Twitch or is a live streaming video platform focused on e-sports and video gaming.[2] The website was launched in June 2011 by co-founders Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, as a subsidiary of focused on gaming related content.[2] According to internal analytics, there are over 35 million viewers on Twitch every month, with the average viewer watching an hour and a half a day.
When launched in 2007, the site was divided into several content categories. The gaming category grew especially fast, and became the most popular content on the site.[6] The company then decided to spin off the gaming content as Twitch.TV, inspired by the term twitch gameplay. It launched officially in public beta on June 6, 2011.[7] Since then, Twitch has attracted more than 35 million unique visitors a month.[5] Twitch is headquartered in San Francisco. On May 1, 2012, Twitch won a Webby Award called the “Webby People’s Voice Award” in the games-related category.[8]
Twitch has been supported by significant investments of venture capital, including an 8 million USD investment in 2007,[9] an additional 15 million in 2012,[10] and 20 million in 2013.[11] Especially since the shutdown of its direct competitor in early 2013, Twitch has become the most popular e-sports streaming service by a large margin, leading some to conclude that the website has a “near monopoly on the market”.[12]
Content and audience
Twitch is designed to be a platform for real-time coverage of electronic sports. This includes coverage of large esports tournaments, personal streams of individual players, and gaming-related talk shows.[13] Popular genres include real-time strategy games, fighting games, racing games, and first-person shooter games, among others. Popular titles on the site as of October 2013 include League of Legends, Dota 2, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, World of Tanks, SimCity (2013 video game) and Diablo III. The Twitch homepage currently displays games based on viewership. The typical viewer is predominately male and aged between 18 and 34 years of age.[14] However, TwitchTV is looking to expand their viewers, including attracting more female gamers. To achieve this, one of the proposed goals is to increase the kind and types of games people come to spectate.[3]
In July 2011, Twitch launched its Partner Program,[15] which has reached 4,000 members.[5] Similar to the Partner Program of other video sites like YouTube, the Partner Program allows popular content producers to share in the ad revenue generated from their streams. Some of the more widely known partners include Electronic Sports League, Day[9]TV, Major League Gaming, and North American Star League.
Advertising on the site has been handled by a number of partners. In 2011, Twitch had an exclusive deal with Future US.[16] On April 17, 2012, it was announced that Twitch announced a deal to give CBS Interactive the rights to exclusively sell advertising, promotions and sponsorships for the community.[17][14] On June 5, 2013, Twitch announced the formation of the Twitch Media Group, a new in-house ad sales team which has take over CBS Interactive’s role of selling advertisements.[5]
Platform support
Twitch is available as a mobile app on the iOS and Android platforms. Key features include viewing Twitch’s streaming content in high definition and in landscape view. It offers a browsing option of the top streamers. Users can browse by game title or featured games. The app also allows users to follow their favorite channels. In the iOS version, there is also an in-app chatting feature which allows viewers to chat with other viewers.[18]
In November 2012, Twitch announced a deal with Electronic Arts to allow video streaming to Twitch directly from EA’s Origin software.[19] In 2013, Twitch released a software development kit to allow any developer to integrate Twitch streaming into their software.[20]
Currently, Twitch does not support viewing streams on the PlayStation 3, but does on the Xbox 360 and Ouya with a dedicated app. However, Twitch is hoping to change this in the near future by providing its app across all gaming consoles.[3] In 2013, both Microsoft and Sony announced partnerships with Twitch to allow users to stream and view streams on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.