Video streaming platforms were always popular with internet users since their inception.
However, there has recently been an unprecedented surge in popularity of such streaming platforms due to the entry of exciting new players.
Video sharing on the internet was taken to an all new level by YouTube when it was introduced. Video sharing is a multi-million dollar industry as the founders of YouTube had understood long before any of us realized it was possible.
One can share any video even from home on such platforms, and people from all over the globe can view them. Videos can range from sports to fitness; from cooking to art and from music to even video games.
Live video game streaming is trending
Video games, now, are a massive attraction for youngsters around the world, and the fact that one can play video games professionally has the youth of this generation hooked to gaming.
The old horses of the gaming world, such as Call of Duty and Counter-Strike, are still going strong, while the entry of PUBG and Fortnite has breathed fresh life into the gaming industry, and the surge in popularity of video games isn’t likely to die down anytime soon.
Twitch.tv heralded a new era of live video game streaming which gave birth, over time, to other similar platforms, chief among which is YouTube Gaming, launched in 2015 to compete with Twitch.
The big five players
This game of cat and mouse that the newer platforms are engaged in with older platforms has led to the evolution of the way video games are watched and shared around the world.
Innovations in this area continue to be made, and here are some of the major players who are continuously redefining rules and changing the way this game is played.
- Ustream rechristened IBM Cloud Video on April 1st, 2017, is another American video broadcasting platform which has been used by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton among others.
- Mixer is an impressive live streaming platform gamers and is giving both Twitch and YouTube a run for their money.
- Facebook Gaming(Level Up) is the newest entrant in this arena and is meant to compete with Twitch and Mixer.
|Platform||Parent Company||Launch Date|
|Twitch||Amazon||June 6, 2011|
|YouTube Gaming||February 14, 2005|
|Mixer||Microsoft||January 5, 2016|
|Facebook Gaming||January 26, 2018|
|Ustream||IBM||March 1, 2007|
How do the five platforms stack up against each other?
Now let’s compare these different video streaming platforms to understand what separates them from one another and makes each one of them unique.
The comparison has been made based on several factors such as owner, supported languages, system requirements, type of content being broadcasted, subscription requirements, and fees.
While most of the platforms are free to visit and sign in to, some require paid subscriptions to either the platform or the channels on the platform. Subscription to channels is optional on some of these platforms. User statistics across the various video streaming platforms allowed us to make a comparative study of the different platforms and how traffic flows in each of them.
Some platforms are more popular than others, and the number of average daily visits gives a fair idea of the volume of traffic on these sites. We have also discussed the most followed streamers on each of these platforms as well as the average active streamers.
Type of Content Streamed
The content type is not limited to just video games with the exceptions of YouTube Gaming and Level Up, which had been specifically designed, by their respective mother platforms, for video game streaming.
Twitch, even though it hosts all sorts of videos, is mostly used for video game streams. Mixer too focuses on live video game streaming, although it identifies itself as a video streaming service.
Ustream’s contents are not restricted to live video games, and the platform features a wide range of live videos from politics to sports, and even live videos from NASA’s ISS (International Space Station). Podcasts are also regularly streamed on these platforms, and game related discussions draw a considerable number of viewers.
Twitch supports 29 languages which include more than 10 European languages, Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and quite a few Asian languages as well.
YouTube supports a very large number of languages, thanks to Google’s global reach, with nearly 100 languages supported.
IBM leads tops the list in this section with an astounding over 100 languages supported on its platform.
Mixer currently supports 21 languages, but they will be expanding that list in the future.
All standard systems are supported by these platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Mixer is additionally integrated into Windows 10 and Xbox One, making it an even bigger hit with gamers than it already was.
Android and iOS apps offered by Mixer, IBM, YouTube, and Facebook, allow streamers to stream using their mobile devices or a certified broadcasting device, apart from your PC.
Mixer lets you stream mobile gameplay, which is a huge bonus for mobile gamers. However, make sure that you have at least the Windows 10 Spring collector update for Mixer to run correctly.
Registration is optional on all of the sites and not required to watch videos. However, registration is needed to upload videos or to stream live content.
Sign in to Mixer by using your Microsoft account for free. If you are a Windows user, then you already have one. Create one by heading over to outlook.live.com if you don’t have one.
Signing in to YouTube and uploading videos is free of cost as well.
Twitch is also free to sign up and use. To subscribe to channels on Twitch, you will have to pay $4.99 per month.
IBM Cloud Videos offer a free trial for 30 days with access to advanced broadcasting features. You can stream to at most five concurrent viewers without ads. To reach a larger audience, you need to subscribe to a paid plan. Monthly plans start from $99 and go up to $999 and are divided into three categories, namely Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
To know more about IBM Cloud Videos plans, head over to their “Compare pricing & options” page.
|Platform||Total Visits||Referrals Visits||Average Duration (approx.)|
|Twitch||842 million||1.53%||6 minutes|
|YouTube Gaming||25 billion||1.36%||21 minutes|
|Mixer||18 million||3.66%||3 minutes|
|Facebook Gaming||22 million||2.98%||12 minutes|
|Ustream||4.14 million||7.35%||2 minutes|
Average concurrent views
Twitch boasts of an average of 15 million daily active users, out of which 27,000 are Twitch partners. The average concurrent viewers of Twitch increased from 788k, in the fourth quarter of 2017, to 953k in the first quarter of 2018.
Mixer, meanwhile, has 10 million daily active users. Facebook grew meanwhile to reach 56k average concurrent views, and Mixer recorded an amazing 90% rise to nearly 10k. Mixer’s average concurrent viewers are likely to be much higher as most of its viewership is on Xbox One. Information of viewership on Xbox is hard to track and thus not available.
YouTube Gaming, in the same period, saw its average concurrent viewers drop from 308k to 272k.
Most popular streamer or channel
Ninja is the most well-known Twitch streamer, with more than 12 million followers on his channel. He is mostly known for his gameplay of Fortnite and PUBG, which draws nearly 60,000 views per stream on an average. Ninja also plays Halo and H1Z1 when he is not playing Fortnite.
He shot to instant fame, in early 2018, five years after joining Twitch, by hosting Drake for a game of Fortnite. He earns around $500,000 a month from his Twitch channel alone. When totaled with the additional income from sponsorships, ad revenue, and donations his yearly income crosses the 5 million dollar mark.
Mixer sets itself apart from the other platforms because of it being integrated into Xbox One. It is, thus, no wonder that Xbox is the most followed channel, on Mixer, with 412,588 followers. Several games are streamed on this channel, currently prime among which is Battlefield V.
PewDiePie is the most popular gamer on YouTube, and his subscriber count currently stands at 96 million. He is one of the highest earning YouTubers with his channel reportedly generating over $12 million each year. This guy plays a lot of games, and you will be spoilt for choice once you visit his channel. He, however, is famous amongst his followers because of his comic take on everyday things and his playthrough of horror based video games, such as Rise of Nightmares, Silent Hill and Amnesia- the Dark Descent.
Facebook’s Level Up has recently just entered the gaming scene, and the most popular streamer currently is Darkness429. Darkness429 mainly plays Fortnite now but used to divide his time between PUBG, Battleground, and Halo earlier. He also has a Twitch channel by the same name. Data on his monthly income is unavailable, and no estimate could be made.
Ustream is home to a large variety of content among which live feed from the ISS (International Space Station) seems to draw the most views. The live stream from the ISS is a spectacle to behold and one which you will not want to miss out on. NASA TV is also quite popular among visitors to this platform.
The quarterly active streamers per platform have been calculated from October to December in 2018, which is the 4th quarter.
Twitch leads the race by a large margin with 814k streamers on average. Next on the list is YouTube which had 293k streamers during the same period. Facebook and Mixer follow with 27.5k and 15.8k quarterly average streamers, respectively.
So these are some of the factors separating one platform from another. If you are an occasional gamer or one who plays as a hobby, then any of the above five platforms will work for you.
On the other hand, if you are an avid or a professional gamer, then you might want to look into the specific features, which each platform has to offer, by visiting their respective websites.
The IBM cloud video platform uses Artificial Intelligence by the name of Watson, to run its sophisticated broadcasting platform. The platform requires you to download their streaming software from their website, which you will have to use to stream videos.
Most streamers prefer OBS, or Open Broadcaster Software, a free open source streaming program on Twitch, YouTube and Mixer.
Mixer, being integrated both into Windows 10 and Xbox One, lets you upload streams directly from your console.