Twitch is a live streaming video platform owned by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon. Introduced in June 2011 as a spin-off of the general-interest streaming platform, Justin.tv, the site primarily focuses on video game live streaming, including broadcasts of eSports competitions, in addition to music broadcasts, creative content, and more recently, "in real life" streams. Content on the site can be viewed either live or via video on demand.
The popularity of Twitch eclipsed that of its general-interest counterpart. In October 2013, the website had 45 million unique viewers,:38 and by February 2014, it was considered the fourth largest source of peak Internet traffic in the United States. At the same time, Justin.tv's parent company was re-branded as Twitch Interactive to represent the shift in focus – Justin.tv was shut down in August 2014. That month, the service was acquired by Amazon for US$970 million, which later led to the introduction of synergies with the company's subscription service Amazon Prime. Twitch later acquired Curse, an operator of online video gaming communities and introduced means to purchase games through links on streams along with a program allowing streamers to receive commissions on the sales of games that they play.
By 2015, Twitch had more than 1.5 million broadcasters and 100 million viewers per month. As of Q3 2017, Twitch remained the leading live streaming video service for video games in the US, and had an advantage over YouTube Gaming. As of May 2018, it had 2.2 million broadcasters monthly and 15 million daily active users, with around a million average concurrent users. Furthermore, it had over 27,000 Twitch partner channels (May 2018).
Type of site
|Live streaming, streaming video|
|Alexa rank||30 (December 2018)|
|Launched||June 6, 2011|
|Emmett Shear (CEO)|
Sara Clemens (COO)
|Owner||Take-Two Interactive (2%) (2011-2014)|
Number of employees
|1000+ (March 2018)|
When Justin.tv was launched in 2007 by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, the site was divided into several content categories. The gaming category grew especially fast, and became the most popular content on the site. In June 2011,:40 the company 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. Since then, Twitch has attracted more than 35 million unique visitors a month. Twitch had about 80 employees in June 2013, which increased to 100 by December 2013. The company was headquartered in San Francisco's Financial District.
Twitch has been supported by significant investments of venture capital, with US$15 million in 2012 (on top of US$7 million originally raised for Justin.tv), and US$20 million in 2013. Investors during three rounds of fund raising leading up to the end of 2013 included Draper Associates, Bessemer Venture Partners and Thrive Capital.:40 In addition to the influx of venture funding, it was believed in 2013 that the company had become profitable.:40
Especially since the shutdown of its direct competitor Own3d.tv 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". Competing video services, such as YouTube and Dailymotion, began to increase the prominence of their gaming content to compete, but have had a much smaller impact so far. As of mid-2013, there were over 43 million viewers on Twitch monthly, with the average viewer watching an hour and a half a day. As of February 2014, Twitch is the fourth largest source of Internet traffic during peak times in the United States, behind Netflix, Google, and Apple. Twitch makes up 1.8% of total US Internet traffic during peak periods.
In late 2013, particularly due to increasing viewership, Twitch had issues with lag and low frame rates in Europe. Twitch has subsequently added new servers in the region. Also in order to address these problems, Twitch implemented a new video system shown to be more efficient than the previous system. Initially, the new video system was criticised by users because it caused a significant stream delay, interfering with broadcaster-viewer interaction. Twitch staff said that the increased delay was likely temporary and at the time, was an acceptable tradeoff for the decrease in buffering.
On February 10, 2014, Twitch's parent company Justin.tv, Inc. was renamed Twitch Interactive, reflecting the increased prominence of the service over Justin.tv as the company's main business. That same month, a stream known as Twitch Plays Pokémon, a crowdsourced attempt to play Pokémon Red using a system translating chat commands into game controls, went viral. By February 17, the channel reached over 6.5 million total views and averaged concurrent viewership between 60 and 70 thousand viewers with at least 10% participating. Vice President of Marketing Matthew DiPietro praised the stream as "one more example of how video games have become a platform for entertainment and creativity that extends WAY beyond the original intent of the game creator. By merging a video game, live video and a participatory experience, the broadcaster has created an entertainment hybrid custom made for the Twitch community. This is a wonderful proof of concept that we hope to see more of in the future." Beginning with its 2014 edition, Twitch was made the official live streaming platform of the Electronic Entertainment Expo.
On August 5, 2014, the original Justin.tv site suddenly ceased operations, citing a need to focus resources entirely on Twitch. On August 6, 2014, Twitch introduced an updated archive system, with multi-platform access to highlights from past broadcasts by a channel, higher quality video, increased server backups, and a new Video Manager interface for managing past broadcasts and compiling "highlights" from broadcasts that can also be exported to YouTube. Due to technological limitations and resource requirements, the new system contained several regressions; the option to archive complete broadcasts on an indefinite basis ("save forever") was removed, meaning that they can only be retained for a maximum of 14 days, or 60 for partners and Turbo subscribers. While compiled highlights can be archived indefinitely, they were limited to two hours in length. Additionally, all on-demand videos became subject to acoustic fingerprinting using software provided by Audible Magic; if copyrighted music (particularly, songs played by users from outside of the game they are playing) is detected, the 30-minute portion of the video which contains the music will be muted. Live broadcasts are not subject to these filters.
The audio filtering system, along with the lack of communication surrounding the changes in general, proved to be controversial among users. In particular, users felt that the new filtering system was too inaccurate, flagged music played within games themselves, and voiced concerns that it could affect the service's ability to present footage from games which notably include large amounts of licensed music, such as the Grand Theft Auto series. The change also drew comparisons to the similar policies employed by YouTube—especially given the rumours surrounding Google's bid to purchase the service. In a Reddit AMA, co-founder Emmett Shear admitted that his staff had "screwed up" and should have provided advance warning of the changes, and promised that Twitch had "absolutely no intention" of implementing audio filtering on live broadcasts. On August 7, 2014, the 2-hour length limit on highlights was again removed, and an appeals process was added for flagged audio contained within on-demand recordings. In January 2015, to further rectify these issues, Twitch introduced a royalty-free music library featuring tracks from various independent labels cleared for use in streams.
On August 25, 2014, Amazon acquired Twitch Interactive for US$970 million. Sources reported that the rumoured Google deal had fallen through and allowed Amazon to make the bid, with Forbes reporting that Google had backed out of the deal due to potential antitrust concerns surrounding it and its existing ownership of YouTube. The acquisition closed on September 25, 2014. Take-Two Interactive, which owned a 2% stake at the time of the acquisition, made a windfall of $22 million.
Twitch is now operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com with Emmett Shear remaining as CEO. Shear touted the Amazon Web Services platform as an "attractive" aspect of the deal, and that Amazon had "built relationships with the big players in media", which could be used to the service's advantage—particularly in the realm of content licensing. The purchase of Twitch marked the third recent video gaming–oriented acquisition by Amazon, which had previously acquired the developers Reflexive Entertainment and Double Helix Games.
On December 9, 2014, Twitch announced it had acquired GoodGame Agency, an organisation that owns the eSports teams Evil Geniuses and Alliance. In March 2015, Twitch reset all user passwords and disabled all connections to external Twitter and YouTube accounts after the service reported that someone had gained "unauthorised access" to the user information of some Twitch users.
In June 2016, Twitch added a new feature known as "Cheering", a special form of emoticon purchased as a microtransaction using an in-site currency known as "Bits". Bits are bought using Amazon Payments, and cheers act as donations to the channel. Users also earn badges within a channel based on how much they have cheered.
On August 16, 2016, Twitch acquired Curse, Inc., an operator of online video gaming communities and gaming-oriented VoIP software. In December 2016, GoodGame Agency was divested by Amazon to their respective members due to conflict of interest concerns. On September 30, 2016, Twitch announced Twitch Prime, a service which provides premium features that are exclusive to users who have an active Amazon Prime subscription. This includes advertising-free streaming, monthly offers of free add-on content ("Game Loot"), and game discounts.
In December 2016, Twitch announced a semi-automated chat moderation tool, which uses natural language processing and machine learning to set aside potentially unwanted content for human review. In February 2017, Twitch announced that it would allow users to purchase games through the service via the Twitch Game Store, with major launch partners such as Paradox Interactive, Telltale Games, and Ubisoft. Links to purchase an eligible game were displayed within Twitch's browsing interface, and partners could opt to display a purchase button on their stream when an eligible game is being played. If a game was bought via a stream's purchase link, the respective channel received a 5% commission on the sale. Users also received a "Twitch Crate" on every purchase, which includes Bits and a collection of random emotes.
Twitch and Blizzard Entertainment signed a two-year deal in June 2017 to make Twitch be the exclusive streaming broadcaster of select Blizzard eSports championship events, with viewers under Twitch Prime earning special rewards in various Blizzard games. Twitch also reached a deal in 2018 to be the streaming partner of the Overwatch League, with the site also offering an "All-Access Pass" with exclusive content, emotes, and in-game items for Overwatch.
In August 2017, Twitch announced it had acquired video indexing platform ClipMine.
On August 20, 2018, Twitch announced that it will no longer offer advertising-free access to the entire service to Amazon Prime subscribers, with this privilege requiring the separate "Twitch Turbo" subscription or an individual channel subscription. This privilege ended for new customers effective September 14, 2018, and for existing customers October 2018.
In October 2018, Twitch announced Amazon Blacksmith, a new extension allowing broadcasters to configure displays of products associated with their streams with Amazon affiliate links. On November 27, 2018, Twitch discontinued the Game Store service, citing that it did not generate as much additional revenue for partners as they hoped, and new revenue opportunities such as Amazon Blacksmith. Users retain access to their purchased games.
Twitch is designed to be a platform for content, including eSports sports tournaments, personal streams of individual players, and gaming-related talk shows. A number of channels do live speedrunning. The Twitch homepage currently displays games based on viewership. The typical viewer is male and aged between 18 and 34 years of age, although the site has also made attempts at pursuing other demographics, including women. As of June 2018 some of the most popular games streamed on Twitch are Fortnite, League of Legends, Dota 2, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Hearthstone, Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with a combined total of over 356 million hours watched.
Twitch has also made expansions into non-gaming content; such as in July 2013, the site streamed a performance of 'Fester's Feast' from San Diego Comic-Con, and on July 30, 2014, electronic dance music act Steve Aoki broadcast a live performance from a nightclub in Ibiza. In January 2015, Twitch introduced an official category for music streams, such as radio shows and music production activities, and in March 2015, announced that it would become the new official live streaming partner of the Ultra Music Festival, an electronic music festival in Miami.
On October 28, 2015, Twitch launched a second non-gaming category, "Creative", which is intended for streams showcasing the creation of artistic and creative works. To promote the launch, the service also streamed an eight-day marathon of Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting. In July 2016, Twitch launched "Social eating" as a beta; it was inspired by the Korean phenomenon of Muk-bang and Korean players having engaged in the practice as intermissions on their gaming streams.
In March 2017, Twitch added an "IRL" category, which is designed for content within Twitch guidelines that does not fall within any of the other established categories on the site (such as lifelogs).
In May 2017, Twitch did a livestream marathon of all the episodes of the PBS Kids show, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. They repeated the marathon on March 20 to honor what would have been Fred Rogers' 90th Birthday.
Broadcasters on Twitch often host streams promoting and raising money towards charity. By 2013, the website has hosted events which, in total, raised over US$8 million in donations for charitable causes, such as Extra Life 2013. As of 2017 the website has raised over US$75 million in donations for charitable causes.
In December 2017, the National Basketball Association announced that it would stream NBA G League games on Twitch starting on December 15; the broadcasts also include interactive statistics overlays, as well as additional streams of the games with commentary by Twitch personalities. In April 2018, it was announced that Twitch would carry eleven National Football League Thursday Night Football games, as part of the league's renewed streaming deal with Amazon Prime Video. During the 2017 season, these streams were exclusive to Amazon Prime subscribers.
Twitch has also explicitly banned specific games from streaming, regardless of rating; this includes games such as BMX XXX, eroge visual novel games (such as Dramatical Murder), HuniePop, Rinse and Repeat, Second Life, and Yandere Simulator. The banning of Yandere Simulator was criticized by YandereDev, the developer of the game. He believed that the game was being arbitrarily singled out with no explanation, as Twitch has not banned other games with similarly excessive sexual or violent content such as Mortal Kombat X, Grand Theft Auto, or The Witcher 3.
Twitch features a large number of emoticons called "emotes". There are emotes free for all users, emotes for Turbo users, emotes for Twitch Prime users, and emotes for users who are subscribed to Twitch partners or affiliates. Kappa is the most used emote on Twitch. Twitch partnered broadcasters unlock more "emote slots" as they gain more subscribers up to a maximum of 50 emotes per channel.
Similar to the Partner Program of other video sites like YouTube, the Partner Program allows popular content producers to share in the advertisement revenue generated from their streams. Additionally, Twitch users can subscribe to partnered streamers' channels for US$4.99 a month, often granting the user access to unique emoticons, live chat privileges, and other various perks. Twitch retains US$2.49 of every US$4.99 channel subscription, with the remaining US$2.50 going directly to the partnered streamer. Although exceptions were made, Twitch previously required that prospective partners have an "average concurrent viewership of 500+", as well as a consistent streaming schedule of at least three days a week. However, since the launch of the 'Achievements' feature, there is a clearer "Path to Partnership" with trackable goals for concurrent viewership, duration and frequency of streams.
In April 2017, Twitch launched its "Affiliate Program" that allows smaller channels to generate revenue as well, also announcing that it would allow channels access to multi-priced subscription tiers. The participants of this program get some but not all of the benefits of the Twitch Partners. Streamers can make profit from cheering with Bits which are purchasable from Twitch directly. Affiliates are also able to access the Twitch Subscriptions feature, with all the same functionality that Partners have access to, alongside one subscribe emote. Affiliates are currently unable to receive revenue from ads, but Twitch has stated their plan to introduce this functionality in the future.
Advertising on the site has been handled by a number of partners. In 2011, Twitch had an exclusive deal with Future US. On April 17, 2012, Twitch announced a deal to give CBS Interactive the rights to exclusively sell advertising, promotions and sponsorships for the community. On June 5, 2013, Twitch announced the formation of the Twitch Media Group, a new in-house advertisement sales team which has taken over CBS Interactive's role of selling advertisements.
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear has stated a desire to support a wide variety of platforms, stating that they wanted to be on "every platform where people watch video". Twitch streaming apps are available for mobile devices and video game consoles, including Android and iOS, as well as PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 video game consoles.
Users can stream to Twitch from PC, Mac, or Linux operating systems, either with stand-alone software like Open Broadcaster Software, through a platform like EA's Origin software, Ubisoft's Uplay, or Valve's Steam. Games such as Eve Online, PlanetSide 2 and the Call of Duty franchise now link directly to Twitch as well.:40 In 2013, Twitch released a software development kit to allow any developer to integrate Twitch streaming into their software.
The Twitch Desktop software replaced the Curse Client and Curse Launcher in 2017. It features functionality similar to the Twitch website itself, as well as functions inherited from the Curse software, such as mod installation and management for supported games via the CurseForge service, and voice chat.
TwitchCon is a fan convention devoted to Twitch and the culture of video game streaming. The inaugural event was held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from September 25–26, 2015. Since its inception TwitchCon has been an annual event. The second TwitchCon was held in San Diego at the San Diego Convention Center from September 30 – October 2, 2016. The third annual TwitchCon was held in Long Beach at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center from October 20–22, 2017. The fourth annual TwitchCon was held at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, from October 26–28, 2018.
Twitch is often used for video game tutorials; the nature of Twitch allows mass numbers of learners to interact with each other and the instructor in real time. Twitch is also used for software development learning, with communities of users streaming programming projects and talking through their work.
Call of Duty Championship 2016 was a Call of Duty: Black Ops III on Playstation 4 tournament that occurred on September 1–4, 2016.
It was won by Team EnVyUs with a team consisting of Austin "SlasheR" Liddicoat, Bryan "Apathy" Zhelyazkov, Johnathon "John" Perez, and Jordan "JKap" Kaplan.The tournament was livestreamed online on Twitch.tv.Call of Duty Championship 2017
The Call of Duty Championship 2017 was a Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare tournament on Playstation 4 that occurred on August 9–13, 2017.
The tournament was won by OpTic Gaming with a team consisting of Seth "Scump" Abner, Matthew "FormaL" Piper, Ian "Crimsix" Porter and Damon "Karma" Barlow.The tournament was livestreamed online on Twitch.tv, YouTube and MLG.tv.ESL (company)
ESL, formerly known as Electronic Sports League, is an esports organizer and production company that produces video game competitions worldwide. ESL is the world's largest esports company, and the oldest that is still operational. Based in Cologne, Germany, ESL has eleven offices and multiple international TV studios globally. ESL is the largest esports company to broadcast on Twitch.tv.FPSRussia
FPSRussia is a popular YouTube and Twitch.tv channel featuring firearms and explosives. The videos are hosted by Kyle Lamar Myers, an American born in Lavonia, Georgia, USA, playing the role of Dmitri Potapoff, a heavily accented Russian from Moscow. Each video on the channel generally has Myers explaining the characteristics of the weapons he will use in that video (occasionally telling the history behind it and sometimes explanations of its purpose), before he demonstrates their abilities on targets such as fruits, drink bottles, zombie targets, and photos of Justin Bieber in his earlier videos. The FPSRussia channel reached the 1 million subscriber mark in June 2011. As of 18th November 2018, his channel has garnered over 6.5 million subscribers. Myers has used largely varying pieces of equipment along with weapons that have been featured in his videos such as a golden AK-47, an armored troop carrier, a .50BMG rifle, and a Bofors 40 mm automatic anti-aircraft cannon. Myers ceased producing new videos in 2016.Fighting game community
The fighting game community is a collective of video gamers who play fighting games such as Street Fighter, Tekken, Marvel vs. Capcom, Super Smash Bros, and Soulcalibur. The fighting game community started out small in the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s referred to as the grassroots era, but it has grown to a larger scale in the 2010s, with many tournaments being held across the world. This is predominately due to the rise of eSports and digitized viewing habits on live streaming sites such as Twitch.tv.Hearthstone in esports
Blizzard Entertainment's online collectable card game Hearthstone became played professionally quickly after its release in March 2014. The game is played as an eSport, with high-level tournaments such as Blizzard's official World Championship featuring prize pool of up to $1 million, and livestreamers can make a living streaming gameplay on Twitch.tv.Hitbox.tv
Hitbox.tv was a live-streaming eSports video game website launched in October 2013. It was a competitor to Twitch.tv. It was acquired by Azubu, and then became Smashcast.tv.House of Hardcore
House of Hardcore (HOH) is an American wrestling promotion founded by professional wrestler Tommy Dreamer. Its slogan is "No Politics, No BS, Just Wrestling." In its history, HOH has run events in eleven states and three countries.Jaime Staples
Jaime Staples (born May 27, 1991) also known by his alias Jimmy is a Canadian poker player from Alberta, Canada who specializes in live streaming of online multi-table tournaments on Twitch.tv. With over 112,000 followers on Twitch Jaime is one of the biggest poker streamers, behind Jason Somerville, in 2016. He primarily plays on PokerStars and became a 'Friend of PokerStars' in April 2015. Since joining PokerMarket in October 2015 he regularly sells action for tournaments he streams on Twitch.tv.As of 2015, his total live tournament winnings exceed $9,000 and his online tournament net cashes exceed $550,000.
He also specializes in holding auctions for his online poker action, many times reaching 2.5x markup or higher.List of Super Mario speedrunning records
The Super Mario video game franchise is a series of platforming video games developed and published by Nintendo. Having gone on to be the best selling video game franchise, the Mario franchise has gained immense popularity in pop culture as a symbol of video games. The speedruning community has attempted completion of Super Mario games as quickly as possible, and have set world records for the completion time of these games.Live streaming
Live streaming refers to online streaming media simultaneously recorded and broadcast in real time to the viewer. It is often simply referred to as streaming.Live stream services encompass a wide variety of topics, from social media to video games. Platforms such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Kuaishou, and 17 include the streaming of scheduled promotions and celebrity events as well as streaming between users, as in videotelephony. Sites such as Twitch.tv have become popular outlets for watching people play video games, such as in eSports, Let's Play-style gaming, or speedrunning.
User interaction via chat rooms forms a major component of live streaming. Platforms often include the ability to talk to the broadcaster or participate in conversations in chat. An extreme example of viewer interfacing is the social experiment Twitch Plays Pokémon, where viewers collaborate to complete Pokémon games by typing in commands that correspond to controller inputs.Power Rangers Hyperforce
Power Rangers Hyperforce (stylized as HyperForce) is an interactive live-streamed tabletop role-playing game web series from Saban Brands and Hyper RPG based on the long-running American children's television program Power Rangers. The show was announced at TwitchCon 2017 and premiered on October 24, 2017, on Hyper RPG's Twitch.tv live-streaming channel and includes members of the Power Rangers franchise along with other Internet personalities. It is overseen by Malika Lim as Game Master. Power Rangers Hyperforce is published on Hyper RPG's Twitch.tv live-streaming channel and YouTube channel. Power Rangers Hyperforce is also published in an audio podcast format by Hyper RPG through SoundCloud, Google Play, iTunes and Spotify. Rangers from past seasons of Power Rangers will guest star occasionally, including Erin Cahill (of Power Rangers Time Force). Hyper RPG developed a Twitch extension that allows viewers of the show to select a Ranger from the show and tie that Ranger to their unique ID. They are then able to send the Ranger on daily missions, boss battles, and raids. Currently one season consisting of 25 episodes is planned.Shroud (video game player)
Michael Grzesiek (born June 2, 1994), professionally known as shroud, is a Polish-Canadian Twitch streamer and former professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) player. He is known for playing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty Black Ops 4: Blackout, Rainbow Six Siege and more recently Apex Legends. .Smite World Championship 2016
The Smite World Championship 2016 was the second annual world championship for the multiplayer online battle arena video game Smite. It was held from January 7–10, 2016, and featured tournaments for both the PC and Xbox One versions of the game. The event was streamed on twitch.tv on the SMITE Game TV account. The total prize pool for the PC tournament was $1 million USD.The PC tournament was won by the European organization Epsilon eSports, with a roster consisting of Dimi, Adapting, Yammyn, iRaffer and emilitoo.The Xbox One tournament was won by the American organization Team EnVyUs, with a roster consisting of 0mega, Weak3n, Allied, CycloneSpin and KikiSoCheeky.Steven O'Donnell (Australian actor)
Steven O'Donnell III (born 5 December 1980), better known by his gamer tag and often stage name "Bajo", is an Australian television presenter, actor, and author. He is best known as one of the presenters of the ABC video game programme Good Game from 2007 until its cancellation in 2016; he co-hosted Good Game: Spawn Point until November 2017, and currently streams on Twitch.tv. O'Donnell was born in New Zealand and grew up on the outskirts of Toowoomba.Timthetatman (streamer)
Timothy John Betar, better known online as TimtheTatman or just Tim, was born on April 8, 1990, in the United States and grew up in Syracuse, New York. Playing sports and video games all his life, he has always considered himself a competitor. Now a full-time Twitch streamer and internet personality, he is known for his content on both Twitch.tv and YouTube.TwitchCon
TwitchCon is an annual convention for the live streaming video platform Twitch.tv devoted to Twitch and the culture of video game streaming. For streamers, it gives them an opportunity to seek improvements for their streams and grow their brand. It also provides fans with a unique chance to meet streamers, play new games, and meet with online communities in real life. The first convention was held in 2015. Through 2018, they have been all held at various convention centers in California. The most recent convention was held in October 2018 at the San Jose Convention Center. Twitch announced that TwitchCon will be headed to CityCube Berlin in Germany on April 13–14, 2019. This will be the first time TwitchCon heads overseas.Virtual Festival of Aerobatic Teams
The Virtual Festival of Aerobatic Teams (VFAT) is the world's biggest virtual airshow, flown using DCS World.
VFAT is held annually in November or December and spectators can watch the virtual airshow live using twitch.tv. The virtual airshow usually attracts a total of 5,000 to 10,000 spectators during the weekend long festival.