The battle for the top live streaming platform is heating up, with YouTube now entering into the mix.
Earlier today, Professional gamer and influencer Jack “CouRage” Dunlop announced he'll be leaving Twitch to stream on YouTube exclusively. Dunlop, who began his career in esports as a Call of Duty caster for Major League Gaming (MLG) before leaving to stream full-time in March 2018, is scheduled to debut on YouTube tomorrow (Nov. 5th). Dunlop leaves behind a Twitch platform with 2.1 million followers that had garnered over 37 million stream views and over 271 million video views.
In a statement obtained by Variety, Dunlop states, “This deal with YouTube allows me to create more content and engage with my fans in real-time. I am very fortunate to do what I do on a daily basis and welcome my fans to join me on the next phase of my journey”.
The Next Chapter...
— Jack “CouRage” Dunlop (@CouRageJD) November 4, 2019
YouTube Joins in the Streaming Battle
The acquisition of Dunlop represents YouTube’s desire to compete with Twitch and Mixer in the lucrative streaming service space. This news — along with Mixer’s recent exclusivity deals involving Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek — has blown open a space in which Twitch once essentially had a monopoly over. While the loss of Blevins, Grzesiek and their followers (21 million combined,) certainly left a larger dent in Twitch, Dunlop’s 2.1 million followers are nothing to scoff at.
This appears to be just the beginning of heated competition between the Amazon-owned Twitch, Microsoft’s Mixer, and Google’s YouTube. Much of this comes at the hands of Loaded; the digital talent management company that represents Blevins, Grzesiek, Dunlop and other top streamers. Rod “Slasher” Breslau, the esports insider that broke the news of Dunlop’s move to YouTube early, claims that all of Loaded’s clients are in negotiations with other streaming platforms. Or they've already signed deals to stay at Twitch. He expects announcements from additional streamers represented by Loaded in the near future. Ryan “Fwiz” Wyatt, Global Head of Gaming and VR at YouTube, said on Twitter that YouTube is investing heavily into on-platform creators and that “there will be more to come”.
The Future of Streaming Sites
With Mixer and YouTube looking intent on stealing a piece of the massive market share Twitch has historically held for themselves, many are wondering what Twitch has planned in response. Twitch has had no real competition up until recently. And with that, no reason to shell out money for exclusivity deals. Now, the top streamers on their platform are leaving quickly in deals suspected to be worth tens of millions. While Twitch is still doing fine in terms of viewership numbers, they may be forced to give out similar deals soon — if they want to keep their foothold in the live streaming space. If Twitch remains complacent, they may end up leaving a path for Mixer and YouTube to take their spot as the go-to for video game live streams.
Every time a creator leaves Twitch for another platform, a more convincing case is made for the creators who remain to consider a platform change. Along with the incentive of a lucrative exclusivity deal, every big-name creator that switches platforms brings with them fans and subscribers. The more viewers that switch platforms, the easier it will become for a streamer to make the move away from Twitch.
The End of Twitch's Monopoly
Gone are the days of Twitch being the only option for video game live streams. It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks and months what other streamers Mixer and YouTube can pry away from Twitch — and in return, how Twitch decides to respond. This is an exciting time to be a fan. The increase in competition will certainly lead to improvements on all three of these platforms.
This appears to be just the beginning of a lengthy battle between three of the biggest tech companies in the world. The grand prize will be ownership of the #1 streaming service in the fruitful gaming space. As Twitter user, Brandon Ross wrote, “Forget Netflix vs. Disney vs. HBO. The new ‘Streaming Wars’ are Twitch vs. YouTube vs. Mixer”.