The past several years has shown the social communities grow organically. But its hard to make users adopt one. If you build it, they probably won't come. It's easier for a big company to buy one up than start one from scratch. (Think Instagram versus Google Plus).
Second, Twitch is one of the few monetization models on the internet that is not pure ad based. Twitch does have ads, but streamers see more money through direct donations and monthly subscriptions. Also I am willing to bet the rate of ad blockers on Twitch is higher than the average site. Twitch has shied away from dark patterns that lock out adblocking users. I don't see any big modals or disabled video if I run an adblocker on Twitch. This is no doubt on purpose. So Twitch has locked on an monetization model of direct payment for digital content, which is rare on the internet. And best of all, it's completely optional.
A video streaming service alone is nothing revolutionary. There are many Twitch clones that haven't reach near the same popularity. Its the community, and how its funded.
Twitch can leverage the core support network that amazon can build
Starting from aws - to prime video subscriptions
amazon will go strong into tv top as soon as apple and google take it more serious. at that point the got one of the bigger kinds of content under control - similar w/ google and youtube
The iOS app definitely needs chrome cast support.
i think for now every of the big players will create their own apps/boxes - i imagine "prime TV"
at some point the fragmentation will annoy customers so much that they will find ways to combine - but that's in 5-10 years
Chromecast is so cheap that its probably putting downwards price pressure on the devices themselves. And I don't personally have any issue flicking between all of my various "set top" boxes: chromecast, WD Live, Apple TV, old school dvd player, Tivo. After all, what issues does this fragmentation cause, apart from a bit of a mess of HDMI cables, and a shortage of HDMI ports on the TV?
Can users purchase games (from Amazon) directly through Twitch? Amazon could offer streamers a referral cut, too.
I think a smarter strategy would be to let the streamers advertise peripheral items (wanna order the beer I'm drinking?) and to encourage the viewers to buy things for the streamers to feature in their show (especially the crafty streams.)
I vividly remember this not being the case, whereas (at least in partnered streams) if twitch detected an ad-blocker it would stop the stream and then fill your screen with recommendations to subscribe to the streamer.
What ended up happening if I recall correctly was the adblockers would just block the anti-adblock screens so they were rendered ineffective.
I'm pretty sure there was other efforts, but I found this on their blog 
> The past several years has shown the social
> communities grow organically. But its hard to
> make users adopt one. If you build it, they probably
> won't come. It's easier for a big company to buy one
> up than start one from scratch. (Think Instagram
> versus Google Plus).
At least that's what I've observed over the past few years. Twitch was bought $1B with a mere 50M users. But highly engaged users with successful monetization. So it fits my model. WhatsApp was bought for almost $20B under the assumption they could hit 1B users. A 2x premium for being so large.
So roughly $5 to $20 per user. That seems pretty reasonable.
I wonder if and when people get tired of that. I also wonder how user engagement/retention numbers evolve globally over time; if almost everyone treats their users like cattle, I won't be surprised if more and more people started treating on-line services as throwaway.
 - corollary: all the "we're trying to change the world", or "our passion is to help you do X" they say on their page is just lies.
 - that also applies to paid services; I've read that classic Maciej's post about paid vs. free services, but companies aren't stupid; if being paid signals trustworthiness and leads to more users, they'll make the service paid
 - https://blog.pinboard.in/2011/12/don_t_be_a_free_user/
Do yourself a favor and get the transcript. He's super-methodical.
If you haven't read Blank's book and you liked the approach in the interview, do yourself a favor and read the book. :)
Think of it as a mini-book.
I shared the Google Doc so you can save it to your Gogle Drive and read it when you have time for something longer than a blog post.
(Thanks for the transcription!)
It was funny when one of the co-founders said something along the lines of "who the hell wants to watch other people play video games on the internet," little did he know... I beat my head on my desk some days thinking "why didn't I think of that!!!!" and then I beat my head on my desk again thinking, "what other ridiculous sounding simple idea is lurking out there yet uncovered." If anyone stumbles across that very thing and needs help brining it to fruition, pm me :D
It's a matter of time before we see some big lawsuits against the streamer and streaming platforms which make a lot of money by publishing the whole content, without any royalties to game developers /publishers.
For certain games. it doesn't spoil or ruin the fun factor for viewers, but some others it just removed the incentives to buy a copy of the game in the first place.
If the publisher doesn't want their game on twitch it isn't there: but the reverse tends to happen (publishers pay people to stream their game, and for their game to be featured on the twitch sidebar).
As one less recent example, watching Half Life 2 with funny commentary is great, but I have no desire to ever play the game myself.
How many of them would have been so pushed as to play the game for themselves anyway... an open question.
I watched Let's Plays of both because I wanted to see the story, and because the players were entertaining. I don't think I'd have enough time or patience to play through either game, but I definitely got value out of the game itself without having played it.
It does seem like a gray zone - I experienced content without paying for it, but I didn't experience it the way it was truly meant to be. Did I come by it unfairly?
It's a tough call. Arguably, the player is the performance, against the game as a backdrop. That could be argued as a transformative use. If you make a video of someone playing golf on a Robert Trent Jones golf course, Robert Trent Jones (or his estate) doesn't get royalties. If you make videos of people playing sports with sports gear with prominent logos, that doesn't mean the sports gear company has a copyright interest. You don't have to pay royalties to car companies when their cars appear in a video.
Cut scenes may be an issue, since the player isn't controlling them.
I'd say that's absolutely the case for a lot of the most popular streamers and Lets Players. Jacksepticeye is an easy example: the distinctive parts of his videos aren't the games, they're his exaggerated reactions to whatever's going on in them. You could replace the actual game video and sound with a black screen, leaving just his voice, and people would still tune in to giggle at his silly behavior.
Just take for example all those YouTube channels where you can access a replay of a whole game on demand.
I just did a couple of weeks ago with the latest Resident Evil HD remaster because I was fond of this game I played back in 1996.
I thought about buying a copy. I wanted to revisit it. Well not anymore. I just skipped through the important cinematics and storyline for some hours, up to the game ending.
I think that game companies are more thrilled about free advertising to people like me then they are worried about people like you... at least for now. If that balance shifts, things might get ugly.
Platforms like Twitch definitely help to hype new games and make good free advertising. Most companies should leverage this. For someone who works in the video game industry, I do see the value in that.
On the other hand, it can be harmful for certain types of games (linear/story driven, like pointed out).
Not only that, but I think the way the revenues from those streams are shared is very unfair.
Think about it; this market is growing and the pie is getting bigger. Yet, right now the money is split only between the platform service and the streamer, either by advertising or donations, but without anything to the IP owner.
Movie and music organisations like MPAA and RIAA have taken very agressive stance against digital copyright infringement since the millenium.
Video game industry has been more forgivable so far, but doesn't mean it won't take a stand eventually.
EDIT: Just did a sanity check search, Mario Kart 8 playthrough, been up for 2 years, a million and a half views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR0l84gjEXg
Last year Nintendo made a program where Youtubers could sign up to be Nintendo partners, and in return they could keep somewhere around ~70% of the video ad revenue, but they also had some weird clauses.
Most people who do Nintendo game content do so while knowing that they are not going to be able to make ad revenue off of it. That is very well and fine for people who do it as a hobby, but some others do Youtube content for a living, and it's nonviable for them.
I don't have a particularly strong opinion on the subject, just wanted to let you know that it _is_ a thing.
I have a cable subscription as part of my apartment package - but I don't use it. I don't even have a TV. Internet and streaming only. I find that if I had TV I'd be much more passive and watch too much, now I watch SC2 but not as much as if I had TV. I spend a lot more time with edX and Coursera and watch lecture videos instead. If I had a TV it would be much harder to turn it off than a game stream. I like the smaller communities, watching a TV production I am much more of a passive anonymous consumer than even a (very big) 50,000 viewer stream on Twitch, and even though Twitch chat is notorious, at least it exists. And a lot of streamers and casters react to what is going on in chat at least sometimes, in traditional media I am much farther removed from the makers.
Of various streaming services I tried watching Twitch in the end provided the consistently best experience, these days up to 1080p60. That alone is not sufficient to know how much data is flowing though, the data rate can be very different even for streams with the same resolution and frame rate, so with the same advertised resolution one channel can be much more crisp than another one, but some people may experience occasional buffering issues.
I just checked, currently there are about 650,000 viewers total on Twitch, rough estimate just to get an idea of order of magnitude. More stats: https://www.quantcast.com/twitch.tv#trafficCard
You can change the period on the right, the earliest to set "From" to is 23 March, 2012, to get a view of how Twitch's viewers develop(ed) over time. When I look at the last 365 days it looks pretty flat. I'm not sure about the data though, for some reason the "Rest of the world" (other than USA) is pretty much gone from one day to the next beginning of 2016. Does anyone have an explanation? I doubt that the "rest of the world" stopped watching Twitch overnight.
Looking at https://stats.twitchapps.com/ it's the same result though - no real growth any more for at least the last 12 months. Unless that's based on the same data, I don't know.
I thought YouTube Gaming was going to muscle in to this space quickly just by virtue of technical superiority. It looks like that hasn't happened yet, but Twitch can't afford to get complacent.
the only limiting factor is the bitrate limit of 3500
Twitch's tech blows in every aspect imaginable. Shitty site, shitty flash, shitty mobile experience, shitty stream. It's a pity they have such a stronghold on streamers+viewers.
My startup is under 2 years old, in the same space, and with a much smaller team. We have solved almost all of the technical problems twitch faces, and even released many other features that Twitch is only now also working on.
We have regularly looked at this market and what keeps fueling twitch's success, and strictly speaking people go where the content is. It has NOTHING to do with the user experience of the product, nothing to do with the quality of the tech. If there are 500 people streaming the game you want to watch on twitch and 10 on another platform, the viewers stay on twitch.
Anyway, it is an interesting problem, and one that all competitors in this space are facing. And has clearly not pushed twitch out in any way.
Finally the self promotion if anyone is interested in our product: https://www.stream.me
Good UX is a bonus, can be useful for growth, competing with other products once the content is on a similar level, etc. However, yes, the content is the key, yes. People come for the content, not for some extra feature (and extra features often affect only a small percentage of the users).
A lot of those problems are a lot easier to solve with a smaller audience.
My point is, you haven't solved Twitch's problems at Twitch's scale.
All a team can really do is setup an architecture that can theoretically scale, and then adjust as you reach higher and higher levels.
FWIW, our site is actually a pivot after a product that reached a higher unique per day than twitch currently has (99th globally vs 63rd globally according to alexa.com). And I can say from experience that scaling a real-time experience is MUCH harder than a more traditional web app experience. But the techniques are much the same, reach the scale, see what breaks, fix.
Also, Highlights last forever
Potentially just an enormous new business for games.
I still can't get my head around it. It's like his version of cartoons.
It's entertaining watching how other people do things. They might play differently than how you would play it.
I don't really think this is the appeal
The idea is that Twitch viewership is correlated with Google searches - not that Google search is responsible for all Twitch traffic.
Even if a only a small percentage of Twitch users use Google search to access Twitch, the graph would be somewhat indicative of it's growth.
If 90% of new Twitch users reach Twitch over Google, 30% of one week old users and only 5% of one month old users, then a flat graph could actually indicate growth.
The nice thing about streaming is that you aren't channel limited, so there is no reason why you can't follow some obscure minor league team on the other side of the planet.
There is no way an online service puts up that kind of money considering something like 1/3 of Americans simply don't have high-speed internet access.
There is one company with the kind of money that might make sense -- Apple.
It would be a heck of a way for them to jumpstart a streaming service and make it only available on AppleTV.
Probably the biggest holdup would be the NFL itself, who makes sure those broadcast contracts reach the biggest number of people to keep their brand popular.
An example of a crazy moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrxXKK8oIyE
(He's not doing it full-time.)
AoE2 HD really got me back into PC gaming after a decade of only touching Wii/Wii U/mobile games. I'm not yet sure if it can drag me into watching Twitch, though.
Same with me about AoE2 HD, I hadn't played a PC game for years until I tried it. Now I'm hooked on both playing and spectating. The $30k Clan Masters tournament going on right now is insane.
Today they are "between games" though so the stream is just playing Pokemon Stadium in a loop
Big events/tournaments are basically like TV coverage of sports, with similar production values. Examples:
YouTubers that also do streams, personality is important. I personally find this kind often to slow and with to many interruptions, so I don't really watch them. But they are popular and seem to be a great way to make money (compared with just YouTube).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjCGn1wo4kQ (mostly strategy/simulation-type games, relatively small following -> interacts with subscribers a lot, names ingame-things after them ("hi $name! weren't you a dwarf that lost both arms once?").
EDIT: he is also streaming Ludum Dare this weekend, for another type of streaming content: https://www.twitch.tv/quill18
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uegnAQD1hRs (Minecraft player, relatively random pick)
There is also the category of competitive players streaming just playing (and since competitive play takes their attention, there is not much interaction with the audience. But you get to see how somebody really good at a game plays like and hear them explain their logic). Don't have good examples available though, since I don't play competitive games.
This weekend you can watch the LCS finals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_Legends_Championship...).
Winners will represent their region (North America and Europe) for the World in October (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_Legends_World_Champi...).
Visualise this: Imagine your favourite comedian cracking jokes, now imagine him cracking jokes while playing a video game. Now imagine a chat of thousands joining in and interacting with your favourite comedian. Now imagine yourself talking to and cracking jokes with them. This is, in essence what many popular streams are.
This is why I don't bother. I do like speedruns, and I watch some of the cinemassacre stuff on youtube since I do actually like watching those guys.
The GP is getting downvoted, so I guess a lot of people do enjoy watching games be played instead of playing them. Thank you for providing an explanation. As someone who does not enjoy it, it IS really difficult to understand.
- Mechanical Skill
It allows you to experience the story of a game or the experience of high skill play with little up-front cost or long-term commitment.
- competition broadcasting. With teams, pro players, sponsors, shoutcasters, analysts, interviews during the breaks, huge shows, stadiums and fans. It's like watching any "classic" sports on the TV. Can rise several hundreds of thousands of spectators (League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota 2 and Hearthstone mostly).
- player stream. Can be pro players during their training or just really really good players who stream all day as a job. On a personal note, I watch them because, as I said, they are really really good and the most popular of them are generally entertaining. The most popular have peaks at 5000-30000 spectators.
In the 2 cases, we talk about watching the best players in the world (may be 0.1% of the streamers). The rest of the streamers doesn't really have a public (friends and family probably).
I don't know what proportion of the whole each of the three makes up, but I would assume that the third category at least the very least merits a mention.
There are now plenty of people who enjoy watching but not playing games.
Game developers need revenue for this firstly because they deserve it, having made the entertainment, but secondly because former players are now just watchers and not paying money, reducing revenue.
My guess is that games developers will permit public display of a restricted part of the game, like level one only, and will require royalties for display of other sections of the game
There are some exceptions, of course. Nintendo are the big one (they have a truly draconian standard contract required to stream their games). But there's at most a handful of indie developers who are opposed to streaming. To the extent that it's actual news when it happens.
Which kinds of games do you think constitute the vast vast majority of Twitch viewership? Because it's not the type of games which have a "level one".
Restricting free expression isn't going to bring game developers more revenue, it's just going to increase piracy and damage the developers' reputation. Like it or not, this isn't something developers have any say in or control over.
If you have a multiplayer game and want to make some money from the streams, it would be smart to host your own tournament and sell ads through it rather than charging royalties. Otherwise, streamers are doing your product a huge favor through exposure.
Games like Dota2, Call of Duty, etc. require some strategy and will be a different experience each time (especially on multiplayers).
If you think about "Beyond two souls", well not that much.
On the other spectrum, you also have to consider copyright infringement and royalties as a problem on its own. Why should some individuals make money by reproducing the content (totally in some cases) without having to pay any royalties at all?
Am I allowed to stream the latest Star Wars with me in the corner making comments along?
Movie is passive and game is active, to some extent yes, but for how long can we disassociate both mediums in terms of IP?
Put yourself in the shoes of the game developer who puts everything on the line to develop a game that thousands of people watch but the developer gets no revenue for.
Has this _ever_ happened?
No people watch -> nothing happens -> nothing happens
I've found that the Apple TV is the only way I "get" YouTube in the same way the kids these days do. No way am I watching videos on my laptop/desktop/iPhone/iPad while multitasking, but video on the big TV is great when sitting on the couch or on in the background.
Twitch on the Apple TV would be similar, but it appears Amazon (as with Prime Video) is refusing to release an app.
Apple on the other hand doesn't support their video ITunes content on non apple devices.
Nothing wrong with these speculations. At least they are positive and much better than recession or bubble is coming like BS rumors.
source - http://finance.yahoo.com/news/chamath-palihapitiya-says-amaz...
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