game live streaming exploded during lockdown.

Unsurprisingly, Twitch leads the way as the most popular streaming site, with YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming trailing behind.

Despite spectacular growth during lockdown, hours watched and monthly viewers appear to have hit a plateau.

With the ‘unlockdown’ and the lure of outside fast approaching, who can say for certain if these platforms’ new viewers will keep up their streaming habit. Given the current state of play, there are a few potential scenarios:

  1. Twitch keeps us glued to our screens: In terms of viewers, Twitch was far ahead of its competitors before the lockdown, and has pulled even further ahead in the past year. Instead of prioritising expansion, Twitch’s strategy over the next year could be maintaining viewership levels. Twitch’s non-gaming channels (e.g. ‘Just Chatting’ and its Music & Performance section) could become a valuable tool in keeping viewers on the platform
  2. Facebook and YouTube battle for viewers: Facebook Gaming was relatively late to the world of streaming, but it’s quickly made up for lost time. When it comes to monthly viewers, it’s quickly gaining on YouTube and will continue to do so in the next year, unless YouTube have a change in strategy or unveil new features to keep and gain viewers

In terms of the longer term strategy, how these three platforms handle their position within their masterbrands’ (Amazon, YouTube & Facebook) brand portfolios could be a decisive factor in how they perform in the next few years.

Although Twitch is starting to branch out into new entertainment spaces, it is so popular with gamers as a brand that’s distinctive from its parent, Amazon, because it’s a platform and community explicitly for gamers. Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming, on the other hand, are parts of a much wider entertainment offering. Perhaps Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming will consider creating distinctive brands in the near future to gain and keep the attention of gamers as we move away from the lockdown.

Let’s keep streaming and see!

By: The Value Engineers

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